Saturday, May 13, 2006

Kalyana Ramans and Ramanis

Yesterday was Wedding Number One in our itinerary, after Engagement Number One in Ernakulam. We reached Muvatupuzha around mid morning after the hero of my last post, my Uncle had said a tearful goodbye to us. He had just got the bill for the PC you see.

In a gesture of rare honor that bought a tear to my eye, Jojo sent me the first ever invitation to Yahoo Chat from his new PC which I accepted from my Laptop. Such a good boy.

There was a crisis brewing in the wedding house. The groom-to-be (GTB to keep it short) declared that he would not get married until his Godmother, i.e. my Mom arrived.( His godma was minutes away enroute to his house and the wedding a good 24 hours away. Melodrama is part of the mallu wedding). The declaration worried his parents very much. His Dad was heart broken. He had 100 cases of liquor collected for the wedding you see. ( 50 cases for the pre bachelor party, bachelor party, organizing committee meetings and the wedding and 50 cases incase there was an Income tax raid during the wedding.)

His Mom was heart broken too. This was the single most important day in her last child’s life. From the time he took his first baby steps, she had a dream. She dreamt of her son growing up fast into a sturdy young man, so that she took hitch him around some gals neck and fly off to London, Paris and Rhode Island, where her daughters and a son resided. But the ingrate was not showing any signs of leaving the nest. She was sure she would be stuck in Muvattupuzha for the rest of her life.

Fortunately for them, we reached their house five minutes after GTB had made that awful declaration. The scene of Godmother and Godchild meeting were straight out of Hindi movies.

GTB: Maaa!!
Mom: Betaaa!!!
Me: Barf

Anyways soon after arrival we were immediately closeted for the “organizing committee meeting”. The wedding was high profile and a lot of volunteers were needed. But then my family is not exactly short of hands when there is booze involved. Soon we had a good crowd of volunteers and their classmates too...(in case the cops tried anything funny.)

Now don’t judge us too harshly. Meetings are thirsty affairs, especially since Kerala is quite hot at this time of the year. And mallu heat is not the sissy kinda heat you get in Chennai.( I am not talking about the Mallu Heat you get on CD’s and thatched Talkies.)

Now, my mom is no Don Vito Corleone, but a regular Godmother. I mean, prior to the baptism (naming ceremony) of the child, a male and female relation is appointed as Godfather and Godmother. Godparents are informally responsible for ensuring that the child's religious education is carried out, and for caring for the child should he/she be orphaned (logically this means that the godparents should be young and able bodied). But in Kerala, hierarchy is followed strictly and the oldest and most wizened, closest-to-the-grave-relative is given the honor. (Never mind the explanation I have given in the previous bracket, we mallus are non-conformists) And the appointment of the Godmother/Godfather causes a lot of heartburn for the parents (and hence the declining birthrate of Kerala).

The naming of the baby is also very complex (and by now very famous). The first name is often left to the parent’s choice but the middle name has to include the Christian name of an elder. Almost all the old people and their parents want their name included in the baby’s name. And no matter how many people you accommodate there will always be ill will. So the GTB’s parent took the short cut and included every aged relatives name they could muster. Legend has it that by the time they finished the naming ceremony the Priest fell down exhausted and no priest thereafter was willing to preside over any ceremony involving GTB.

The GTB was named Nitin ( first name) Joseph, Alexander, Philip, Isaac, Francis, Maradona (Dad is a huge fan and insisted), Ajith Wadekar ( mom is a great fan) Kurian, Geevarghese Thomas. J for short. (The priest presiding over his wedding was specially bought in from another district.)

Everything went fine till the Priest started the Nuptial ceremony (the actual wedding ritual).

Priest: Do you Nithin Joseph, Alexander, Philip, Isaac, Francis, Maradona, Ajith Wadekar, Kurian, Geevarghese Thomas take Shiny Marie, Sarah, Elizabeth Mary to be your lawfully wedded wife?
BTB: I do.
Priest: Do you Shiny Marie, Sarah, Elizabeth Mary take Nithin Joseph, Alexander, Philip, Isaac, Francis, Maradona, Ajith Wadekar, Kurian, Geevarghese Thomas to be your lawfully wedded husband.
Bride: Who?????? Er... I mean “I do”.
Priest ( panting): May I have some water please ?

The sermon given by the priest afterwards was rousing and he spoke at length about naming children. (He was also overheard instructing his assistant to make a thorough check on bride and bridegroom's full names before he accepted any further Wedding Mass requests.)

Yours truly was in-charge of decorating the Church and the Reception area with a bunch of volunteers below the drinking age. The famous mallu heat was countered by this ‘committee’ with Naranga Vellam (Lemon Juice) and Ice Cream.

The reception at the grooms home was a grand success. ( basically it means that there were no males left who was sober).

p.s Just read somewhere that since Malayalam has a very komblex phonetic system that makes it difficult for outsiders to understand, it was used for wireless communications in the Indo-Pakistan border. ( Never mind if Subedar Jarnail Singh, Lance Naik Kelkar, Havildaar Pranab Mukherjee and Sepoy Naik, were at the receiving end. The enemy couldn’t decipher it… and that is what matters.)


Kusum Rohra said...

NO NO NO I cant belive this, me first????

*kusum faints*

Kusum Rohra said...

*After having recovered she comments*

50 cases incase there was an Income tax raid during the wedding

Girl one of these days the IT people will hack your blog and change everything you have written for them.

( I am not talking about the Mallu Heat you get on CD’s and thatched Talkies.)

Hahah *loud unlady like laughter*

Maradona (Dad is a huge fan and insisted)


Never mind if Subedar Jarnail Singh, Lance Naik Kelkar, Havildaar Pranab Mukherjee and Sepoy Naik, were at the receiving end

(Hey this is her colleague completing the comment, as kusum has been thrown out for laughing hysterically for the 14521 time.)

Anonymous said...

Typical Mallu wedding. One part you missed is getting the bride / groom to church. The fuming and fretting father and the mother who wants everything to be perfect. The end result - a delay of atleast an hour.
My most unforgettable wedding was of a second cousin. It was for 11:00 a.m. at St.Mary's church (this was before the age of cell phones). A record of sorts was set when the groom (us) arrived at the church only a few minutes late, but the bride did not turn up even at 01:00 p.m. Tension irrupted, tempers flared, phone calls were made - but the calls to the brides house were not answered promoting remarks like "she should be on the way" or "she ran off with the beau". Finally at around 02:00, realization dawned on one person (the liquor had just begun to wear off). There were two St.Mary's church in the same town and a party was immediately sent to the other church. And there was the bride, all decked upin her finery, mascara running all over her face ad the same scene as in the other church - Tension irrupted, tempers flared, phone calls being made.....
***** I still pull him on this :-)

Sarah said...

ah the mallu weddings..the booze, the food and the songs and then the melodrama..

mathew said...

yeah..and the famous malayalee appetite for booze makes sure that all invited comes a day prior to the actually D-day... :)

Thanu said...

damn.. i had no booze for my wedding...

I think we will renew our vows after 5 yrs and throw a booze party just for the heck

shruti said...

he he ..quite funny ..and a very vivid description of a mallu wedding ... will like to attend one now and experience for myself..nothing like having a first hand experience na !

Maverick said...

hope no priest is keeping track of ur blog. eh just out of curiosity u also follow the same set of naming conventions right :D

some of the names of my friends and the story behind their names reminds me of the old IUPAC rules in chemistry ---- 1,1,2-trichloroethane and all {eh no offence meant }

and about christian marriages well i just love them, even the 2-3 hour mass :) sadly dont have much to attend these days :(

Anonymous said...


U na!!! I so believe you can write screenplays for most hilarious mallu movies of all times. May someday when I have enough dough to produce a movie I would hire ya.

//p.s Just read somewhere that since Malayalam has a very komblex phonetic system that makes it difficult for outsiders to understand, it was used for wireless communications in the Indo-Pakistan border.

LOL LOL!!! Shooooot is a good Idea. My Dad who was with the Signal Corps in the 71 War may have used THAT.:P

Keem em comming Girl!!

silverine said...

@Kusum: High five sistah!!!! lol I like the sequence of fainting and commenting and then being thrown out ROFL Girl you make me laugh always!
@Espiritnoir: Thank you dear. I am too lazy to write a book :)
@browser: We pride ourselves in getting the groom/bride to the church in time even we have to tie/gag and drag them. And it is always, the other side that is always late!!
Your anecdote is so typical of the confusion that happens during the wedding. Poor groom and bride :))
@IIC: You just summed it up. The Wedding Mass gets eclipsed under all the tamasha :)
@mathew: In our case we had relatives camping a week ahead, but mostly to help out :)
@Thanu: For a wedding I attended recently , the priest made all the couples present renew their vows. That was so sweet. You should do that.
@Shruti: Make sure you are involved in the 'organising committee'. That's where all the fun happens ;)
@Aashik: Sound proof room!!! ROFL
Thank you dear for that vote of approval. Thankfully for us catholics unlike the orthodox, the sermons are a bit shorter, but the booze is definitely an unifying factor as you mentioned.
@maverick: I may have priests, IT, HR's and god knows who else tracking me LOL We too practise the same naming conventions :)
@Jaguuu:And when you make the dough we will have the first ever movie by bloggers! Howzzat? That will be some kind of a first :)) Hey do ask your Dad about this, because I read about this on Wikipedia>Malayalam>Trivia. And thank for the kind words :)

Jo said...

LOL!!! That was too good!

anup.777 said...

This was the funniest stuff I've read in such a looong time yaar!!! ...

GTB: Maaa!!
Mom: Betaaa!!!
Me: Barf

Anup: LOLz .... basically ur piece had me smiling and grinning throughout .... thanks for this!!! :)

Keep Going!!!

Fleiger said...

So it was "My Big Wet Mallu Wedding" for you this week?

And my PM last year decided to include both his and his wife's fathers' names in the middle name part for his son. I was wondering if the name would be long, till I met Mike someone something someone (I am sure there was one more someone in here) Rx. (Yes, the RX part is true) Thank god our naming ceremonies are straighforward, first name on parents whim, second name is father's firest name, last name is family name.

I too remember mallu heat we encountered on our south trip. Even in december, it was formidable. No electronic media involved here too, and from the things we got, no electrical media (fan/AC) were involved too.

Safari Al said...


hope and love said...

lol..!! typical mallu christian marraige scene..
u have written it so well..!!

Kusum Rohra said...

Hey silver, i got ur comment on my post titled disturbing trend in my mail, but its not on my blog. I was womdering if you deleted the comment?

T E Zacharias said...

A wonderful description of a mallu wedding! You have made it more interesting than what I have seen of it! Mebbe I should revise my plan of eloping, to escape the dreariness of the weddings in my family...

Jim said...

I laughed so hard my sides hurt! Ow!

Oh yes, how could you describe a mallu christian wedding without the ever-present camera --err-- kyameraas??? You know, with the scruffy cameramen who work in pairs, one with the lens in your face, the other with a thermonuclear fusion powered radiation source? And when they aren't shoving lenses in your face, it's usually a helping of their not-so-flattering asses!

Sreejith Narayanan said...


didnt knw ur christened names are so komblicated..

sent it to a few of my christian friends, and they are still rotfling..

Mind Curry said...

jojo is definitely a good smart boy. he has configured yahoo chat so fast and is making full use of his bytes, and that is commendable. lol!

Melodrama is part of the mallu wedding
tell me about it!! its a part of the mallu family..refer your post on mallu tv serials!
GTBs and BGTBs..the entire state thrives on weddings and politics.

aren't you a godmother for someone already? :)

@ alexis - I hope you have many more marriages and engagements left
is that a curse for silverine? lol..kidding..:)

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Hmmm. Your mention of the Mallu heat is intimidating (I have to visit Thiruvananthapuram some time this month).

And I tried to learn Malayalam back in training, I know what you mean about different phonetics. For a while it felt like a parallel universe.


d_grail said...

gonna blogroll u...u 2 gud!!

Jackal said...

some one get cold water....for kusum....hahaha

Jackal said...

nice post..funny.....know i have some idea of mallu wedding..btw is tht name really tht long.......tcc

starry said...

What would a wedding be without the mellodrama.

Dr. Pissed said...

Out of all the things, Shiny Marie caught my eye the most.

Shiny!! hahaha

Much like Titty Matthew (junior in college)

Lalit Singh said...

all said n done, weddings, i believe, are one of the most colorful of our traditions... the number of rerlatves, friends , acquaintances, the people who are someone's someone,, and all the remaining 600 people you ahve no idea who they are... Its nothing short of a tamasha...and there has to be Alcohol and melodrama .. its a quintessential part... mallu wedding or any other wedding ...

You know in our community.. the fervor with which the grooms party is dancing in the baarat (procession) is directly proportional to the amnount of alcohol consumed in the pre procession party..

Lols@Mallu heat... i was in mallu land for 3 months once and it was either hot or raining

And ive been wanting to ask u this for some time now.. how the hell do u manage so many vacations/holidays... which comp are u in... pleez tell me i say

Jiby said...

hey the scenes u described reminded me of several family weddings i'd been to!! like the time my cousin got married to this gal from coorg and the preist asked him in kannada "will u take for ur wife" and he looked around not knowing what the preist asked and what to say back...the consternation on the preists face thinking the groom was about to bolt...we guys understanding wht the problem was and breaking out in a huge roar of laughter in the church!!!

agree with u on the christian name phenomenon!!! the first time i heard my baptism name was at sunday school and remember having to suffer that name for many years coz we we were not allowed to address each other with official names...still remember a classmate in sunday school whose name was Thomas Thomas!!!

silverine said...

@Jo and Anup.777 : Thank you :)
@ Fleiger:I haven't mentioned that there is yet another name and that is the family name. That gets added on last :)
@Safari Al: Hope your exams went well :)
@HnL: Thank you dear doc :)
@Kusum: The comment is still there, guess you are unable to view it.
@Alexis: Thank you so much. Blogger seems to be playing up. But I got both your comment by mail :)
'The vacation is going fine except that there seems to be a surfiet of weddings and engagagements this year.
'Organising committee' is where the action is isnt it? So I am not surprised that you were in the thick of the action. Besides after reading your "thanks, thank you...' post I realise you were the ever helpful kind of person :)
@connors connor: Thank you dear. My cousins who read this post said they never noticed the funny parts, and now after reading this suddenly a lot of funny moments were remembered and recounted with glee :))
Weddings are fun and things have changed a lot since the 80's and 90's.
@Jim: LOL you have described the kyamera man so well. I hate the eye-ball frying lights they shove on your face.
@sreejith: Thank you! The naming is a delicate balancing exercise fraught with danger of trampling on someone's ego, who will promptly declare that he/she is not attending the ceremony cos he/she's name was not considered :))
@mind curry: jo jo is not new to chat and already has some trillion names in his YM list :)) What you say about melodrama is very true, but I saw less of it this time and more efficiency in organising the weddings.
@J.A.P:By the time you reach TVM it will be raining I guess and Kerala is at her charming best in the Monsoons.
@d'grail: Thank you dear :)
@Jackal:Kusum is a dear :) Well it is not that long, that was just me stretching things a bit :))
@starry nights: It's part of the package and somthing to talk about years after the wedding is over.
@dr pissed: You are the only one who saw that :)) But that is because we mallu's are quite used to names like that. 'Titty Mathew' was soo funny LOL
@lalit: Punjabi weddings are so colorful and full of fun. I have attended a couple :) About vacations, the trick is to save your leave so that you get a lumpsome. I have quite a lot of leave carried over from last year.
@Jiby: LOL that was sooo funny. My baptism name has both my grandma's names in it, so I have 5 names ( if I include family name) :)).And it was during my first communion classes that I realised it :))
I have an uncle who is Thomas Thomas!

If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya said...

hey girlie. this was truly hilarious. christian weddings do have a charm of their own. and how can u forget drunk uncles who like to grab mikes and call by name, all single girls who should come for the bouquet catching!! uggh!!

i should write posts now on the wonders of planning one's wedding. i swear, by the time we're through, only our relatives will reach the wedding, because it will all be per their convinience. my groom and i will be working at office!

stan_da_man said...

lol..yea! tell me abt a Xtian Mallu sis's weddin was just a few months back...yea n the names r crazzy!..Thomas(sq), John(sq), and then we have the inversal syndrome..where the dad's name is reversed to get the son's name! Jacob(dad) ==> Jacob Mathew(son).

zo zimble na!

Sreejith Panickar said...

Maradona and Wadekar!!!! :-))

I have not yet attended a Xian wedding. :-( Would have loved to see these Godmas in action. :-)


That was a howling remark! LOL

Anonymous said...

I have heard so much about your blog & I must say people are not exaggerating. Sat through the weekend to read the archives & am thanking the gods that I didn't read this in office. I would be cleaning the floor ;-) Miss,you have tonnes of fans in this part of the world.

B Varghese

Patty said...

And I thought it bad the names American Stars saddle their children with. Been to a wedding or two in my day, (even threw a few) none of them came close to the hiliarity you discribe. Congratulations to the bride and groom for living through it all!

Ali Thanikkal said...

... GTB declared that he would not get married until his Godmother... :D

Reminded me of one of my cousins who shouted at his mom for talking about a wedding proposal...
"Dont even mention me about wedding for atleast another two weeks!!!"

venus said...

Nithin Joseph, Alexander, Philip, Isaac, Francis, Maradona, Ajith Wadekar, Kurian, Geevarghese Thomas!!! Are you serious?!?!

The india-pak border joke- ROFL :D

venus said...

one thing I'm still wondering is about your title of this post.. how it relates to the theme. may be it means somehting in mallu?

Lalit Singh said...

yeah Pujabi are perhaps the most colorfull people in the niverse... although i was talking about Rajput marraiges where drinks are more important than dowry

and about the leaves... we get them pro-rata... so cant have a month off even if i have that many leaves saved :-(

hope and love said...

txs silverine.. the confusion in the blogroll has been corrected.

Unknown said...

The wedding season is hectic in Keralam.

Matter of Choice said...

aaaah mallu weddings....just been a victim of it myself...having single-handedly managed to get my bro married off last week (dont attribute any ulterior motives though!!) all i can say is "been there seen it all" :))


Jagan said...

trust me , when u did talk abt malllu heat , i was thinking about the CDs ..u spoiled the fun by making a comment on tht :-(

silverine said...

@IfItellya Girl:Hope you have fun organising your wedding.The throwing the bouquet thingie is more of a Goan and Mangalorean
tradition. And I know that your post on organising your wedding will be hilarious :))
@stan: Someone fresh from the hullabaloo I see. When it comes to nomenclature, nothing beats the mallu's in 'innovation' lol.Hope you had fun too :)
@Srijith: Maradona and Wadekar was just literary license that I used :))The middle names have to be Xian names. Hope you get to experience the behind the scenes activity prior to the mallu Xian wedding.
@Bijoy: Thank you :)
@Patty: Thank you :) The bride and groom don't do much in our part of the world. It is us the immediate relations who do most of the runing around and have the fun in the bargain too !
@Alit: That was a so cute and funny LOL
@Venus: is not that long :))
@Lalit:Drinks more important than dowry? Wow!!!! That must be a double dhamaka, at least for the brides folks lol We have to serve both.
@HnL: You are welcome doc :)
@madan: Very hectic,and it starts after Easter :)
@Jagan: ha ha gotcha you bad boy ;)
@MoC: And you pulled it off amazingly well!! You bro is very lucky indeed to have a Wedding Planner in you :)

Rose said...

"He had 100 cases of liquor collected for the wedding you see. ( 50 cases for the pre bachelor party, bachelor party, organizing committee meetings and the wedding and 50 cases incase there was an Income tax raid during the wedding.)"

Im stl holding my tummy and ROTFL... :D

Well.. being an incorrigible mallu myself, that too frm the 'Achayan' community i cud very well relate to the incidents enumerated here...

Ok.. im n office n its abt time i stopped laughn n let go of my tummy otherwise my colleagues will think im pregnant or sumthn.. ;)

Yikes.. ok i hv the incorrigible mallu sense of humour as well.. ~sheepish grin~

Jokes apart.. U hv a luvly style of writing..



Goan Pao said...

non conformity is what I like....and hence all those mallu friends.
50 cases of alcohol...oh that made me nostalgic...reminded me of my sisters wedding when i travelled to Goa 4 times in 3 months to get some 50 odd cases of alcohol and beer...
"blood alcohol level" the true quotient of a succeful reception.

Fleiger said...

Oh, now I am not sure when Aamir Khan said in 1982 (or thereabouts) that "Papa kehte hai bada naam karega..." he didn't mean long names.

And I am in India now, survived the Air India cuisine and flights. The idli was conspicuous by its absence, but the "upma" made a guest entry in supper.

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog...and my you one funny woman!! And I agree with the person who said that you should write a book. And if you don't mind, since I am mal syrian christian and all, I sent your rant on penna kannal to my dad. Hahaha...Keep em coming...

Adarsh A. Varghese said...

Great job as usual! i thought i wud get back to blogging after a pretyy long break!

രാജ് said...

"രസായിണ്ട്” ("rasaayind")

Anonymous said...

hey lo silverine,

its been long time i was out of my ways...and good to see that sanity still prevails in this part of so so anjali still mans the chain (word) gun...;) ...dude u write mega bytes m doing good.


silverine said...

@Rose:Thanks gurl! Looks like you identify with the situation here :)
@Goan Pav:"blood alcohol level" the true quotient of a succeful reception That is the success mantra for our Xian weddings. But nothing to beat a Goan or Mangy wedding in pageantry and style :)
@Fleiger:Papa has no control over the bada naam of the beta and beti in malluland :) They fed the Great Eagle upma? Atrocious!!!! lol
@Anon:Thank you and you are welcome to send it to anyone :)
@Adarsh:Welcome back comrade in arms er blogs :) Looking forward to your unique blogs. Do say 'Hi' to Neil. He does make a guest entry now and then :)
@Peringodan:Thank you and there was no need to tranlsate. I can read Malayalam :)
@Living_Dead:Hey there pardner!! Where on Earth were you? And why arent you signing in with your blogger account? Anyways I am glad to see you, alive and commenting :)

silverine said...

@Aashik: Been busy travelling. Didn't have a moment alone with my Lappie :( Will post soon :)
@espiritnoir: That was a wonderful list :)

monu said...

Yours truly was in-charge of decorating the Church and the Reception area with a bunch of volunteers below the drinking age.

lol i too been into the reception team when i as a kid..usually it was my aunt who was in charge of reception..after her marriage it was my sisters and cousins duty...

u r narration reminds me of the "bar room" :D .. a "modfied room" which resembles a bar :) :), where men used to sneak in for a drink,..where kids are now allowed to enter.. i remeber once getting scolded for entering "the bar", my intention was nothing other than having some cashewnut and beef fry..:D..

£ijo Isac said...

Nostalgic Mallu Achayan Wedding POst . Reminds me of so many Mallu Weddings in Kottayam , Idukki , Kochi (including Muvattupuzha) I have attended . 50 cases is below averages for a typical mallu wedding :-D

Alex said...

Very immpressive writing ! You sure do have the gift of wit!

silverine said...

blufrog: Thank you :)

Monu: I have heard of the days when the bar used to be a seperate place and the men would go for a sip and get back :)) Nowadays it is in the open!

Lijo:Yes, guess our achayan weddings are similar :)

Alex:Thank you :)

pushkalAn& pattabhiraman said...

Pst..pst..Tamil iyers have two names.. i can nver forget the time when we visited a temple.. my hubby almost forgot my name..

Pink Mango Tree said...

Hey Anjali..!!

I am totally in love with your blog posts! :)