Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Indian wedding

This post is related to a small series by another blogger and I suggest you read that series also to get a well-balanced and rounded view on wedding receptions.

You know what happens in a typical wedding reception – meet, great, eat and beat the hell out of there if you do not know the couple well enough and usually we do not for most of the weddings we are invited to. For the others we are not invited but are a part of the wedding.

So when we go for a wedding which is a social compulsion you know when the groom or bride or their families are known to you or your family and you end up at the wedding for the usual eat greet, I mean meet, greet etc. I have the habit of being in time for the actual wedding because I personally feel that it is meaningless to start off with just the eat bit and I would like to part of that special moment for the new family that is starting on that day irrespective of the couple being aware of our presence.

So I attend the wedding ceremony and proceed to the hall where the reception is held and usually the wedding party is late to the hall because when you enter you see a crowd who have reached there and are waiting for the couple. Then you see the reception, the prayers and speeches, the toasting with the mandatory wine or grape juice and cake etc. Here a word of mention for the toast, the wine or grape juice is looked upon suspiciously by some who suspect that they are being served liquor and when they learn that it is grape juice promptly gulp it down, never mind that the cake and wine / juice have a role and need to remain in the hands for some time.

So after these activities there is some kind of invisible signal that is given by some unknown person in every wedding which starts a stampede. In many weddings there will be one clearly visible uncle whose biggest contribution will be to show the famous signal for the “getti melam” at the time of the tying of the thali, but this signal seems to be unseen and the sender of the signal is invisible but the after effects are amazing in a few seconds a large line is formed in front of you ready for the greeting bit. Before you get over the shock you find that there are atleast 30 people ahead of you.

So you reconcile yourself to the long wait and then you see some people cutting lines and some entering the stage from the wrong side usually with the support of someone close to couple making you wonder if they are more privileged than other ordinary mortals on this side. Then the mandatory photo shoot where you are expected to hold a smile till the battery of photographers complete their job.

Finally you move to the next item on the agenda the wedding feast. You are usually late because there are many who have beaten you to it and are busy with the task on hand. You find a place and finish the meal and towards the end you have to endure the looks of those waiting for your seat and whispering a silent prayer that tomorrow will still be a good day you move on. These days I have understood that it is simply smarter to eat and then greet especially when I have my daughter with me.

These days more weddings are moving away from the loud and often awful sounding music troupes to troupes that focus more on instrumental music which is pleasant and quite enjoyable at times. Sadly most people ignore them and I often feel bad that they do not get their due. In between this hectic meet, greet schedule I try to squeeze some time to listen to the performers and applaud their efforts before getting into the race for the next activity.

A wedding requires the bride, the groom, an official and two witnesses and all the others are not required. In fact for civil weddings the others are not allowed into the register office. However for us it is an event and whether it is our wedding or we are just guests, everyone seems to love a big fat Indian wedding.




Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I wonder...

Driving home from yet another official road trip this time from Chittoor, I came across a traffic holdup and it appeared to be one of those funeral processions with loud music and noise. I was frankly shocked when I saw that it was not a funeral but a religious procession organized by a religious party. What was shocking was that several young men had put hooks on their bodies and were pulling cars and lorries on the road and worse there was a merry go round mounted on a truck and hanging from the wheel were four men suspended by hooks into their bodies. The sight was revulsive to behold and I just moved away.  The people on the road were watching the procession with mixed emotions while kids and grown men danced along to some awful songs.

I understand that penance for some involves mutilation and many other similar actions, but I cannot understand why this song was used for a religious procession.

The fact that a religious party organizes this and that penance is a public spectacle is worrisome. And in the midst of all this is the god on a chariot with people dancing the “dabban kuthu”.

Sometimes it may be better to just be still…


This post is not a criticism of the faith of some, it is personal but something just did not seem right in this spectacle.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Soodhu Kavvum - fun.

This is a very late review and by now the word on the movie has ensured that the theatres are full even a month after the release.  The movie is a winner and I was genuinely puzzled by the reactions of the kids who were there in the movie cheering loudly at the interval. Not sure if it was the reaction to the snacks or the movie itself.

The trend of making different movies with new actors and depending on a good story and screen play ensures that people go to the theatre with zero to sky high expectations and often come back happy. This is one such movie eliciting laughs from genuinely funny moments avoiding slap stick and enjoyable underplayed acting. The cute and hot heroine (is she one?) and her role is another brilliant touch but she was missed after the interval.

The scrupulously clean politician and his family are brilliant characters and as the climax unfolds you smile and wince at the state of the nation and politics. The twists at the end make an almost predictable ending fun but I was disappointed with the role of the super cop, I expected more than just beating up the suspects, would have loved it if they had shown him cracking the case but his exit was very funny.

The back ground score is interesting and the songs are different and seem to be quite popular including the trouser or is it tousar? My schedule did not permit me to watch this movie earlier and I since do not watch movies on CD a delay in bringing out this post which is not a review. For a review you can check out one from an expert I follow. If you have not watched this movie, you should do so. It is an enjoyable ride.


Thursday, June 06, 2013



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.

This post was spurred by a recent online incomplete discussion that happened recently after a talk show on radio. It is very difficult to get an unbiased or non- judgmental media person these days, most have a bias and do not hesitate to hide it. A recent discussion on Chennai Live 104.8 FM was on two issues the first was the attempt to bar mannequins in Mumbai from wearing lingerie in store windows and the second the sending back of women without dupattas by the photo crew for Aaadhar somewhere in the country. Based on these two events callers were asked for their views, there were varied opinions from men and women who called in but I noticed that the women callers were critical of men and blamed men for their lot and since the show is helmed by a hostess it found favour.

I called and clarified to the hostess that the entire lingerie episode was raked up by a lady councillor for reasons best known to her and since it was deemed to be anti-rape it has become a raging issue. I am not very sure about Aadhar but I do know one thing about dupatttas and that is often the dupattas rule is enforced by women. I had done an old post on this long ago and I believe it is still valid. Salwars with dupattas are enforced in school, run through college and old habits die hard. The point that is not to be missed here is that many women’s institutions and run by women.

The conversation spilled over to the FB page of the hostess and there was a rant on a comment by a male caller who said something to the effect about a home mother. This invited caustic comments from other women. I do not know the intentions of that caller but I find some merit in the statement that children brought up by a home parent can fare better than children brought up by surrogates like grandparents and care takers. In nuclear families with both working parents children are often left to fend for themselves and that is an economic curse.

The women comments took offense at men and made a statement about careers and why should women sacrifice their careers for men etc. Please note that working women are not just from the knowledge economy but the maid who cleans homes, the nurse, the teacher, the vegetable vendor, the fisher woman, the banker, the government servant are all working women and all of them face the same challenges. A woman may leave the shelter of the home for several reasons but it is not necessary that it is because of men.

And everyone man or woman has only twenty four hours to handle their daily tasks and child care is essential and needs time. Please note that I am not insisting that it is only women who need to care for children, stay at home dads are catching up and will soon become a fad. Women earn more than men in some families I know and the men are willing to play second fiddle spending more time with children. A dad I know works partly from home so that he can look after his daughter. All I wish to say is that feminism is not anti-men, men are part of the problem but by targetting men for all ills feminists can miss the point.

I was fortunate to have a stay at home mum, so I had a mum who brought lunch for me daily in preparatory school, helped me with homework, studies, came for PTA meets, took care of me when I was sick very often by herself as my father was posted elsewhere. I learnt values at home and then in school and that was because mum was there. I think it would have been the same if dad was the person at home and mum was working for dad is still a good cook and does a great job with looking after his grand kids. The point is a home parent is always better than a no parent and it does not matter if it is the father or mother. Sadly my daughter is not so fortunate as now both her parents are working.

I support feminism where equality is a given for both men and women and I know that men & women are complementary and cannot exist independently but I am opposed to those who believe that feminism is simply anti-male.

P.S. The women in the picture are also feminists though I cannot understand their way of expression.

Image courtesy Google Images





Monday, June 03, 2013

Traffic woes that never end

Mount Road is a motorist’s nightmare. I will rephrase that, Mount Road is a rule abiding and disciplined motorist’s nightmare. You simply do not know what to expect on that road. You will encounter traffic from all sides even from roads which are meant to be one-way only and it is disheartening to see traffic police standing helplessly at the lawlessness before them.

Disciplined and orderly driving will ensure that all can reach their destinations but our short cut loving people throw all caution to the wind and make every attempt to save time by driving wherever they please. The Metro Rail has exposed the ugly side of Chennai and I am not talking about the piles of rubbish strewn everywhere but the attitude of the people who break rules. In my earlier post I was heartened by the good folks of Chennai sadly the good folks are painted black by the black sheep.

The attempted bus road system on Mount Road fell flat because of the opposition of the local residents who were denied access to their homes and workplaces but it got worse by the idiots who kept creeping into the lanes till the police gave up and let them go. So now bus journeys on Mount Road get longer as the buses jostle with every other vehicle for space. A good attempt at improving public transport got consigned to the dustbin.

When the majority drive with some semblance of order there will always be one idiot who will jump the lane or drive on the wrong side or jump a signal which will spur many other copycats to do likewise. What makes this more painful to see is when the idiot with either drive a vehicle marked with “G” or “POLICE”. It seems to be a cruel joke to expect anything better from these people.

Metro may improve things or for want of parking spaces be a white elephant like the other MRTS which is a monumental example of poor planning and a colossal waste of public money. During my visit to Paris I was impressed how different train systems are interlinked and it is quite a breeze to travel around the city even for a visitor like me. Sadly in Chennai we have to make do with the inadequate public transport or use the expensive personal transport and grin and bear every time an idiot crosses you.
(Image courtesy - Google Images)

Sunday, June 02, 2013

What goes around, comes around

I love road trips for family outings especially for short out of town breaks. I did one trip to Coorg last year and last month I did one to Munnar. As usual I got the car serviced, asked for the brakes to be checked, tyre topped up with N2 and we left. As we worled this trip around a a wedding in Palakkad we took a circuitous route which was nevertheless very adventurous as we drove through a sanctuary for a major part of the journey from Palakkad.

As we were ascending for most of the journey we encountered speeding vehicles on the other side, sometimes forcing me off the road and considering that there were no boundary walls and usually a deep drop off the other side made it slightly uncomfortable. Around 20 odd kilometres before Munnar I was forced off the road yet again and this time I had a flat from a sharp stone. It is for such instances I have become a convert to N2, the tyre did not deflate instantly as the gas is inert but we needed to change the spare.

Fortunately we were close to a viewing point for tourists and so there were some shops and a few vehicles close to where we stopped. Since I had changed the spare earlier I took the jack and searched for the wheel spanner and it was missing. D and my father in law went to the shops and the vehicles and asked for help but they did not have the right size. My father in law managed to find a phone and reached a mechanic who was around 40 minutes away. So with no other option I resigned myself to a long wait.

Just then one of the vehicles came and stopped towards us and it was a vehicle from Chennai. They managed to get a wheel spanner of my size and they brought it for us. Three men from the vehicle got down and promptly changed my tyre and brushed away all our thanks. My father in law thought he can give them some money for their effort but they refused and one person told me “You would have helped someone somewhere that is why we are here to help you, have a safe journey”. My faith in humanity was affirmed and I realized that some of the best people in the world come from namma Chennai.

I left that place and I remembered this verse – Matthew 6: 3-4.

(Image courtesy Google Images)