The ‘KISS’ formula for South Indian Weddings


Disclaimer: I honestly have no prejudices and the intent of the post is not to offend the sentiments of anyone. These are purely my opinions. If my sons let me have a ‘say’ in their ‘marriage-matters’, I’d strongly advocate these. By the way, I like the simple Kerala Hindu Weddings minus the Kgs of gold:)

The things that I’d like to see go in South Indian (Brahmin) Weddings:

1. Scrap the ‘ponnu-pathufying’ (the girl-seeing) ritual. It is so out-dated and silly to start with. Not all guys/gals are photogenic. Very often, there is a feel that the person in the photo is a younger sibling of the bride/groom-to-be! And honestly, how comfortable is it for either of them to ‘look’ into each others eyes with at least another half-a-dozen pair of eyes fixed on them? Agree there is this prevalent trend of letting the two have a chat following the ‘seeing’ part. A bonus really. Am curious to know what the two will talk generally. Heart matters? Economics? Future plans? I regret not having trialled one myself just for the thrill of it. And this is one feeling that my partner-in-crime-life and I share! Of course he has another big regret of not having had an opportunity to wear a grand Sherwani or a Raymond’s Suit for the wedding reception! And don’t even get me started on getting the poor soul (mostly the girl again!) to show-case her singing prowess or play the Veena and such!

2. Assuming the two decide to go ahead and enter the wedlock, the families meet (usually the girl’s side visit the guy’s on the day they think is auspicious ) to talk on the ‘other specifics’. Some are decent enough to subtly tell the girl’s parents that they do what best possible by them for the girl. After all, they are doing it for their daughter. Few however chuck the sugar-coating and come to the point directly. So, as on date, what is the net-worth of the girl in terms of the sovereigns of gold and kilos of silver? And what will be the final number? ‘Dowry’ is underplayed and instead, the wedding hall must be in the city and all logistics must be taken care of, a nice reception out-fit for the groom, something in gold, silk saris for the key members in the guy’s family.. ithyaadhi! I can go on! A formality to be knocked off! Sit together and work out a mutually agreeable budget and share the expenses equally!

3. The marriage itself must be tailored to be a one-day-affair if not a half-a-day thing. The ‘Jaanavaasam’ , another obsolete custom, parading the girl and guy in a car, the rich dinner menu, the heavy silks! The wedding expense is reduced by half if this is done away with! This custom served the purpose of telling the world who the guy and girl were, some social security thing, a sort of ‘public-vouching’ for the identity of the individuals involved. Or at least this is what I’m told! There is a saying that ‘a man is known by the company he keeps’. A Facebook or Orkut profile check, the friends on the guy and girl’s list, a personal verification with friends, workplace or need be through a trusted agency should do a better job. All said and done, even with all the mechanisms in place, it is hard to tell a psycho from a normal person, or detect a split/multiple-personality syndrome from a person with any personality! The whole affair actually stands on some basic trust on either side!

4. The tension build-up on the day of the wedding, during the Muhurtham is something! The nine-yards sari for the girl is a lovely attire. But must not be made mandatory. Eats up time, and those not used to saris fumble the whole time and end up looked restless and conscious all the time. And most brides need help with getting the attire right! Why silk at all in the first place? Within 10 -15 minutes of the muhurtham commencing, the bride and the groom are all teary eyed and sweat profusely in any weather because of the homam! Cotton is best! The Telugu, Kannada counterparts wear cotton. I don’t want to say anything about the gentleman’s see-through veshti (dhothi)! The party should end once the muhurtham and the elaborate feast is over.

5. The ‘kattu-saadha-koodai’ is another mockery seriously. My guess is, in the early years, people usually traveled by foot or jhatka or some such transport and they had to equip for the whole party that arrives for the wedding. What is the need now?

I know some of you out there will disagree. Feel free to post what you think.

How then should a wedding be? That in another post..


21 thoughts on “The ‘KISS’ formula for South Indian Weddings

  1. hi you have a nice blog… and i soooo relate to this post. so much so, i advise my son to elope and get married 🙂 the drama in a Tam-brahm wedding is simply too much to take. FB and Orkut profile check… good idea…

  2. Yes, on the button as usual!
    But one good thing about some of these customs…? They come with their own expiry dates..
    Just as rising costs and lack of time have introduced the newer theme of a ‘reception party’ the previous evening itself, so too, we can assume that when our children get married, it’ll be with somebody so different and crossed to our desires that we’ll anyway not have issues about dropping the other ‘socalled’ important customs. After all, if the boy isn’t even wearing the poonal, for example, avanukku edhukku aavani avittam?!

    • Yeah, good there are expiry dates .. But I have a feeling that with increasing affordability, its only getting ‘grander’:-) Will not be surprised if people begin to revive even the forgotten customs just for the kick of it!!

  3. 6. Stop horoscope matching. It is arbitrary, pointless gibberish, a waste of time, money. How does it even matter if saturn is sitting in the seventh house or jupiter is looking directly at you?

  4. Can agree with most of the things. But regarding the nine yards saree and the panchakacham etc., if you remove that wont we be taking away the ‘trademark’ 🙂 look of the tam-brahm wedding? Maybe someone can reinvent a new way of draping the saree that can henceforth replace the 9 gajam saree.
    As for customs, a recent wedding of a friend had Janavaasam, nalangu and what not from 15 years before including kattu-saadham process as the family wanted to have a ‘retro’ wedding as they don’t see these things any more!!

    • Feel comes first and look next is what i’ll say:-) What’s the point if you are not comfortable and not enjoying your own wedding, which in most cases happens only once?:-)

      • hey, for this point, I believe, these days, you get the ready made , ready to wear stitched version of 9 yards ! so, i guess, you got to wear it just like salwar kameez. I have not seen one though 🙂

        But, in principle, I do agree with all yr points.

        And, if all these are abolished, what it comes to in effect, is abolishing arranged marriage.

        Having said all these, times are changing and the current generation is a lot more shrewd. I know of so many people who take a lot of time (read as several weeks – i know its still not enuf, but much better than the short 10 mins on that day) in getting to know the other person after the initial “pon paarthufying” and then decide either way !

  5. This could have been me writing the post, because I went through ALLL the points you mention, plus the horoscope matching preceeding these..
    you said it just right.. boy !u made my day!! may ur tribe increase!

  6. Agree with most points mentioned in this post. Most of the rituals in South Indian (Brahmin) community are not necessary today. Families still do it just for the heck of doing it. They should learn to move on with the times, may be follow the Kerala Hindu wedding format which is simpler. I’ve seen some Kerala Hindu weddings get over in 5 minutes!!

  7. Whattay timing Vidya! Tell me about all this! Just went there.. Did all this.. Thankfully a few rituals you’ve mentioned were scraped. Gotta get down to posting the adventure that was sometime!

  8. Well…i have so far been only to 3 Tam-Brahm weddings. All 3 have been my closest friends, so it was a visual treat to me and have nothing to complain. 🙂

    It was an interesting read though and am sure there is going to be plenty in the archives. Will be following your blog here on.

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