Human interest
The wedding at Jayalalithaa memorial in Chennai was attended by 200 guests, including AIADMK leaders Gokula Indira and Tamil Magan Hussain.

Much to the surprise of visitors at former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s memorial in Chennai on Wednesday, an AIADMK member conducted his son's wedding with over 200 guests at the venue. The thaali tying ceremony was held at the memorial to symbolise the former Chief Minister's presence at the wedding.

55-year-old Bhavani Shankar, an AIADMK member and functionary of the North Chennai MGR Mandram had approached Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam for permission to conduct the ceremony and his request was initially denied. He says it was only on Tuesday that he got the final go-ahead to conduct the wedding at the memorial. But Bhavani Shankar had already printed invitations with the memorial as the wedding venue.

"I have been a member of the AIADMK from when I was 18 years old," says Bhavani Shankar to TNM. "Ideally I would have wanted Amma to be at the wedding and hand over the thaali to my son herself. But after her death, this seemed like the only alternative. I felt like Amma herself had blessed the wedding," he adds.

His son Satish and daughter-in-law Deepika too, says Bhavani Shankar, were open to the prospect of getting married at the memorial. In attendance at the wedding were AIADMK leaders Gokula Indira and Tamil Magan Hussain.

"Amma's former PA Poogundran was the one who gave the thaali to the groom, " says Bhavani Shankar proudly. He says his guests all stood during the ceremony as they couldn't make seating arrangements within the venue.

The resident of Kilpauk in Chennai says this has been the happiest day of his life.

"I invited only 200 people but at least 300 more people from the public came too, to see what we were doing," he says.