The Man from Madras Musings, as his regular readers know by now, is a ­reluctant guest at marriages. But there are weddings of close ones that MMM sits back and enjoys and he has just returned from one such. Everything went like clockwork, the hospitality was princely, and as for the browsing and sluicing, it was as mother made it. Above all, the priest was not given a mike to intone chants into and advise the audience on how to behave. That itself made this an event to remember. More memorable was a booklet on Hindu weddings that the ­caterer circulated. Hardly ­anyone bothered to read it, but not so MMM. He made a careful perusal of the work during the ceremony and those around him were not a little ­astonished at the periodic ­guffaws of laughter that he let out.

The slim volume, titled South Indian Wedding, The Rituals and The Rationale, ­assumed that Tambrahm ­weddings were the only ones in South India (the rest of them presumably live in sin?), for it focussed solely on that variety. Halfway through, the author must have realised that he had left the others out and so he included a justification that “mostly this is applicable to any other Hindu section.”

The book claiming to unravel the Vedic significance of weddings, started out by saying that the bridegroom needs to be brought to the marriage venue in a decorated car. Of course, our sages being such farsighted men would have no doubt stipulated a car, though MMM wonders at their not specifying a brand and model as well.

MMM realises that the Chief has rather strong views on how a book review has to be written. The critic ought not to impose his views, is the Chief’s motto and what is good for the Chief is good for MMM. And so MMM will now restrict himself to direct quotes from this learned text. But where he cannot resist himself, MMM has included a few comments in parentheses.

– What a “Ritual” is?

– This ritual invokes the blessings of the eight-direction-quartered guardian angels (Rather spread out aren’t they? Must be Yoga)

– Holding the bride’s left foot toe (She must be a strange creature to have toes elsewhere)

– The bride then is given an auspicious ablution (Ye Gods!)

– The bride and the groom are lifted to the shoulders of their respective uncles and in that position the two – bride and groom – garland each other.

– Then the marrying couple is seated on a swing where they rock forth and back (Rather erotic that, but nothing compared to what comes next)

– I shall be the Upper World, you the Earth, together we shall beget children (Frank and forthright as you can see. No birds, bees, etc).

– The Mantra says – “Let thy mind be roc firm.”

MMM was very thankful for the book. It helped him pass the time between wedding breakfast and lunch. And, it also helped him avoid countless relatives whose names he did not remember.

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