Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Experience with Tamil Weddings

This is a record of how I spent my time before, during and after weddings across the years.

Ages 3 - 8

I was and always will be a lazy kid. What I did every wedding is this.



I would ask any immediate adult to carry me and frown imperiously until my feet were off the ground. In fact, my mom can never stop talking about how I would beg her to carry her and I would stand so impossibly so close to her legs right in front that she would have no choice but to dislodge me and finally give in.

I'm sorry!

During these stages, all I could ascertain is that the scenes were similar to the wedding photos of my parents.

Ages 8 - 11

This was the age I was discovering my personality. And there was absolutely nothing to do in a wedding as a socially awkward kid like me. I didn't find many kids my age, I am among the oldest cousins in my family. My favourite cousins were not even born at this stage and my very own sister was a babbling baby.

So I devised this fool proof method to keep myself occupied!


I had no clue what was going on and just tucked myself in a corner.



The size of the books increased linearly with time.

Ages 11 - 14

Now this was the time I became more involved with weddings. Sleepless nights of "plate decoration", chatting and what not. This is a custom where we decorate plates with glitter and food stuff. Plenty of picasso'ish moments later I'd make something like this.


This is a stainless steel plate with food stuck on it
That's a diya lamp (?)
The bottom is made of peas and the flame is made of bengal gram!
The plate was worse than the drawing!!!

We got paid for it too!
The dress selection, the accessory selection and gold jewellery. Gold is an absolute essential. I may be wearing a Victoria style gown for the wedding but that would be complemented by a gold twisted chain that no English lady would have dared sport.


Victorian dress with ruff and a pencil skirt with slit!

I enjoyed weddings most in this period. There were hide and seek games in the lawns, endless games of word builder, dance offs, races and dares. Word Builder games lasted all night with me and my cousin furiously saying words that both begin and end with 'e'. And keeping track of previous words, like you did say ellipse right?, not eclipse?

Ages 19 onward

Obviously took a long break from weddings.

Here is a handy guide for the lost nerd to Tamil weddings.
Warning : This list is girly stuff - warning my uninterested readers.

#1 Plan early

Most probably you might be wearing a saree for either wedding or reception. Please try that damn thing. The blouse won't fit in the last minute, you may not have enough safety pins, your hair may get stuck in the stone work on your blouse (True Story).

#2 Learn to not give a damn

You might have just spent thousands in terms of money or time on this one day look. It doesn't matter because people are going to find thousand faults with it. I find this mostly in the same age group do this. See if there is a genuine concern and mentally take notes. Else dispose of the opinions immediately. A smile is your biggest ornament. Funnily ever since I adopted this approach, I seem to not receive much negativity. And dressing up is something I've found fun contrary to what nerds have been led to believe.

#3 Gold Matters

Statistically, nerds hate gold, myself included. The colour is despicable, the shine is practically imagined and you feel like reminding your mom that it is one of the most non-reactive metals when your mom tries to tell you its atoms are good for you ?! ("Thangam odambula ottuna nallathu"). After wasting loads of time and negotiations, this is the handy guide I have reached.

 - Try to get gold toned clothes so that it doesn't stick out so garishly.
 - Communicate that you do not want to look like a jewellery advertisement.

#4 Photographs

I just adore both taking photos and being photographed during weddings. What more to celebrate than capture these moments for posterity.



#5 Engaging younger cousins

This is a rudimentary skill. I usually off-load these requests to my ever-engaging sister. In the small matters of teaching kids how to play musical chairs (you do not sing and run around it endlessly!), or carrying a kid after my own footsteps, you could be mentally prepared for it.

#6 Enjoy yourself

This is a period of no responsibilities! Except for a smattering of rituals, you can devote yourself to the photographs, talk endlessly with people, Instagram, Facebook and show off generally. Your mom will drishti-sutthify/nazar-utharify when everything is done, enjoy.

#7 Take time to deconstruct your costume

The day would end anti-climatically if you poke yourself with a rusted safety pin. The particular wedding that prompted me to write this culminated with me extracting a safety pin from my hair the next day and imagining headaches.

All said and done, weddings have been most enjoyable and fun events that have intrigued me.

P.S To the nerds who realized I used continuous class intervals, take whichever limit you want!
P.P.S Yes, I grew up with Hindu Pillai Tamil weddings, there are vast differences between Tamil Weddings themselves. Just that a convoluted heading like 'My Experience with Hindu Chozhia Vellalar Pillai Tamil Weddings' sounds crazy!
P.P.P.S. I just illustrated my own post :)

1 comment:

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