In the last two years I have attended a couple of weddings of Tam-Brahm girls marrying Malayalee boys. Educated girls from middle class families earning good salaries in a software company or a BPO; fall in love with their bosses or colleagues, and have the courage to tell their parents that they have chosen their spouses.
Since they are unable to get spouses for their professionally successful young girls with high expectations and scores of conditions, the parents are left with no choice but to accept the decision of their daughters. They are more than happy to go through the rituals of a typical Tam Brahm wedding. Two days of hectic activity instead of the short and minimal rituals of the Malayalee Wedding.
In two of the weddings I attended, right at the start of the wedding rituals, the boys, one a Nair and the other a Menon, were converted as Brahmins by the priest who made them wear the sacred thread after administering some mandatory mantras .
The boys had to wear the dhoti in the traditional style (panchakacham) for the muhurtham ceremony and go through all the difficult and not so difficult rituals administered by the priests. All for the sake of their lady love!
I noticed that the parents and other relatives of the boys were having a good time enjoying the special hospitality being extended to them by the brides` party.
Notwithstanding the caste based honour killings of girls in villages, Inter caste and inter cultural marriages have become acceptable in the higher echelons of our society. What is even more interesting is the marriage between boys and girls who go to USA for studies. Many of them fall in love with American boys or girls. When they decide to get married they find themselves thrice blessed! Apart from the mandatory registered marriage, they have a church wedding to satisfy their American spouse’s family and then come to India to have another traditional Hindu wedding!
The physical troubles that such boys and girls have to face in following the rituals are to be seen to be believed. I witnessed the wedding of a Tam Brahm boy to a rather plump American girl. She was made to wear the 9 yards saree in the traditional Madisar style. She had to sit at the ceremony with legs folded and go through the rituals of getting up and sitting down and prostrating several times! One could see that the girl was in pain but she kept up a smiling face giving the impression that she was enjoying it all!
Her mother attired in a beautiful six yards saree with a big red pottu (Sindhoor) on her forehead and the father in a dhothi & kurtha with a red naamam on his forehead, were sitting in the front row watching the proceedings. The mother, who was sitting next to me, was almost in tears watching the ordeal that her daughter was being put through, all for the sake of her love!
In these days when parents are finding it extremely difficult to find suitable spouses for their girls and boys, it is only prudent for the parents to accept their children’s’ choice of spouses and bless them whole heartedly.