Iyer weds Iyer

Unlike the ceremonies of our northern counterparts
Iyer weddings are subject to much ritualistic rigour
With an assortment of activities well past their sell by date
That are painful to perform and difficult to figure

If the number of sarees that the bride must change
May be reduced by even a factor of one
The absurd morning madness of the maniacal muhurtam
May actually turn out to be a little more fun

The bickering of the boy and his transparent veshti
Is usually marquee event in every Iyer wedding
And so is the scheduling of the event in a summer
Of incessant heat in a claustrohobic hall exacerbated by load shedding

The guy with the generator therefore becomes,
The single most important piece in the jigsaw
It is he who must maintain peace in combustible times
When tempers begin to fray and patience begins to thaw

The idli must resemble in colour and softness
The effervescent and beautiful jasmine flower
The sambhar must straddle the right proportion of salt
Mistakes here often have the chief cook running for cover

Old uncles, cynical, having travelled all the way,
From Tambaram and Taramani, on their Chetaks supreme
Revel in the opportunity to make sly comments
And let go no opportunity to let off some steam

The priests with their cellphones and sidekicks galore,
Chant and call out, in supreme command
As the hapless bride’s family obediently does their bidding
And cedes to their every request and demand

Including sudden calls for kumkum, and demands for a davra
That has the youngsters scurrying, and the parents harrowed
What isn’t here must be arranged for, excavated or bought
Or stolen or conjured or simply borrowed

The concerned parties, those to be bethrothed
Sit quietly, the couldn’t possibly care a damn
As far as they’re concerned, the fun begins tonight
Anything that precedes is just a complete sham

Freeloaders aplenty, cousins, friends, all clueless
Scan the montage with keenness for available eye candy
As the moment nears and the crowd begins to swell
And the troop presence begins to rival a Normandy

Some colored rice does the rounds, they flex their muscles,
Soon it will be time to chuck it somewhere into space
Attemping to land it on the bride and the groom,
But more often than not indundating some unsuspecting bystanders face

And the fat lady croons, and the band starts to play
Someone somewhere is tying the proverbial knot
Grandmothers are being stamped, Bride’s fathers are weeping
And camera persons are clamouring to get a clear shot

Then follows the long queue, as the veshtis fall into line
And pull out their envelopes from the pockets, and run
To bestow upon the couple blessings and a princely sum
Of a carefully selected crisp hundred rupee note, plus one

And then the mad dash, for the food, unfolds,
Flo-Jo and Ben Johnson would have been proud
Pushing, shoving, clamouring, sly signals, hand gestures,
Wives calling out to their meandering husbands aloud

The payasam disappears, the vadas quickly vanish,
Extra appalaams crunched mercilessly, save the occasional burp
The sambhar sucked in, and the rasam regurgigated,
Trailing curd licked off the arm with a loud patented slurp

Exit stage left, a job well done,
A thousand buttressing the quientessential Iyer wedding perception
Chapter one ends here, we meet again in the evening,
To read about the vagaries of the wedding reception

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One Response to “Iyer weds Iyer”

  1. eben April 7, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    just for this poem, priya you’d want to marry like in a weeks time…

    super read………….

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