Best wishes, happy married life, where are you planning to go for your honeymoon ?
Thank you, Uncle, where did you go for yours ?
I said its so long ago, I dont remember. We laughed it off and moved away, there were people in the que, waiting to wish them.
The honeymoon word triggered a journey back to 1978, thats the year my marriage took place.
We knew and took interest in each other, since my cousin had married her sister and all of us were working in Bangalore, got an okay from all concerned, depriving us of the thrill of an elopement.
It has to be conducted at Guruvayur temple. Girl’s mother has taken a Vow that she will get her daughter married, guruvayurappan witness. I am not sure how Guruvayuappan feels buttered with such vows. Nobody resisted, how dare.
Its about 2 to 3 hours journey by road from our ancestral homes to the temple.The reactions on the invitations are interesting though secret. There is one set who cursed, shit, we have to go that far, one day wasted, then there is another, generally the elders, thank God, we can visit and pray at guruvayur temple.
Three weeks leave, on to Kerala to get married. Date of marriage, one week away.I accompany my cousin, his wife and her SISTER to the railway station though my travel plan is for the next day.The train was about to leave when in an impulse I decide to travel with them, instead of next day. No reservation, gets a ticket, jumps into a general compartment and off I go. Those were the age, we could travel the whole night standing on one leg in a crowded compartment.
We reached , Kerala, the next day, when my cousin gets a call, there has been a theft in his house. My impulsive act has made it convenient for the thief to break in, otherwise I should have been sleeping in that house that night.My cousin rushes back to Bangalore to take stock of the damage. What a begining.
Next blast, an elderly uncle of the would be bride passes away. The traditional family and relatives says, we have to postpone the marriage for an year, at least. Well, I did not mind a shift of two weeks for the mourning period as an per general custom. I told them I am leaving, you can keep mourning for a year.Father in law was a tough guy, he told the relatives, we are not waiting for an year, we will fix another date within two weeks and go ahead (after all his daughter).
An astrologer, replaneted and gave us an auspicious date for the marriage, September 4. Fine, not very far. I quietly thought is it guruvayur appan’s way of telling us, don’t disturb me, go conduct your marriage in some hall near by. My arrogance of youth, I looked around and saw a few more elders, potential disrupters of the new date.Rebooking had to be done at Guruvayur, you know what, there are 200 marriages listed for the day. My head went for a spin thinking of the chaotic possibilities.No point in thinking, let’s face it and deal.
We reached Guruvayur the previous night, stayed in a hotel, to race through the marriage ( remember there is going to be around 200 marriages, almost on the same spot). crazy situation can do with some explanation.Most days in the month of August ( karkidagam or Adi maas) do not have an auspicious date for marriage. With the Onam festival somewhere in between the first auspicious date was September 4, that year.
There is a temporary stage set in line of vision of the deity at the eastern side of the temple. When your name is called, the girl’s parents and the groom’s parents and a priest (no space for more) get on to the stage and perform the rituals, exchange a ring, tie the mangal sutra (its a sacred golden thread called thali mala in the local lingo).There were 3 stages in line as platforms for the marriage ( I think, forgetting). The guests of almost 100 couples (even an average of 100 per couple,10,000) must have gathered in that area not knowing whose marriage they are clapping for.Our call came, the girl’s parents were pushed up on to the stage by the relatives and I was looking out for my parents. The priest was rushing us, come on, hurry up. My father’s brother ( my cousin’s parents) were pushed on to stage proxying for my parents. A quckie of a wedding took place and we were back in the crowd within 10 minutes, MARRIED.
I was fine with my uncle and aunty as my parents on the stage, I will never know the disappointment of my parents for missing out on one of their most important role and auspicious moment of their life.
A similar scene that is recent, courtesy internet.
My uncle Narayanan was regularly pulling my leg, since the day he came to know of the marriage venue. When I stepped out of the Mandap, I saw Narayanan uncle standing on his toes in front of another stage, craning his neck to see the wedding on the stage and he thought it was mine, until he saw me standing next to him with the garland still around my neck. He wanted to know, was there any mix up with the bride. I told him, I have not bothered to check.
The honey moon starts with guided visits to houses of elderly relatives, in the form of uncles, aunts, cousins and seeking their blessings. Visits, food and sweet nothings with the elders on both sides takes time and lasts until the previous day of return to our jobs.
Those days flying was rare and happens with gifted ticket, since we did not belong to the Air Travel class.There we were at the Cochin airport (@naval base), with only Indian Airlines flight to Bangalore. While waiting for the check in, comes an announcement, due to technical reasons flight no. Blah blah, from Cochin to Bangalore is cancelled, did they say sorry for the inconvenience (I do not recall).
Those days, going to airport was no less exciting than a visit to a wonder spot, lots of them to see us off. We were no less than a celebrity, the ones who can fly. Like these days even those days, we had people who were secretly happy to see a fall of the celebrity. We had a few with us that day.
There were suggestions to postpone the travel. Nothing doing, we have to go today and join duty tomorrow. We were highly motivated people with a fancy notion that we were running the offices on our shoulders.
There is a train to Bangalore in two hours time, gets to the station, two tickets and gets into a general compartment, manages enough space to rest our butts.
After a great honeymoon travel, we are back on our jobs. A few days after, a colleague comes to my seat and says, Unlike the past, I noticed, your telephone ( landlines days) conversation duration has considerably reduced, these days it is very short, what happened, some fight. I said, we got married !!!