Thoughts on a Typical Tam-Brahm Wedding

Mamas and mamis all smiles,

Dressed in silk sarees and veshtis,
The strangely familiar faces,
The familiarly strange faces,
The vadhiyars (priests) sitting in a huddle.

The catering contractor praying,
To all the 1000 gods in the heavens,
That this wedding too,
Should be a grand success.
The thathas and pattis (grandparents)
Struggling to sit steadily.

Some in wheelchairs looking,
Pale shadows of their former selves,
Some still sharp and sprightly,
Cracking jokes with the young ones,
Talking of kutcheris(concerts) in Cleveland.
Then arrives the magic moment.

The groom and his entourage,
Make a grand entrance,
The bride’s family,
Welcome the groom and party,
With flowers and rose-water.
Smiles all around,
And photographers get busy!

Then starts the room allotment,
Groom’s family rooms,
On the first floor,
Bride’s family on ground floor.
How many rooms have ACs?
Is there a lift?
Is the bathroom easily accessible for the elderly?

Amidst all this confusion,
The hall attendants will arrive-
‘Mama coffee aa tea aa’,
‘With sugar aa wihtout sugar aa’
By default someone will spill coffee or tea,
On the pristine white veshtis(dhotis)
Some comic banter will occur.

By then groom and family,
Will sit in front of,
The ceremonial fire,
At a distance the bride,
Will be seated with her family,
Hymns will be chanted,
The smell of incense,
Jasmine and rose flowers,
Will mix in the air.

In the kitchen annex,
Cooking will be in full swing,
Suddenly contractor will announce,
‘Tiffin ready’
As bride and groom lost in hymns,
Sit through fasting,
others will devour,
Idlies, dosas and pongal,
With kesari, gulab jamuns or halwa.
Woe betide if the vadai is dry,
Or if it is not served.
God save the contractor!

Ritual after ritual,
Costume changes after each ritual,
Managing the crowds,
In between a child will come crying,
Amma kaanam or make a scene,
Asking for ice cream at 10 AM in the morning,
As the child’s parents look sheepishly,
When all efforts fail,
One gentle smack will make the child see reason.
A Dairy Milk Bar works wonders too!

Time for lunch,
More discussion on food,
Some nasty comments,
On members of folks from both sides,
The curious guest who no one recognises,
From either family.
He happily eats and leaves!

More rituals – all done!
Then the wedding reception.
The mandatory North Indian menu,
A counter with chat, pop corn and cotton candy.
Paneer, naans, grilled vegetables,
Two ice creams, four sweets,
The meetha paan and the fruit salad.
The obligatory sight-adichufying (gentle flirting)

The Amreeka project return chamathu paiyyan,
Who would be the cynosure of all eyes,
Of all mamis and mamas,
With eligible daughters for marriage.
The poor harried software engineers,
Stuck in India waiting for ‘on-site opportunities’.
No connection to all this mess,
I am not an engineer, lawyers, doctor, auditor – gumbal.
The rare minority like me,
Who look at the unfolding drama.

In this confusion, we will be searching,
For that one lady,
Someone whose eyes can ignite a spark,
Someone with whom we can discuss,
Thalaivar and Tolstoy with equal ease,
Nolan and Mani Ratnam or Spielberg and K. Balachander,
With heightened interest.
May be we may find someone :)
Otherwise we just keep trying!

The wedding day – The big day,
Another set of complex rituals,
Kashi-yatra scene – as the groom,
Prepares to run to Kashi,
He is brought back to the hall,
By the bride’s father,
With the promise of his daughter’s hand,
In holy matrimony!

All culminating in that moment,
When the groom ties the sacred ‘thaali’
Around his bride’s neck.
In that moment they are pronounced man and wife.
Lots of namaskarams and blessings later.
Smiling for the camera,
Accepting gifts – mostly money and glassware and clocks.
They finally proceed to have lunch.

Registration formalities
At the local government office.
A quick visit to the groom,
And the bride’s house,
At an auspicious moment.
Another visit to the wedding hall,
To complete the ‘nalangu’ (fun games)
Rolling coconuts like cricket balls,
Breaking appalams on each others heads.
A bit of singing, a bit of gentle chatter.

Finally the long wait comes to an end,
The guests leave,
The payments are all settled,
Gifts all packed in bags,
Relatives who came from other cities,
Bid good bye and leave,
With thamboola pais and return gifts.
A final check to see nothing has been,
Forgotten in the hall – everyone leaves!

One marriage ends and serves,
As the foundation or meeting place,
For prospective brides and grooms,
All set for another marriage,
To be held in the same hall,
Or another hall with a similar set,
Of guests, rituals and all the usual suspects!

That my dear friends is how – ‘enga aathu kalayanam happens’!

‘The Puppeteers of Palem’ by Sharath Komarraju

Dear readers, Sharath Komarraju an established novelist with three novels in his kitty is all set to launch his fourth novel – ‘The Puppeteers of Palem’.

Please visit his website –  for more details. He has initiated a contest as well and is offering a preview sample for readers as well.

Do check and if you like the preview, I am sure you will if you love a dash of folk-tales, fairy-tales, suspense and the supernatural :)

Happy reading and check out the pre-order links below:

Pre-order a copy of The Puppeteers of Palem here

My review will be coming up soon and folks I assure you this is indeed a ‘very different’ book :)

Happy reading and wishing all of you my beloved readers – A Super Duper Weekend :)

God is a Gamer – Book Review

Book – God is a Gamer
Author – Ravi Subramanian
Genre – Thriller/Crime
Paperback, 324 pages
Published September 12th 2014 by Penguin Books India
ISBN – 9780143421399

Ravi Subramanian, the name evokes a hilarious interaction of the novelist along with two other contemporary stalwarts – Ashwin Sanghi and Anita Nair at the Hindu Lit for Life Festival earlier this year in Chennai. His continuous reference to the ‘book’ as a’product’ and not as a ‘work of art’ ruffled quite a few feathers.

Over the years, Mr. Ravi has gained the title – ‘The John Grisham of Banking’ and he has published a book at regular intervals and has achieved his own set of fans who love his fast and breezy tales.

I will be honest, this is the first book by the author that I have read and I liked it. Note I ‘liked’ it, not astounded, spellbound or any other adjective that would equate to ‘mind-boggling, spell-binding, spectacular thriller of the year’.

The book has quite a few characters, the central theme is an international retail bank operating in India, big-wigs at the bank who do not like each other, a heist carried out via cloned cards in the USA causes a major shake-up in the bank. In a parallel strain we have an Indian gaming company all set to enter the big league, a company that is a BPO and manages the processing work of the big retail bank. the gaming company and BPO are managed by the same person – Aditya.

Aditya’s estranged son Varun enters the frame and revitalises the gaming company with his fresh thinking.

We also have a senator assassinated in the USA in a bomb blast. In the midst of all this we have a student leader from India who studied at Stanford and now lives under an assumed name and manages a website called Cotton trail, which deals in all kind of illicit stuff ranging from drugs, porn and weapons.Transactions are made using Bitcoins.

A high-profile birthday party of a top ranking person of the bank Malavika, turns tragic as she falls from the top-floor of her building to her death. Was it suicide? Was it murder? Varun and Malavika’s daughter Tanya are romantically involved. Malavika seems to be in a relationship with the finance minister. A suspicious bank transfer is spotted and reported by Swami a senior employee of the bank and he is conveniently ‘bumped off’ in an accident.

The other aspect of this book is a lot of short chapters. This may work for some and others might not be too fond of it. Lots of characters, some convincing, some unconvincing.

Taking a bitcoin as the USP the author spins a web of deceit. Nothing seems to be true. There is a mad scheme of revenge and double-crossing that keeps happening.

How far would one go to seek vengeance? A very tough question. But would someone plan something so intricately, sleep with the enemy, bring down one’s own parent? I don’t know that either. I still feel that the ending was rushed and there could have been a tighter nail-biting end.

Read the book to find out who are the true masterminds of the heinous crimes.

This review is a part of the biggest <a href=”http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews&#8221; target=”_blank”> Book Review Program </a> for <a href=”http://www.blogadda.com&#8221; target=”_blank”>Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!

The Festival of Lights

Diwali or Deepavali,
Crackers or lamps,
New clothes or sweets,
Cashew-bites or Almond drops,
Savoury mixtures or round murukkus.
First day first show,
Or TV premieres?

Partha Periappa or Kabali Mama?*
Too many questions,
Too many answers.
Get set for the festival of lights.
Set alight lamps,
Wear your new dresses,
Burst a few crackers,
But don’t make a nuisance.

Spare a thought,
For the ill and the old,
Our four-legged friends,
And our feathered friends,
Exercise caution, have fun.
Help the less fortunate.
Spread love, spread smiles!

HAPPY DIWALI

* – Reference to Triplicane Parthasarathy Temple and Mylapore Kabaleeshwarar Temple. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva :)

Post is part of the #GharWaliDiwali Contest

See this video as well :)

Matrikas Journal and Notebooks – Product Review

There is something special,
About jotting down,
One’s thoughts in a diary.
The feeling of closure,
When one writes down,
The day’s highs and lows,
The dreams and expectations,
The truth and reality,
All in our diary,
Using a pen in our own hands.
A diary is an extremely personal tool.

Something like a magic lamp,
When in the future,
We open the diary,
All the memories of the past,
Flash by in multi-coloured hues.
Page after page,
To remind us how far,
We have travelled in life.
And to remind us,
Many miles lie ahead!!!

I had a chance to review a set of journals/notebooks/diaries from Matrikas Paper Products. This is part of a Blogger Engagement Initiative and I am really thankful to fellow blogger Sulaiman who recommended this to me. I filled up a form on Facebook (Part of a Matrikas App). I received a courier well-packed with the products.

I have been writing personal journals for over 17 years now, starting from old corporate diaries that the elders in the family used to hand down to fancy notebooks and handmade-paper books and recycled paper notebooks, I have used a wide spectrum of products. A couple of years back I bought journal books sold by the Isha Foundation and loved the intricate cover designs and the paper quality.

This set of products from Matrikas took me by surprise and impressed me with the beautiful cover designs and top-class paper thickness and quality. I would like to recommend their products to all those who love to write.

Go ahead contact Matrikas right away :)

Rain

It has gone dark,
Pitch dark and cloudy,
Rain is falling
It is not a gentle,
Pitter-patter.

The sudden sporadic,
Bursts of rain,
Sound like short bursts,
Of machine gun fire.
As I look out of my window.

As one grows older,
Rain no longer,
Brings back fond memories,
Of rare moments of joy,
In a melancholic past.

One just worries,
That the traffic is not,
More harried than usual,
And one hopes,
To reach home on time.

I am a Grandpa – Time Flies

Most of my dear regular readers know how attached I am to my pet Brownie. Circumstances and annoying neighbours in a multi-storied apartment complex forced me to hand over my Brownie to a farmer who stays a few kilometres away. I visit her every other weekend and spend time with her. The farmer is an old man whom I address as ‘thatha’/ ‘grandpa’. Brownie adapted to life at the farm and became a proper farm dog, bossing about the goats and cows there. In the process she also found a ‘mate’ for herself. To cut a long story short Brownie gave birth to a litter of seven puppies. Four survive, two were taken away by another farmer; one puppy was too weak to survive. So officially as I consider Brownie my sweet little baby girl, I am a thatha of sorts now.

It just seems like yesterday, when I found a small ball of fur. Time has just flown by…!

A previous post about Brownie.

I hope the other four puppies find a good home soon.