Whose wedding is it anyway?

The Punjabification of TamBrahm weddings Sangeets and lehengas in the land of Sambhar
news Weddings Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 17:21

When a group of 60-somethings pick gold-rimmed sherwanis over veshtis, when the banana leaf is replaced by an edible naan bowl and when Karan Johar’s latest is chosen over a MS Subbulakshmi classic – do you laugh at the changing face of a the TamBrahm wedding or cry over spilt payasam? 

Correct that. Phirni, not Payasam. (And it wasn’t even an inter-community wedding)


Lo and Behold, maamas and maamis. The Punjabification of the TamBrahm wedding is now nearly complete. Gone are the days when scent of authentic south Indian cuisine and rose water rented the air at these wedding. Along with the success of Dilwale, and the need for the Brahmin community to act cool, feel fancy and pretend to be progressive, came the Paneer Butter Masala in the pandhi (the meal seating), relegating the Sambhar to a kiosk in the corner meant only for the old people.

We could give the Nichayatartham a miss, but there is nothing as uncool as not having a Mehendi. If we are a bit classy, we will have some whiskey along with it too.


Bearing witness to the Mehendi are lehengas dominating over silk sarees - or a silk saree refashioned into one. A resigned 70-year-old looks on, wondering what an edamame bajji fried in olive oil is. A small, no frills pre wedding function is now a mammoth socialising event. 

Whether the bride trade coconuts playfully at Nalangu or not, there has to be the well-rehearsed ‘surprise’ Sangeet. Worse, Sangeets are now Sangeethams. Bright pink, purple and blue lights with smoke and fireworks that almost match the glitter on a dancing classmate’s garish lipstick.

Picture Courtesy: Wedding Sutra

After half-an-hour of choreographed dancing to the latest Bollywood hits and one Tamil song for old times’ sake, viewers are equally exhausted. There are thank-yous going around for cooperation after 10 days of rehearsals (Skype to the rescue if the participants are spread across the globe).

Where is the simplicity, asks an angry old man, who is promptly lured to the stage with the promise of filter coffee at the end of a dance session to Honey Singh’s latest.

Wedding days are a horrific intermingling of panchagachams and jodhpuris. But is that a 9 yards I spy? A traditional madisaar? Are those banana leaves with rice on them? Was the last 7 days of cocktail parties and mehendis and deconstructed curd rice just a heady, psychedelic show of throwing money around? Oh heavens. The muhurthanaal brings the wedding back to its natural form. Order has been restored. 

Wait. The reception invite came with a box of dry fruits and a poster of a bride in a palanquin. What's a South Indian wedding anymore? What lies ahead, Idiyappam with a mirch ka salan?