Iyer Marriages ...

I should admit that I drew inspiration for this post by reading a similar blog post, but I thot of putting my view on the same topic in my style and without any interference from the post I have read, though the points discussed here are quite different than what I had read, I wanted to make sure that I don’t copy any lines from it. Well this is one topic which I have wanted to write for a long time and that post which I read just lit the spark. I am here to discuss the funny aspects that are involved in a typical "Iyer" Marriage and I don’t know why people are not ready to change ...

Let me first start with "Jaanavaasam", the differences between a "Dead Body" procession and "Jaanavaasam" are very few, both the processions have the formality of throwing flowers, in both the processions the main person is made to sit (some old dead bodies are only made to sleep), both the processions have a dance performance in front of them, well, in the later the main person eyes are closed and two cotton buds are inserted inside the nose and on the other one, the main person can see what is happening around them. The guy will be accompanied by girls who are below 5 yrs, why can’t they have girls > 18 to sit with the guy ? Don’t they trust him or what ?. There will be some eight to ten 60+ year old "maami's" walking in front of the car with the guarantee that the car won’t go more than a speed of 2 kms / hr and carrying a very heavy brass plate on their hand which normally has variety of fruits and flowers and with two sets of cones inversely placed.

Though those "maami's" would flash a smile on their faces which might give us an impression that they are happy to carry those heavy plates, but the reality is, their 65+ year old husbands will be busy applying "moove" on their hands later that night. "Why the hell you agreed to do that ? Now see, I have to relieve your sprain" will be their comment with irritation. In this entire scene, I admire the driver who shows no sign of jubilation, may be he is driving that car of the umpteenth time and at times he advices some maami's in "what to do next", he is very proficient in "Iyer's" customs. Instantly he gains all the maami's attention and becomes the center of attraction. The pathetic guy who is sitting in the car with no job to do, runs his eyes on all the other girls who follow the procession and then starts comparing with the girl he has chosen, he too knows that its too late, but what's wrong in comparing ?. Have you ever noticed the looks of those curious "on-lookers" ?, people walking on the platform, people riding in car's and bikes, people travelling in bus, every one gives the same look, and it would directly or indirectly imply the message "If this guy can get a girl, why not me ?". Finally after making all those huffs and puffs the car would arrive at the mandapam and that "maapillai" would act as of he is too tired. I strongly oppose this ritual of "Iyer Marriages"

Next comes the second funny ritual "Kan Oonjal", this will happen just before the thaali is tied. The meaning of this ritual is to get rid all the bad omens which may or may not be attacking the couple. The funda is to make the couple sit on the "swing" and they would be surrounded by the same old maami's who would have by now transformed their attire from a conventional 6 yard saree to a non-conventional 9 yards saree, popularly known as "Madisar", most of the time, the extra yards of the saree would be actively involved in social work, I mean cleaning the floor. The ritual starts with the formality of some 60+ year old maami's who volunteer themselves assuming that they still have the "Shreya Gosal" in them, and start singing this very old song "Kan oonjal aadi irrundhaal ... " with their shivering voice, and when they are singing you have to carefully watch their husbands who will give them an "Ora Paarvai" and that is assumed as the "motivation" tonic for those 60+ oldies to sing well. But considering their age and the variation of pitches that song has, I strongly feel that the song has to be removed with immediate effect, coz you may end up in a situation where 10 maami's start singing the song and only 7 would be in a position to finish the song, as the rest of the maami's would be lying on the floor with froth precipitating out of their mouth.

Once that song is done, more maami's would now come with a cup in their hand which contains a mixture of Banana, Honey and Milk. Almost all the maami's would be thronging to feed that to the couple, not that they like to do it, but if they do that, they will be exclusively covered by the video man and before coming in front of the camera, those maami's would adjust their saree, necklace, bangles etc etc and till they adjust every one have to wait. In the mean time some old maama would pass a "humorous" comment thinking that it will make all the spectators laugh, but ultimately nobody would have laughed for that comment except that old maama. Imagine a day when the muhurtham starts as early as 6 in the morning and when people feed the couple with such "Download Accelerators" like banana and milk, do they ever realize that it is going to initiate a biological change inside the tummy ?? and no one on this earth can attend a nature call with a heavy garland on the neck and a dothi which is circled 100 times around the hip, In case of emergency, before the guy trying to un-wind his dothi, It would have been too late and the task would have been finished on the dothi itself, coz that's the power of banana and milk. Please have some empathy on others in this regard and put yourself in their shoes, touch your heart and tell me, Can you tie the knot when your bladder is heavy and paining ?

There is also a continuation to the same "Kan Oonjal" ritual which is more disgusting. What they actually do is, they mix turmeric and kunkum to boiled rice and then make it round shaped to the size of a golf ball and those colored balls will be placed on huge brass plates next to the swing. Already the maami's have underwent a small physiotherapy treatment last night after lifting those heavy brass plates in the "Jaanavaasam" and to aggravate it more, the same maami's would swing their hand around the head of the couple forming a huge circle in the air, they rotate their hand not once, not twice, but thrice, and that will be done in both clock-wise and anti-clock-wise rotation, at the end of the third rotation, those colored boiled rice balls would be flying across the mandapam in all directions and will promptly spoil the attire of those people who would have clad a white shirt or a saree. By the time these maami's finish their rounds all their maama's would be ready with the same "Moove" tube on their hand, to start physiotherapy.

Those colored boiled rice balls would have been scattered in all the places of the mandapam and people would make sure that they step on them and make those boiled rice to get pasty and sticky, if someone happened to walk bare foot, there are more possibilities that he may fall down and hurt himself. Once this ritual is done, that place would actually look like a bomb blast site with all those red colored balls simulating the color of blood and flesh. We have to keep in mind the statistics that almost 40% of the world population is dying out of hunger, in places like Africa people do not have rice to eat, but here we are using them to play ? Think about this. I appreciate this ritual for only one factor and that being, eating so many slices of banana in the morning would really ease the trouble of constipation, so considering the medicinal value this ritual brings in, I would probably agree to participate in this ritual.

Well, the last thing that is supposed to be considered as "Stress Reliever" is actually the more stressful ritual in the entire tamash, and it’s called as "Nalangu". There will be held these so called "games" between the guy and the girl. This time all 60+ years old maami's will join the girls side and all 65+ years old maama's would join the guy's side, before even the start of the event those old maami's and maama's would recollect their "Nalangu" event which would have happened even before you were born, and they will narrate each and every incident from that, till your show sign of "pissing off". This is the arena where people play IPL's and Champions Trophy and Wimbledon's, but these "Nalangu" games don’t seem to have changed. There are many stupid games that are played part of this ritual and the one which I just can't digest is a game which they play with the side dish of "Vatthakuzhambu", I mean "Sutta Appalam", they toast those yummy "Appalams" just to break it on the head of the guy and the girl. Isn't it atrocious ? If they have decided to waste edible products like this, why can’t they play with "Barota", "Cholepoori", "Idly", "Dosa" etc etc?. They can even try pouring sambar, rasam, and curd on their head, let’s leave that poor appalam at peace.

The next idiotic game is the one where they put a ring inside a "Kudam" which is filled with water (Hope so) and ask the guy and the girl to insert their hand into it and whoever takes it first will be the winner, and our guy who was waiting to get a chance to get hold of his girl, would conveniently hold her hand inside that kudam and never takes it out, who is bothered abt the ring ?. While playing this game there will be equal amount of cheering from both the sides screaming "Hey don’t let him take it", "Hey, prove you are the man, don’t let her take it", I think there are better ways to prove our manliness ;-), than taking the ring out. Eventually the ring will be placed on the girl's finger irrespective of who takes it, then what's the whole point behind this game ?. The last and the final game which till date has no meaning is the "Coconut Rolling" game, I have paid enough attention to understand that game, but all went in vain. I really dunno what is the fun in rolling the coconut from one side to another side while that coconut can be effectively used in making yummy "Chutney's" and "Thogayal's".

With all these hungama, what do they expect the couple to do in their "First Night" apart from having a good sound sleep ??


  1. I think u only calculated the material benefits of these rituals, they have lot of spiritual and symbolic significance. I am proud that we have all these rituals which shows that marriage is not just a ritual to get 2 people to lead a married life but is a part of the society and that is why a 60 year old Mami is also asked to sing, if u have observed the meaning of that song, for egs, lets take the song
    Seetha Kalyana sItA kalyANa vaibhOgamE
    rAma kalyANa vaibhOgamE
    Behold the celebration of marriage of Sita! Behold the celebration of marriage of Rama!

    with these 2 lines itself its an amzing meaning that they have,
    by going in hurry u will not gain anything only that u will lose whatever u gained also.....
    so lets not try to remove our traditions, atleast we are the only people to conserve it nobody else can do that for us.............................................

    think over u might find something.

  2. First of all i like to appreciate your observation of things. But please don't assume your own interpretations. There are so many meanings hiding behing of each and every play. let me give some examples.........
    The Jana vasam is not ment for making the guy feel Embarassed being sitting idle before the public, The reality is to portrait him like a king coming oorvalam with his own pride.
    You may criticize the old maami's singing sngs... But for your kind attention no one can forget MS.subbulakshmi who sung even in her 80's. And age is not a factor....but the meaning of the song matters.
    Having wearing pants you may think wearing Dhotis is a sin and it need 100's of circle. But wearing dhoti is not that much tedious and you can give a try once and you will feel the real comfortness.

  3. First of all, I'm not a brahmin. But I strongly object on what you wrote here. As per the above comments, each ritual has its own meaning. Its important. Its for all castes, customs. Its all important in our life. BTW, Please don't write whatever flashes in your mind. Please don't convey negative message to the society.

  4. dude..what is your problem??/ if u dont understand the importance of our tradition and culture,dont comment on it..the rituals carry great significance..and they are important.. so,if you dont like them fine...dont try to influence other people..

  5. @All Folks

    Those were just my view on those rituals and I dont deny that they are done with a reason. I dont know if this would influence people to change, but if it does, I am HAPPY, coz, lets get practical and realistic in life, rather boasting on those old rituals which many think that it is going to bring you GOODWILL. Its not these rituals which will help you for a happy married life, i think it is much more than that. Grow up folks ... grow up ... Dont be in a NUT SHELL and say that you are following your cluture ... blah blah blah ... gottacha ?

    Comments for this topic closes here.

  6. Hey listen.... wats ur problem...if u do not understand the meaning of each of the traditions,dont comment unnecessarily// dont descriminate peoples beliefs and traditions. U dont believe it move out.... U r not least involved in this matter Y THE HELL R U POKING UR NOSE INTO THIS !!!

  7. Wow... We should jus let Satish express his views. I completely understand how much importance these rituals bring along with them and the joy and fun the games played are but come one guys.. It was fun to read the Blog... Thanks Satish.

  8. Ur blog doesnt seem funny... It hurts to see an iyer commenting on his own rituals.. This is the reason why people tease about us and there is unwanted madisar lady suddenly in a film song..

    forget the ritual or its meaning... Iyer marriages r much more interesting n colorful than others..

  9. You cannot write to save your life. Please read more and learn how to write well without offending anyone in the process.


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