Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On wedding Invitations/Response in Kerala

I can't be sure if this is an exclusively-mallu phenomenon but many Keralite would have come across such things at some point of their life.

Weddings, for the parents of Mallu grooms and brides, is a litmus test of their social-skills.Most often, they go much beyond litmus test and turn out to be a memory test, public speaking test,vocabulary test, writing skill test, management skill test and not to mention, physical and mental ability test as well.

And if you fail in any of these tests, there would be a sizeable fall in the number of guests, which is the only other parameter, along with the number of payasams in the sadya, that determine how "grand" the wedding was.

Now, what are the stimuli for a fall in the number/displeasure of mallu guests at a given wedding?

1) "He sent me an invitation over post! He is probably settled in Mumbai. But can't he come here and invite us all in person! We needn't attend this wedding. We shall tell him that we are attending Unnikrishnan's mother's niece's husband's brother's son's wedding on the same day! Halla Pinne! "

2) Now a look at the invitation. "Check this.. he has written 'We invite you with family'.. he has missed the word 'cordially' and he has addressed it to 'Mr. Gopalakrishnan and family'.. not 'Mr & Mrs. Gopalakrishnan & family'! Is this how you invite family! Bah!"

3) Now, suppose he did come all the way from Mumbai to invite in person, this is how things will move."Wedding is in Thrissur? How will we come? Have you arranged bus for all of us from here? What? Bus is from Trivandrum? You have not arranged bus from Cochin?? Thats so difficult!"

4) Now if bus is also arranged to have them taken from Cochin to Thrissur, there is another glitch. "Remember, when we invited him for our son's wedding last year, he didn't even acknowledge the invitation sent by post. And all he sent was a telegram wish. That was late by 2 days. Chetta, Should we go?"

5) Finally after much thought Chettan and Chechi decide to go. Along with them are chechi's sister, her kids and chechi's aged amma and achan. Once there Chettan again has a problem. Groom's Achan is not seen at the Mandapam's gate. Where is he! He should have come to welcome us!! After all, we are his grand father's brother's wife's sister's son and family!

6) Thats when he sees groom's father and mother on the mandapam, blessing the newly wedded couple and carrying out other rituals. Chettan remarks "See, this is why I told you we should not have come! That guy is busy on stage. He doesn't bother if we came or not!"

7) At the lunch, the exhausted father of the groom comes to say thanks to all the guests who have joined. At chettan's place "Hows the sadya?". Chettan says "It is great mone! Kalakki!" and once he leaves, chettan whispers to chechi "The rice is not even cooked well! And the pappadam is over!"

8) At the end of it all, chettan and chechi go to bless the newly wedded couple. The father of the groom asks his son "Mone.. you remember this uncle?". The groom gives that sheepish smile he has reserved for stranger-guests. "Aaah.... uhhhmm... no, we have not met I think". Chettan is disheartened but nevertheless gives a slap on the back of the groom and says "Aaah... how can he! He was a baby when I last saw him. See how he has grown! HAHAHHAHA" and that gurgling chortle continues for a good one minute until the videographer asks him to move out of the stage and asks the next family to come up!