May 8, 2011

The Big Fat Malayali Wedding.

We Indians are obsessed with weddings, aren't we? Doesn’t matter if the marriage itself doesn’t last long, but the wedding? Oh the wedding has to be a big fat affair.

While the west may stick to just one basic format of conducting a wedding, India has many. Each state has a different custom, some lasting up to five-six days.

And that’s where we Malayalis fall short. Ouch.

Our weddings last for five-six hours, at the max.

(Whatever I’m writing, is based on a Malayali Hindu wedding. I haven’t been to many non-Hindu Malayali weddings, so I don’t have any authority to talk about them. But I would love it if others could share their views.)

# Out of the five-six hours, three hours will be dedicated to photography. It does not matter if the bride and groom get boiled under the heat and lights, they still have to maintain the five-kilometer wide smile. And pose with uncles, aunties, friends, colleagues, mom’s brother’s father-in-law’s sister’s son’s daughter. What is supposed to be the most special day of their lives rapidly turns into one that they just want to get over with, so that they can drag their tired bodies and aching mouths to bed at night. (Do 'First Night's still happen? I wonder how they can still have the energy!)

# Let’s not kid ourselves- we go to a wedding to have the food. You know I’m right! And having food at a Malayali wedding is no easy task. To quote the Cadbury’s Bourneville ad, you can’t just eat a sadhya, you have to earn it. There are a few qualities that are a prerequisite before you even consider having a sadhya at a Malayali wedding. (a) Determination (b) Sportsman spirit (c) Incredible strength (d) Complete disregard for other people, and e) A little bit of shamelessness. Be prepared to say goodbye to your best silks and cottons, because believe me, it’s a fight to the finish.

# And once you get inside the dining hall, don’t relax thinking that the worst is over. This is where your speed-eating skills are put to test. Either you eat fast, or you wait for the serving people to dump everything on your plantain leaf at one go, and then relish the indescribable mass of food at leisure. Your call. Oh, and don’t even for a second think that you can eat at leisure. If the dining hall has glass walls, then may god help you enjoy the food. How, pray, can you eat in peace when people are watching you eat from the other side of the glass walls, impatience (not so much hunger) etched on their faces, tell me?

# The bride and groom have to pretend that they are elephants, or hermits, for the day. A lot of milk and bananas are going to be shoved into their mouths.

# Whose wedding did you come for? Your friend? Your colleague? Not able to find her? You see that girl over there, covered in silk and a hundred kilos of gold, unable to move, with a pained expression on her face, resembling a procession-elephant on diet? That’s your friend. Don’t punish yourself if you are not able to recognize her. It’s not your fault.

#Is the actor/actress within you waiting to get unleashed? Just get married. The photographer will make sure that all your acting skills are put to good (laughable for others) use. Then bury the wedding album in your backyard and ensure that your children never ever find them. They won’t be able to take the trauma.

# There will be a battalion of jobless women, also known as relatives and acquaintances, who come to weddings to do nothing better than comment and criticize. “Oh why is the girl wearing such less gold? At my son’s wedding, his wife was almost falling down due to the weight of the gold she was wearing! Such a proud moment for us *sniffle sniffle*”. And if the girl is wearing enough gold, it’ll be the food. “What??!! Only four types of payasam?! Such a shame.. *BURP!*”. (At my sister’s wedding, she refused to wear gold, and my dad was so tired of explaining to his lady colleagues that the reason why his daughter is wearing only necklace is because she doesn’t like wearing gold, that he finally told them he had gone bankrupt, so he couldn’t buy any jewelry for her.)

# I've always wondered why people gain weight once they get married. Now after seeing my cousins and my sister getting married, I think I know the reason. No no, it’s not because of all the love that they’re probably making(Is that just a myth? Married people, enlighten us.), it’s because they are made to stuff their faces with so much food at the houses of the hundred relatives that they have to visit after the wedding, that it’ll take them years to burn that much fat out. I’ve seen skinny girls transform into mini-elephants a month after their wedding. Come on, it HAS to be more than just ‘love’, right?

IS there any way to have a registered wedding but still keep all the cash and gifts?


  1. You forgot to mention the video cameras which are thrust into the face when you're eating!! That's the most agonizing part of a malayali wedding :P

    And to be honest, I think malayali weddings are the shortest! Have you ever been to a Tamil Brahmin's wedding? If not, then don't, unless you want to die of laughter :D They have these kashi yatra and some silly things where they lift the bride and the bridegroom tries to garland her while she's lifted by fat uncles! After some time, you'll be wondering what you were there for anyway.

  2. this is an awesome a/c of mallu weddings! the nair weddings are juz 3-4 minutes of affairs for which all this lakhs is spent! kudos gurl! what a truthful portrayal! :)

  3. well no need to feel pity for for dem is all abut new dress,gold, posing for photo nd gifts..its da poor bridegroom who suffers from day 1...

  4. i luvd it......very true facts..:)..kudos!!gr8 job..

  5. @Sneha: Oh yes, forgot the cameras while eating. Especially when you're putting the biggest morsel on into your mouth or you're borrowing something from your neighbour's banana leaf! :) And hey, we don't mock others' culture, girl. (Raising eyebrows sternly). Barring the elaborate pujas, some of their rituals are quite fun actually.

    @Ash: Serioulsy! So much of money spent for just those few minutes!! I really can't understand what the fuss is all about.

    @Jibu: If you think that the women have it easy, try wearing a heavy silk sari, wear 100 sovereigns of gold, and stand under the hot lights for an hour. Then you'll understand. And frankly, we would much rather have the cash. ;)

    @Rohith: Thank you! :)

  6. @ above: well if u really like to have cash den y go on to buy dis dresses nd jeweleries

  7. Because, my dear friend, sometimes, you just can't challenge your parents. :\ I've already told my parents not to bother buying me gold. :P

  8. I didn't mean to mock, hell no!! I like their weddings cos it's soo much fun!! Not at all like boring mallu weddings :P

  9. Hey, You have a gr8 blog out here. Hilarious! loved reading it. I was wondering if there is any option where I can get your new blog posts in my mail? I am just too lazy to use the reader. :D

  10. well den when u get married..sure as heaven u will be hopping around da shops...ask ny grl who is gettin married...all dey really want is dress nd gold..i hav seen it myself...

  11. Quite vivid and adequately written. I would also like to add that weddings happen to be the only stage for middle class people, who make no use of other creative opportunities to expose themselves, to flaunt their assets(in all ways). Thus these traditions ,which are stuffed with common expectations and monotonous physical gestures, is slowly becoming part of a dead art form.

  12. God, the Telugu weddings last long. Please don't forget the numerous hours spent shopping for sarees and gold while children like us are dragged along under the boiling sun.

    Food is what I go to weddings for! :D You're a mind reader! :D And you will not convince me that people grow fat because they're being fed a lot at relatives! Lol, I love this. Good read. Brain Candy, I tell you!

  13. Yup! The 'Ouch' at the 5 minutes is quite apt. I got married to a guy from another planet (read that as Delhi) ... where the elaborate ceremonies border on lunacy.. And we got married Mallu style first (yeah, yeah.. i got married TWICE - as if once wasn't enough)
    You could see surprise on the faces of the in-laws and the faces seemed to say "What? done already? But we haven't even BLINKED once)... Fun-tastic post gurl!!

  14. @Lunatic: Exactly. Our weddings are a snooze-fest. And since i'm not a fan of sadhya, I don't even have the food to look forward to. :/

    @RoL: Thank you. :) I tinkered with blogger and put up a new gadget, just above the followers tab, for subscribing to the blog. Just let me know if it works the next time I post something new.

    @Altair Smith: Very true. It is probably the one place where the middle class gets a chance to show off. Parents put in their entire life savings into a wedding, especially if it's their daughters. It all seems such a superfluous exercise...

    @DawnZhang: Oh yes, I'd been to a Telugu wedding two years back. Started in the evening and lasted till about midnight. Oh and there was torrential rain also that day. One wedding I will never forget!
    And I'm not trying to convince you that that is why people grow fat. Merely suggesting. ;)

    @Meena: Just be glad that you were not from Tamil Nadu and your husband from Delhi. Imagine how many days would have gone in the two weddings! :p

  15. hey funny account of weddings...i m guessing u ve never been to PUNJABI WEDDINGS...just multiply every funny moment by 2 and add TOO MUCH music and booze.their,perfect 1 cares for rituals

  16. @Maniac: Nope, never been to a Punjabi wedding. Have heard loads about them though. And it all sounded like fun. :) You know what they say- the grass is greener on the other side. ;)

  17. Ha..I dont want to remember that god awful day at all.Most of I remember are laced with camera flashes.And for the reception I stood a whole three hours on 3 inch point heels.
    There are no particular reasons for getting married.It's just the in thing.Yeah one thing is,you can enjoy a lot of attention.
    Between Nice post. :D

  18. @Blue Lotus: Ah yes, the one day that i can throw tantrums and nobody will say anything. :) For that one reason alone I should get married. :P

  19. ROFL... So True... Esp the part where the woman SHOULD AND MUST have "enough" gold on her body, or the parents are tormented with questions... And the worst part is people actually ask you why the wedding wasnt up to "standards"!!! Had a tough time during my sis' wedding... :(


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