And borders blur

So how do you tell which is the groom’s side and which is the bride’s when you attend a wedding where Tamil Nadu marries UP and north meets south?

By checking out the ladies – heavy kanjeevarams and three neckpieces on one side while chiffons with gota patti and chikankari with kundan jewellery balanced out the other. I don’t need to tell you which one belonged where. It was fun though, watching them look down their noses at each other – all the more pronounced at weddings of this sort!

Me? I wore a simpleΒ peacock blue kanjeevaram with a mirror work choli. HahΒ  – let them wonder which side I belonged to!

Reminded of it by MiM’s post where she’s just reeling. So am I. I don’t believe we share a country with such dolts.

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50 thoughts on “And borders blur

  1. i enjoy reading your posts…but was a bit lazy to comment on the previous reads. This small and peppy post couldn’t stop me from appreciating your writings all the more.

    And of all, liked that peacock blue kanjeevaram with a mirror work choli combination, the most…

  2. Oooh.. egggzactly. My cousin got married to a UP waali last month, and this was exactly the situation between the 2 (not-yet-warring) factions. Except the poor bride’s mom ended up wearing kanjeevarams too.. most likely to appease the sammandhi. πŸ™‚ You have good observation.

  3. I am always mistook as Maharashtrian – No not for my looks or anything.. I hear that Maheshwari which follows Uma is a common name there at Maharashtra… I dunno if this is true…. But when in Gujarat people mistook me like that

  4. oh seems like my own πŸ™‚ a telegu family on one side and a punjabi on the other πŸ˜‰

  5. I get freaked out when people comment ‘oh! You don’t look at all like a tamilian’. Excuse me, is there some particular way how a tamilian should look?

  6. I am a Maharashtrian married to a Banglorean. We all interact with people all over the world/country on a daily basis. But weddings are such an eyeopener in themselves -a crash course in how complex and diverse the traditions of this country are.
    I wore a Maharstrian ‘nath’ , while he wore a telegu-ish fetha to ‘represent’our respective roots.We had 3 ceremonies – Arya Samaj(groom and bride wanted it,to know what each ritual meant), Maharashtrian (Mommy’s dream), Andhra-ite ceremony (MIL’s dream). Mangalsutra do baar during one mahurat,Saree change do baar, everything bleddy thing do ya teen baar in a span of 5 hours!AAAAARRRGH!

    Guests had fun-commented how interesting it was to see such a conglomeration, relatives amused at the ‘other sides’ ceremonies ,groom wondering why the bleddy hell is the saali after his fricking shoes,one side wondered why the other side wore soooooo much of jewelry, the other side fainted at the sight of my plump aunties dancing away in gay abandon at the Sangeet.Literally-the mandap of babel!

    Its fun or funny, depending on ones perspective πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

  7. not an entirely indian problem, though. most of california thinks that the mid-west is a long stretch of corn fields πŸ™‚

  8. Peacock blue Kanjeevaram !! sounds nice…but how did you manage that in the Delhi heat!!!!

    Me: ah – all delhi summer weddings are indoors and AC!

  9. The post you linked to reminds me of a similar WTF statement a classmate made when he saw my surname : β€œOhh, you’re a Maharashtrian, I thought you were a Christian!”

    I’m yet to hear something absurder, was unaware that one can *look* Christian & that Maharashtrians & Christians are mutually exclusive groups.
    Such dolts, really.

  10. Wow that reminds me of my Wedding/Reception. I am a Tamilian and my hubby is from UP.

    Our Wedding was 90% TamBram wedding with 10% UP rituals incorporated, but the Reception was the clash of Kanjeevarams with Chiffons.

    It is a fun combo I say πŸ™‚ I meant your Kanjeevaram with mirror choli.

  11. πŸ˜€

    my MIL went into complete shock that i would wear a “silk” saree (considering thats all i own from my wedding stuff!) for a wedding in Lucknow. there were frantic phonecalls every other day telling me she had pulled out so and so saree for me… the gerorgette and chiffon variety and i should get this colour petticot and that colour blouse! :p

    i was veryy amused by how worried she was of her naak and izzat! πŸ˜‰

    cheers!

    Me: LOL! thats inlaws for you πŸ™‚ UP has a very strict code of summer and winter wear. In summer its heavy kotas and french chiffon. in winter its silk. to say you dont posess either of the two, is sacrilege πŸ˜‰

  12. Arrey, MGM nahin, MiM:-)

    Though I did write a similiar post based on her experience.

    And good on you, sartorially messing with their shtoopid heads:-)

    Me: Oops – galti se mistook ho gaya! See how much I’m thinking of you ?!

  13. great to find so many mixed marriages. Me, am a maharashtrian married to a mallu. At my b-i-l’s wedding i took a nice paithani and was promptly handed a kasavu mundu by my m-i-l. Of course they all changed into kanjeevarams after the ceremony when i got to flaunt my paithani.

    Was just thinking the other day. My daughter a half-mallu, half-marathi gets married to a guy who is half-bengali,half-punjabi. What would their kid be?
    I think the government should very seriously encourage such marriages…there will be no more region-based distinctions then.

  14. whoa! MM, you linked to me…

    at first, i didnt realise why everyone was clicking on this old post –

    first 50 then 100 and now 300!

    my blogvisitors were a trusted small circle — i like to think, we know all about each other — they told me how often they changed their bedsheets and such like, while I told them (the incident of the day) about how i had forgotten to add curry leaves in the rasam and such-like.

    and now so many clicks? who are all these new people?

    It is it unnerving being the mad momma.

    Me: It is beyond unnerving because most of them refuse to comment, or delurk on request but read me diligently despite hating every word i write and then come up with one random line written 2 years ago that freaks me out – such dedication. and my blog used to be like yours. a small trusted place for friends. now i dont know who changed the sheets or used curry leaves 😦

  15. I need to tell my own tale of woe.
    Born to a punjabi father and a half kashmiri, half himachali mum, am quintessentially of north indian stock.
    The biharis and UP wallahs ( who my dad’s side calls bhaiyas btw hehe), in my life have given me plenty of grief about my punjabi accented Hindi. Yeah right, as if they hold the sodding claim to Hindi despite saying stuff like- ” 6 baj raha hai”, bheed ( crowd) ho gaya hai”- hellowww!! ”6 baj rahe hain, bheed ho gayi hai!”
    Anyway, bad enough that I never belonged anywhere in India (except all embracing Delhi, which is my way of saying primarily punjabi Delhi), my life in Germany gets even curiouser!!
    Iranian taxi drivers speak to me in Farsi, Turkish shop-keepers have had many a go in Turkish ( incidentally lots of words in common between Hindi and Turkish) and during the pope’s visit to Ciologne a couple of years back, I got offered two bibles by two separate missionaries, both said to me in German ‘ it will be easier if we gave you a copy in your language’. I have two copies of the Bible- One in Spanish, One in Portuguese.

    at home/ foreign- kee farak painda hai!

    But I want to see photos of the blue kanjeevaram and the mirror work choli because when it comes to fashion- baybee thats where i am at home!

    Me: πŸ™‚ true. its hard to pinpoint your ethnic background. you blend in easily anywhere. that said i am anyway terrible at this sorta thing and everyone just looks like a person to me. and you know – i was thinking of you when i getting dressed that day – figured you’d appreciate it.

  16. oh and i should mention i married a quintessentially brown gora. my hubby of the all punju stock but all german culture.
    when we have kids, they’ll be quite the cocktail, if not genetically then culturally at least!

  17. i think i wore chiffon or errrr georgette! i dont even what this stuff is! sigh!

    she planned to gimme some of her sarees. but she changed her mind when i managed to ger HER shaadi ki saree ripped at the reception! now i am back to having just silk! :p

    http://amateurabe.blogspot.com/2009/05/reception-and-jazz.html

    you can see it here and teme what it was! RIP ripped saree! πŸ˜‰

    and we are like unwated extra readers?! i will tell ya how often i change bedsheets! πŸ˜‰

    cheers!

    Me: not you baba – the other 3500 who wont delurk and will only come out of the woodwork to bitch abt something

  18. i love you for thinking of me and yes i’d totally appreciate it! not much am good at, but putting an outfit together, i can do that in my sleep. now that you’ve said everyone just looks like a person to you, please afford me special status and see me as ‘ fashion- person’ as opposed to you know any person!

    Me: oh yes – that i do. why do you think I get called judgmental?! i judge on what i see you doing. so if you look hot (which you do) then you’re fashion person. otherwise you are awfully amma in kurti and jeans with bindi. or terribly tarty in top that falls off at PTA meeting etc. i get enough flak for that. πŸ˜€

  19. I wish I lived in India and had child who went to you know kindergarten/playschool/ primary school that was frequented by ammas and tarts alike.
    MM, am falling off my chair here laughing. you’re the coolest!
    I have been so busy reading your blog and ignoring the annoucements i have very nearly missed my flight back home!! you were so totally paying for my flight if i had to rebook. stop writing interesting and funny stuff okay. FOR once write something awfully dull!!

  20. I am going to have a Kerala – UP wedding and its really scary!

    I want a typical Kerala wedding and UP ceremonies + reception later.. lets see what works out.

    Me: ooh how exciting. lots of ceremonies is always fun. I just picked up the typical white and gold cotton and am waiting for a chance to wear it. is there a particular name for it?

  21. The wedding sounds like it was fun! But I have to say, I love the sound of your attire! I just know you totally rocked the look!

    Me: Oh I love mixing stuff up…

    As for the North and South divide, I remember my best friend in JNU, a Mallu, getting so cheesed off at being referred to as a ‘Madrasi.’ She once asked someone, “How would you like it if I refer to all North Indians as Biharis?”

  22. i am a maharashtrian from mumbai. i lived in bangalore for a while, where neighbours were shocked that we ate rice, since they thought north indians only ate rotis. πŸ™‚

    i was shocked to be considered north indian!!

  23. #17:
    ” think the government should very seriously encourage such marriages”

    The govt. already does. There are seperate reservations for children belonging to intercaste marriages. A friend of mine got into medicine using this quota. (but it could be only a TN thing, Im not sure).

    Me: WHAT???????????? I am moving to chennai then
    *hurries off to pack her bags*

  24. Its the other way round in South India. Couple of years back when I was living in Delhi I was visiting B’lore for a cousins’s wedding. I had worn a beautiful chiffon saree with gorgeous embroidery and stone work. My aunts were advising me ‘these sarees are fine for receptions, but for weddings you should wear a Kanjeevaram saree’ πŸ™‚

  25. I am a southie married to a Oriya…Wedding was in Orissa. I went to a beauty parlor there to get ready for the pre-wedding ceremony and the lady told me she will make me wear the saree Oriya-style. I was excited until I went to the temple. My MIL was shocked to see me. Apparently I had worn it Bengali-style and my side of the family was in splits when she pointed to my mom and said everyone here wears their saree like that (regular style). Needless to say, I was mortified!

    And about the north-south divide, I have had people talk to me after seeing my surname -thinking I am a North Indian. When they get to know I am a south Indian the comments I have always got are: a. But your Hindi is so good (CBSE, baby) and b. But you are so fair (huh? blink blink). And there have been some people who swear they only prefer to talk to people from my state – they apparently cant stand North Indians (anyone who comes from any state north of where they are from). There I make my point of being married to an Oriya -northie according to them – never to see them again. Fair weather acquaintances I tell ya!

  26. I had a mallu-MP combo wedding πŸ™‚ But the thing was, that half my relatives have also married to every part of India πŸ™‚ so we had all kinds of sarees πŸ™‚ I actually realised how uncommon it was to find kanjeevarams( or any silk for that matter) in Bhopal when I went shopping for them for my BIL’s wedding πŸ™‚ It was in the winters – but apparently chiffons were still the rage – people looked funny at me when I said I wanted a simple kanjeevaram πŸ™‚

    Your peacock blue Kanjeevaram sounds wonderful!

  27. oh my god! my mother is the exact UP snob you describe – looks down on people wearing silks in the summer and chiffons in the winter. Every season change means a week of wadrobe change – summer, cottons will be starched, chiffons will be taken out and winters – silks will be lovingly unwrapped out of mulmul (?) cloth.

    Me: Im a snob where my own wardrobe is concerned. I dont wear silk in summer, only wore it because I knew it was a part Tam wedding. In summer there is SUCH A VARIETY of stuff to wear that its an insult to wear anything else. Kotas, chikankari, gota patti, such a rich heritage. And yes, my cottons are starched till they crackle, and silks wrapped very lovingly (I spend half the year unfolding and refolding so that they dont get spoilt on the folds!)..and i wear strictly according to season. Give your mom my regards and tell her there is someone in the next gen carrying on the tradition

  28. You’d be surprised to know what other reservations exist.

    My dad’s friend had translated some computer text books from English to Tamil and apparently there is a quota for that (‘contribution to the field of computers in tamil’). And their son got into a very good engineering school for that.

    I’d totally recommend you moving to Chennai. I can take some plant-rearing tips in person πŸ™‚

  29. I have never been to a North Indian wedding … hmm … now that I know what to wear … I’d better start my chiffon saree collection … in case I am invited to one πŸ™‚

  30. MM
    I had to comment on this one:

    Every time her team got a new team member who was a south Indian, my roommate who was from Maharashtra will come and tell me β€œtumhare CASTE ke ek bande ne team join kiya hain”.
    She thought every one from South india was from the same caste …
    I don’t believe in castes, but Indian politics does and how can anyone be so unaware of the difference between State, Religion, Language and Caste.
    And I thought one had to pass your 10 grade in all subjects (social studies included) before you went on to become an engineer
    She was a sweet girl – after many instances of the above incident – I told her south has four states, they all speak different languages, many major religions and 100’s of castes.
    And arranged marriages happen between the person of the same state, same religion, same caste and sometimes same sub caste too …

  31. The children of intercaste marriage reservation in TN is only applicable if one of the parents is SC/ST.

    Regards,

    PM

    Me: πŸ™‚ You still reading me?! Thank you for that bit of info. I guess I’ll just unpack then!

  32. Lucky you, you atleast get to attend weddings and judge people. here in US we dont even hav the pleasure of doing that and of wearing saaris. based on one of your comments upar, I think People are calling me the “thin, undernourished girl from a developing country with no sense of dressing and very well dressed husband and child” 😦
    Whatever, atleast I am a mom of a well dressed child. πŸ™‚
    Although I dont delurk too often, I am one of those who reads your blog regularly.

  33. MM!!!!!!!!! Exams over πŸ˜€ *does a tribal dance* I’ll go read your archives now. Dont think I missed too many posts though.

  34. I’m a Bong married to a guy who is half-Punju and half-Himachali. We had lots of fun at our wedding. We had a pre-wedding ceremony which was an aashirwad (Bong ceremony for ‘Meet the couple’), engagement & sangeet.

    Our wedding was again a mix of Bong & Punj/ Himachali customs πŸ™‚

    PS: I change my bed sheets every Sunday & wash the curtains once in three months. You didn’t ask about the last part but what the heck πŸ˜›

  35. Hey, in response to your comments above on folk who diligently read your blog every single day, but dont delurk… Well, I dont hate your blog.. nor do I come out once in two years to bitch about your opinions!.. But I just wanted to speak for the several hundreds who, like me, love your posts.. read you.. ruminate on your words.. and then go about our mundane lives πŸ™‚

    Dont be mad at us! :D.. We’re just too lazy, maybe? Or perhaps, your posts just leave us musing.. give us food for thought… and words arent really necessary (we thinks) to show you that we love your blog. The fact that we have it on the list of favs on our browsers speaks for our appreciation!

  36. Also, the Kerala white and gold saree? Its called a Mundum Neriyathum.. or a set-saree. I am what they call a pseudo Mallu.. But I think I’m right on this one!

  37. Aey! loved this post.

    Any chance of pictures of the beautiful saree with mirror choli…I so so want to look at it.

  38. Hey MM, that must have been a beautiful sight, you in blue kanjeevaram and mirror blouse! Please show a picture, it will give me ideas on some of the sarees i have.

  39. Can I kill the PM??? I mean it…And You know that. Don’t you???? πŸ™‚ There are other quotas too… Karuna will bring in more quotas by the time Brat and Bean makes it to college.

    Why don’t you pack your bags now?

  40. This is not entirely related to your post..but a few years back, for my cousin’s wedding in Calcutta, I wore a Kebaya. It’s a very beautiful traditional outfit worn by Malaysian women- body-hugging long skirt and blouse. Quite a sexy outfit it is. So anyways, I was all ‘i’ll be wearing something different than the rest of the bengali crowd’ (because almost everyone is going to turn up in sarees and salwar kameez) and pretty psyched about it too.. AND at the risk of sounding totally arrogant (gulp!), I was actually looking forward to being showered by compliments from cousins and aunts and more aunts. So we are at the function and one of my cousins comes up to me and he says,

    Him- I would like an isle seat please. Thank you!
    Me- Huh? What was that about?
    Him- Why, you are dressed as one of the Singapore Airlines stewardess, no?
    Me- *eyes wide open in shock* (while my bloody cousin chuckles away)

    SO did *not* see that coming!
    Serves me right for being soooo presumptuous! Pffft.

    Me: oooh! I’d totally love to do the same. i’m sure you rocked it πŸ™‚ Oh – now my next want is a mekhla chadar – but a nice dressy one for weddings. Dont think I’m slim enough to carry off a kebaya

  41. πŸ™‚

    Oooh nice!! Yes the dressy ones are gorgeous! I chanced upon some when I went shopping in Calcutta.

    Next on my list is Cheongsam. Though it’s not very appropriate for an indian wedding, but maybe for reception or cocktail parties…what say? πŸ˜‰ I must admit that I have to do shed a few kilos in order to fit in one now.

  42. I’m from UP, brought up in Maharashtra and married to a Bengali. His parents did not have any issues with our marriage, but my family and extended-family had major issues, so much so that they refused to be part of the wedding. Parents relented after a while, but did not know how to go about the whole thing on their own since we were so far from our own family. We were very close to this one Maharashtrian family and their whole family stepped in and decided to shoulder the responsibility of the wedding. So, I had a Maharashtrian wedding. Our Panditji was a cool guy, after every major ritual he would turn to both set of parents and inquire if there was some ritual they wanted to do of their own or wanted to do anything differently. So, I got a mangalsutra from my Maharashtrian family, toe-rings from my mother and the iron bangle from my M-I-L, and I was asked to choose whichever sign I wanted to stick to. My parents were almost like honoured guests in my wedding and were not required to do anything πŸ™‚ It was this big happy family wedding, where all three family got to do what they wanted. If you looked at the wedding album, you’d just see a lot of people having fun and it is difficult to make out who is family and who are friends.

    As a result, I think the best wedding I’ve attended and where I’ve had fun, was mine πŸ™‚

  43. Not sure if I count as a lurker since I do comment occasionally but only when sufficiently motivated :).
    This post reminded me of how I was often asked my religion, background, even caste growing up and how much I hated it. My gene pool is parts of Kannada, UP, Caucasian and now married to a non-UP, North Indian. Our wedding could have been the script for a comedy on the lines of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. I’ve also been identified as being Mexican, Italian, Portuguese and from various Middle Eastern countries. Love to leave people guessing πŸ™‚

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