Okie, the title for my post is a dedication to the Right Honorable Professor. Arul who taught me OB at SP. His classes were a welcome break from most of the usual management crap taught at B-school. Honestly speaking, in more than a few ways, his was the course that helped me discover new dimensions about myself :-) So what is the parallel between this and my weekend? I can hear the groans and almost predict that you must be saying "What could he have possibly learnt from Greece beating Portugal or Schumi winning yet another F1 race or even Federer slaying Roddick?" Good. For once I am not gonna ramble on about sports.
I had gone home this weekend to attend one of my closest and longest pal Satish's wedding at Mayavaram. For people whose favorite subject at school wasn't Geography, Mayavaram is also called Mayiladuthurai and is represented in the Lok Sabha by the verbose Mani Shankar Aiyar. It is situated 140 odd kilometres South East of Trichy, the world's greatest city. A rustic town whose only claim to fame are the wealthy Chettiars, the first thing that strikes one on arriving at Mayavaram is its heat. Man, is it hot! And I am in no way referring to the presence of people like me :-) (Pls spare me this liberty)
We (my parents and I) checked in at the exquisitely named Hotel Silambu at around 5 pm on Saturday evening. Since the reception was scheduled for around 7 pm, I quickly washed up, dressed down (after all I wasn't getting married) and switched on telly to watch Maria Sharapova (droooool) dismantle Serena effortlessly. And before I forget, let me thank Maria for her mention of me in her victory speech. Mmmwaaaah Maria dahlings. I digress. Okie, it was 7 pm when we finally left for the marriage hall. We were cordially invited, escorted to the dining hall (Rule no: 1 - whatever time you go to a South Indian wedding, there's always some yummy food to grab) where I gorged on some "light" snacks. The groom and the bride were soon escorted to the centre stage and showcased to the entire townsfolk. (Literally every damn person worth his salt in that town had turned up) 2 hrs and a music concert later, dinner was served. Needless to say, I indulged myself heavily. It was at around 10pm that we returned back to the hotel.
I hate waking up early on Sundays but this was probably one of those rare exceptions when I was the first to be up and ready. I had been told that there were a lot of "cute womenfolk" expected and I could "turn on the charm" if I so wished :-) A few hours later I was at the receiving end of one of the harshest reality checks on earth. "Cute" apparently is very relative and Mayavaram's opinions do not seem to match mine. Let’s just leave this at this. The wedding was as expected, a gala affair - heavy turnout of friends and relatives, a ceremony short on dramatics but high on traditions and most importantly, cooking was by Arusuvai Natarajan's group. (Tamil Nadu's greatest cook)
Which brings us to the learnings...I have always believed in simple weddings - maybe a short ceremony at the registration office and a small reception hosted for the really near-and-dear ones with a NO GIFTS rule strictly enforced. I have also maintained that "grand" in a wedding context always meant "ostentatious" and I was of the firm opinion that these functions are a damn waste of money. But after this wedding, I am not so sure. There seems to be an alternate school of thought that these weddings are a small industry by themselves. They provide livelihoods for the pundits who conduct the ceremonies, the hundreds of cooks whose only working days are at such functions, the hundreds of servants of the mandap who get good food only these 2 days, the pandal and flower decorators who earn money only during Muhurth days, the musicians who play only at weddings, the videographer who doesn't get to work on half the other days...I could go on but an entire group of people seem to flourish during weddings. So maybe the money spent doesn't go down the drain after all. It’s a thought worth considering? Is someone listening? Please.
I've ranted for too long. Will upload select photos of the wedding in a later post as soon as I have scanned them. Till then... Ciao.