Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Marriage Chronicles

Warning: A very Tamil oriented post. Cannot for the life of me translate some of the words to English..:) They're true, authentic Tamizh!

Anyone who's gotten married in true Tamil Brahmin tradition or attended a close relative's wedding will know that marriage is all about "banthathis". For the uninitiated, "Bandhadhi" is a style of doing things associated with a place. Eg. Tanjavur bandhadhi, Palakkad bandhadhi, blah, blah, blah. Most of these bandhadhis enunciate very, very,very essential,important things to a marriage:

1. The size and ingredient(cashew, kadalai paruppu or thengai) of the 3rd paruppu thengai in the nth seer varisai being presented to the groom's side.

This assumes paramount importance because some old maami from the groom's side who's married off 5 daughters will be watching it. She will also promptly come and tell your mom:

"Yendi, ennadhu idhu unga aathula mundhiri paruppu paruppu thengai vekkaradhu dhaan pazhakkama? Enga bandhadhi-la idhellam kidaiyaadhuppa. Hmmm.."

2. The shape of the vessel that maamis use to carry the vilakku during the oonjal. For the ignorant: Mamis circumambulate the bride & the groom on the oonjal with a vilakku in a vessel.

Mami1: "Enga bandhadhi la ellam bosi dhaan.."
Mami2: "Ille ille, enga bandhadhi la adukku dhaan..enna pesarel!"

3. The exact sequence of relative maamis when doing the paruppu pudi ritual during oonjal.

I cannot stress the importance of this. Not only does each bandhadhi have its special way of suthifying paruppu pudi, the hierarchy of the maamis is also very important. If you ask a younger person to do it before an older maami (who incidentally would've disappeared somewhere at that exact time and cannot be found), you have a crisis on your hands.

4. The exact count & identity of persons who should be present in the room when the bride has to tie her nine yards saree.

The first rule is that none should care about the sentiments of the bride. If tradition dictates that your maami paatti's daughter-in-law's nathanaar has to be present, then it HAS to be that way. Doesn't matter if the concerned person knows to tie the nine-yards saree.

5. The menu of the wedding.

If you don't get the menu right for your banthathi, you will be ostracized and castigated by your banthathi clan.

6. The shape and variety of betel leaves that is given as tamboolam.

"Enga Tanjavur-la ellam kumbakonam vethalai dhaan kudupaa! Idhai paaru, edho vathalagundu vethalaiya kondu vandhu vechirukaa! Hmm..ivaloda pazhakkame veraya irukku!"

Knowing your "banthathi" will also make you Supreme Counselor of Unwritten Marriage (SCUM for short) rules for ALL weddings that you attend in your lifetime! Seeing how important all these above listed things are very important to our marital bliss and peacefulness, S and I have decided to initiate our own, special banthathi: the Lexington Banthathi. This will ensure that we will be lifetime presidents of this new banthathi clan and none will have the courage to overrule us. Maamis, watch out! Here we come!

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Karthik said...


its all interesting to read, but also you have forgotten to add how bureaucratic this are.

And what goes on before and after, the marriage event, think before you start one.


IBH said...

about madisaar sari tying.. u are so rite...there must be an exact count :) i remember during mine, my athai and chitti were actually removing my saree while i am running towards the 'bride's room' to actually marriage muhurtham was the funniest one and half hour in my when i look back..but then it was gruesome :)i dont know how many were many ladies saw me all half dreswsed.....ewwww....:))))

SamY said...

those vambu talks are what marriages are about :D ... proly why our folks prowl for marriages

Anonymous said...

it is not bandhathi, it is pathathi

Anonymous said...

hey the urundais that are used during the oonjal are called pachapadi not paruppu podi ( paruppu podi is what you add to rice and eat)