November 06, 2006

Naamam and Pattai

The previous generation in my family had not seen any "intra caste" marriage( I have one Bengali and one Irish maami and a Punjabi Sikh kaaka( chittapa)) My Tamil friends have married Manipuris and Malayalees and Konkanis. So it was retro when I announced that I had found an Iyengar. Not that I went looking for one but he just happened to be that.
All said, " Hey 2 Tam brahms- no adjustment problems."

I guess they were right and they were wrong. Yes we are both veggies and Hindus. So it is not so complicated.

But there are differences which surface largely during functions:
The date on which the function falls differs. That is nice though- get to celebrate twice.

Who bears the expense of certain functions- the groom's side or the bride's? ( Anyway post marriage, we( Navy and I) bear it if permitted.)

My MIL does not know how to drape the Iyengar nine yard. My mother knows only the Iyer way . And I can barely tie a six yard myself. So, go figure.

I am in the habit of applying vibuthi daily and Navy has begun to follow the same. But when relatives are around, I am anxious they should not see me as a covert converter.

Touching elders' feet. First and foremost it should be left to the individual to decide how he wishes ( if he desires) to show his respect. The Iyengar way of doing namskaram is 3-4 times and is a true exercise in flexibility. Also which side of your husband you stand matters. I did not know this.

Then there is the matter of which God to worship. While all seems cool on the surface & Vinyaka is often invoked , a recent gifting spree made me realize that the poor Lord Ganesha did not have as many takers as Krishna and Lakshmis did. Navy had vehemently maintained till then that Ganesha ( his favorite deity) had universal acceptance and appeal.

The kind of thaali/ mangal sutra we wear ( if we do) is different. But that does not really matter too much.

The terms of reference in cooking are very unique. I wonder if it is still Tamil when rasam becomes saathumadhu and oravoothardu becomes amudhukuthardu

The order of serving also varies. Iyengars serve the rice first and then the side dishes - so one does not know what is coming.

Had Anushka been Arnav it may have been necessary to decide which of the two sects he belonged to ( poonal and all that)

But anyway with all these little differences, as I tell my indulgent MIL, they could not have got a better girl ( Iyer or Iyengar) than me for their son : - )

21 comments:

geetha said...

All that differences make mariages real fun, huh! :P

Your MIL couldn't have got a better DIL ;)

Noodlehead said...

Mom had a bit of an anti-climax when she found that the guy i wanted to marry was from the same community....she was dead sure this wouldn't happen!

Mercifully, we don't have such problems since N and his parents don't really bother with customs and all that jazz! They're actually grateful for the little gyaan that i do have on customs and the like :))

BTW, linked your blog to mine - hope that's alright!

artnavy said...

I am flattered Noodlehead

you are right geetha on both counts- haha

theanalogkid said...

"drape the Iyengar nine yard"

hahahha.. that sounds sooooo brit.

Neers said...

oops tell me all about it! about to marry a malayalee!! :p

Cloudy Musings said...

oo...my dad is also mentioned...lol

Ganesha is my favourite deity too!!

Actually, i had planned that "arnav" name u know...and even "anushka" was in my mind...never knew that even u would choose the same names...SERIOUSLY!! :-)

& I...hmmmmm...agree that u r the best DIL...lol

Apun Ka Desh said...

Interesting Stuff :)

Has to be me said...

Ya I found the names (fr rasam etc) iyengars used damn funny! I knew of another iyer lady who married an iyergar. As her name had "Shiva" in it, initially her inlaws were subtely suggesting her to change it to "Vishnu"!

Sush said...

I got to know the difference between Iyers and Iyengars for the first time.. and it is interesting to know the difference in the same community.. It is soo true for an outsider, it is an easy adjustment but the one who goes through it knows a little better.

Anonymous said...

Unity in diversity. India Shining :D

farah said...

and here I thought a Tam-Bram was a Tam Bram was a Tam Bram....

Anonymous said...

Nice analysis :) Never knew that rasam had such names :)

Twisted DNA said...

Most customs are quite funny. Nobody understands why we follow them but we follow them anyway :)

Preethika said...

Hi!!
Jus dropped by here thro' ur comment on my blog.... this provides a good insight into the difference which we presume "will-not be there" since we're so similar... yet so different.

good writing ma'am.... will keep coming back...

artnavy said...

Thanks all

And yes some customs we follow blindly. Maybe bloggers can help identify the thought/ rationale behind them.

But to repeat a cliche variety is the spice of life

Ardra said...

Can understand u’r confusion- I’m a mallu housewife living in trichy with both the sects for neighbours- and best part is we get savories and other prasadams on 2 days for the same festival. :- )

Kalpana said...

Do we ever know why we follow some traditions blindly?

Alan said...

Very interesting post. It did require a lot of Googling on my part, but was a learning experience.

artnavy said...

Alan- thanks for making the effort
"What lies beneath" would be easier reading for you

The Inquisitive Akka said...

I am an Iyengar married to a true blue Iyengar and I still don't understand most things :) I find it easier to say rasam and thani instead of saathamadu and thirtham but somehow when it comes to the veggies I can't say anything except karamadu :)
Nice post!

Varsha said...

Nice one...even I have chose a GSB for myself...but I am a Maharashtrian, he's a Konkani...and there is so much difference in our rituals and all that that I refuse to believe I am not amrrying outside my caste