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Weddings then, now and in Future...
by Anil D'Souza, Chennai

Jan 27, 2009


On my recent trip home in December, I had to attend so many functions especially weddings that I was fed up with them. I directly told my mom” Look Mummy, I will not get married. I don’t want to trouble all those poor souls who have come home for a holiday. People come home for a week or two for Christmas to be with their families and end up eating at fuctions almost everyday. I don’t want them to waste their precious day attending my wedding”. Mom just laughed at it. She knows me very well I suppose. She is also sure that one fine day, the same son will remind her about his wedding and probably a girlfriend too. Ironic isn’t it? 

As I was thinking about weddings (not mine, I am too young for such adventure), my mind wandered to olden days, olden in the sense about 15 years ago. The scenes of engagement, roce and wedding of my uncles were vivid in my memories. It was sheer fun .We were small kids then, running around the pendal playing hide and seek, fighting each other etc. Elders were busy doing arrangements, shouting at workers” Aye Koosa, Matav kedala zata”. “Dukor marla mu inaasaaman?”

Then my small mind came back to a recent wedding I attended. Everything was mechanical. As the guests entered the hall, they were being welcomed by the hosts with an artificial smile counting how many members have actually come, hoping the food ordered would be enough.

Times have changed. Mentality has changed; I can say it’s become worse. People are more concerned about themselves. What about our customs and traditions? They have changed too. When I asked my grandma about this, she explained her wedding to me and I am glad to say that though our lifestyle has changed, our traditions and customs are still intact with a little additions and deletions along the way. I ll take you through a wedding of the past, present and give a picture of the future too. Hope the details are correct and if I am wrong, please correct me.

Past:

Relatives (only two or max three, an elder of the community included) from the groom’s side would go to the potential bride’s house on the pretext of asking whether there is a cow or boat for sale. It was always the guy’s party taking the first step. Gradually they would stop beating around the bush and come closer to the bush. “Actually we need a girl for our son. Is there any girl around in your neighborhood?”. “Oh my God, Why neighborhood, we have a daughter who is just perfect for your son” prompt was the reply. I must say our elders were big time actors .When grandma was explaining this to us, my smart cousin questioned my granny “What if your daddy had said no?” If our elders were good actors, our younger generation is a smart lot, leaving people like me wondering what to do. 

Coming back to the rejection, according to my granny, the elders from the groom’s side would have done so much of background checks that they hardly entered the wrong house. In case they were wrong, there was always another house. Just like how our Romeos think “Ek gayi tho kya hua, aur ek mil jayegi”.90 out of 100 times, they would hit the bull’s eye. After this initial drama from the elders, after around 2 or 3 days, groom along with his uncles, aunties and sister would come to inspect the bride. Yes inspect. It seems they would be very happy if the girl is 16 years old. All you young girls consider yourselves lucky to have born in this period where guys are quite happy to marry girls older than themJ. Why I am telling this is at those times the guy’s age used to be anywhere between the age of 22 to 30. The day is not far when guys will have daughters who are 16 years old when they themselves turn 30!!!!.

After this inspection, the bride’s side would come for one final inspection to the groom’s side to check the status and capability of the family to look after their girl. According to my granny, the girl would be happy if it was a joint family, reason being, in those days sister in laws were considered a pain in the neck. The girl would hope that at least in a bigger family, there would be someone who would stand by her just in case. If the girl’s party is happy then next step would be dowry. We think there is no dowry in our community, but if we see the olden weddings there are instances where weddings had to be cancelled just for dowry. You would be shocked to know that the groom would take only cash as dowry. An amount anywhere between Rs1500 and Rs 2000 was considered huge. It’s heartening to know that dowry is completely abolished from our community, a fact which we all should be proud of

Now coming to the present weddings, almost all of them are love marriages. Youth of this generation never really want their elders to do all that drama and get insulted and kicked out of a stranger’s house. Cool.

The love will begin sometime in second year degree and go on till the wedding accompanied by numerous fights, most of the time through smses and phone calls. Parents from both sides will come to know about the affair from relatives, especially from the aunty whom the guy doesn’t like. And wonders of wonders she is the only one who sees him and his girlfriend coming out of Coffee day. Where are other relatives gone? And one more thing which eats my brain is why couples always want to go to Coffee day or Barista. Why don’t they try Kini maams hotel instead. It’s cheap. Seriously.

If it is an arranged marriage, then there is no change in the way the parties approach each other. Most of these approaching dramas happen during a mutual friend’s wedding and sometimes even at funerals.”Ah, your son must be 28 years now I guess; my sister-in law’s brother’s wife’s sister in law’s daughter is almost 24. Shall I ask them” Trust me; this matchmaking happens without our knowledge, behind our backs. Hectic discussions, planned meetings, my god. All this, without even asking whether the guy or the girl like each other. Similar to olden weddings in all respects, except the acting part which I mentioned earlier.

Now we are in a stage where both the past and the present stand on the same step. Only the wedding ceremony is awaited. Let’s look into that as well.

Earlier, Weddings used to take place for 2 days. The first day at the bride’s residence and the second day at the groom’s. I really didn’t have enough guts to ask my granny when the first night would happen.Anyways back to the topic; the bride’s dress was something called KIRGI BAAZU and a VEIL. In simple terms skirt, blouse and a veil. In complex terms  a saree worn below the waist without the ‘Pallu’ and ‘Baazu’ a long sleeved blouse, usually white. I tried to find pictures of Kirgi Baazu on the internet and never found actually, then I tried calling my sister’s friends who had worn KIRGI but all in vain. It would be very helpful if someone uploads pictures of this ‘gonna be extinct ‘attire. The groom wore KACCHA KUTAON (Similar to shervaani, but a bit short).No bouquets were exchanged and the best man never kissed the bride. Comparing present weddings to the earlier classical ones, there is no much change in customs and traditions, but what do I say about the dress! Girl wears a white gown, which sometimes fails to hide even those parts which the groom would be eagerly waiting to see. I am sorry if it hurts, but it seems to be true. Cannot blame girls alone, blame should be put squarely on guys as well who shamelessly look at these sexy girls with their eyes and mouth wide open. Thankfully in Mangalore we still can find well dressed girls. The groom wears a suit, a three piece most of the time showing off his Goti, I mean goatee or French beard. The   bestman always gets the first chance to kiss the bride and let me tell you, the idiot never lets the chance go waste.

The party would walk all the way to the church accompanied with a band. The bestman would shield the groom with a big umbrella (In Konkani it’s called Damaskaachi Satri, so I thought it could perhaps be an umbrella from Damascus. It would be very helpful if we get to know the exact meaning). After the church ceremonies, there would be a feast at the residence. Pork, bread and country made liquor ruling the menu. Nowadays the groom and the bride come to the church in imported cars and as they step out of the cars, there will be a thousand photographers clicking snaps. Even Princess Diana would not have got such an honor. 

Inside the church it will be the photographers calling shots instead of the poor priest. The priest will not be able to see the people, and the poor people cannot even see who the priest is. Poor people will be like a flock without a shepherd. There will be photographers in between the altar and the people. This results in utter chaos. It is wrong and is rightly banned in our diocese, but being such an important day in the couple’s life, one photographer should be allowed to click photographs from the altar.

After this chaos, there will be a reception in a hall or in an open air ground. There will be cake cutting, kissing, marching, more kissing and dancing to the tunes of the most famous music group of the town, none of which our elders followed. The entire wedding will be arranged and monitored by an event management group. The hosts will not even know what is on the menu.
 
Now a little discussion on the best man and the bridesmaid. It seems in olden weddings, the best man would be a married man and the bridesmaid would be a married lady. They were responsible for the wedding to take place smoothly. At present the best man is the grooms best friend, who will be busy line marofying the girls of the bride’s party. The bridesmaid will also be the bride’s best friend who will be busy trying to figure out which guy in the wedding looks the most handsome. I think I have criticized the modern weddings a bit too much. It’s just that a little more fun is added to modern weddings, basically people used to enjoy then, during weddings and the same is happening even now. So no worries. I think we have evolved rightly. Isn’t it? After writing all this, I seriously wonder whether a mangalorean girl will ever be my brideJ
 
What might happen in future? Thinking about this, parents might feel shivers down their spines. In future, the son maybe the best man for his dad and daughter might be the bridesmaid for her mom. If not this advanced, then at least we can witness kids being Page boy and flower girl for their parents. Of course it is all usual in western countries, but very unusual for our society. But the unusual can become usual. Almost all of the future weddings will be cost effective since couples exchange vows in front of the lawyer and a few of their friends. Only when the vows turn to blows will the parents come to know about their children and grandchildren and then there is a drama of forgiving, forgetting and living happily separately. Poor kid will be the victim being lucky (read unlucky) enough to witness its parents wedding and also the divorce.

In an age, where there are only 2 kids in a house, it’s of no use going against ones parents wishes and screwing up lives. Parents too are very liberal in modern times and wish only their child s happiness. So I think lovers should let their parents know about their partners well in advance so that they can LIVE EVER HAPPILY, just like Raj and Simran in Dilwale Dulhaniya le Jayenge. Cheers. Happy Valentines Day well in advance.

Anil D'Souza - Archives:

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Comments on this article
Julie, Mundkur/QatarWednesday, November 03, 2010
Well done Anil, keep it up. Very nice article. Keep writing & Best of luck
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Sandy, Mumbai/KuwaitWednesday, November 03, 2010
Hey.. really enjoyed reading this. The comparisons and the bisecting of today's generation totally cracked me up. Keep up the good work!
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Joylin Pinto, mumbaiThursday, June 24, 2010
wow... nice i liked it...must say well written n funn 2 read
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Francis Fernandes, Udupi / DubaiTuesday, March 10, 2009
An excellent piece literature. I really enjoyed reading it. Brought back lot of fun filled memories. My uncle's marrriages I attended as a 6 year old kid and of course my own one which is celebrated at our ancester house in a traditional way. It is unforunate such marriages no more exists or organised. Hope to read such articles from you in future. By the way all the best to find beautiful Simran Regards., Francis
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Vishaline D'Souza, Halealve/piusnagarThursday, February 05, 2009
hey anil...very well written...keep it up..
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Wilma, Mangalore/MumbaiMonday, February 02, 2009
Really nice article.............well written!! P.S....hope u find ur simran soon!!!
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sanchia, mangalore/melbourneMonday, February 02, 2009
hi! i really liked the article! but the only thing i would prefer u would change would be the kinnimaam tea house thing! it doesnt matter if its cheap or expensive, provided the couple have a nice time :)
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Marina, Chikmanglore/ SydneyFriday, January 30, 2009
Anil it was too good. Felt as if attended a wedding in Mangalore. Hope to c more of ur writings
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divya, mamgaloreThursday, January 29, 2009
CONGRATULATIONS  ANIL,SUPERB ARTICLE.KEEP IT UP
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NORBERT, SHIRVA/CANADAThursday, January 29, 2009
well done
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wilfy, MangaloreWednesday, January 28, 2009
good one Anil,keep it up.
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Vally, Pernal/USAWednesday, January 28, 2009
Hi Anil.. Very well written.. Your article refreshed memories of my wedding which was conducted in a matav itself..
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Vally, Pernal/USAWednesday, January 28, 2009
Hi Anil.. Very well written.. Your article refreshed memories of my wedding which was conducted in a matav itself..
Comment on this message

Wendy, BangaloreWednesday, January 28, 2009
A very nice way of putting forward the mangalorean wedding customs both then and now. I can relate to what my mom and dad keep telling me bout about their wedding days and how organised the function used to be all though nothing was outsourced!!
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Nirmala Prabhu Monis, Mumbai, PanglaWednesday, January 28, 2009
Congratulatuions Anil!!!! Good article. Keep it up. Impressed. All the Best. Nirmala
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Robert Lobo., Kinnigoli/MangaloreWednesday, January 28, 2009
Good one........informative and a bit mischivious too...all in all very good. keep it up.
Comment on this message

Fallon Fernandes, MangaloreTuesday, January 27, 2009
Hey anil.... well written.. don worry its my responsibility to find u a mangi girl :)... proud to call u ma cousin...
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Joyline, Mangalore/BangaloreTuesday, January 27, 2009
Anil, Marvellous..!!!!
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Walter Lobo, Bajpe/BOSTON USAWednesday, January 28, 2009
Very well written. After reading, I am forwarding the article to my son and daughter. I have already told them marriage is a "sentence", let them which type-western or eastern-sentence would be appropriate. One thing clear, Gujarthi drama seems be more entertaining than the M'lorean drama but dukra mas always rules the day!
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Guru Baliga, Bantwal/New DelhiWednesday, January 28, 2009
It reminds me some research articles by Victor D'sa (http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/afs/pdf/a253.pdf) about the The Marriage Customs of the Christians in South Canara, India
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Pramila Crasta, Mumbai/DubaiWednesday, January 28, 2009

Gud article!! I am real impressed. Anil this article was very much needed for the present generation. To be frank, traditions are more followed in Mumbai than in Mangalore. Yes in olden times parents used to choose life partners for one another and those marriages stayed till death could do them apart.

But today inspite of boy and the girl choosing for themselves their life-partners donot even complete 10 yrs of marriage. I feel the church should take strict actions regarding the dressing style of the brides, that they come modest in front of the alter, as there is lot of time later for them to show their body to their hubbies.

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Victor Castelino, Moodubelle/DubaiTuesday, January 27, 2009

Good article Anil. I think you missed one very important part in the wedding -the "verse" and "vovyo". The first "vovyi" of a Mangalorean wedding started with "Kanak galem tel munonn kopolik kadlo kuris vainkuticho Jesu Krist voretak/voklek besaum dith" .... "Aput rosachi vatli davigi ujvi, poylo ros pusta voreta/vokle aji/avoi tuji".

Two of my aunts would join rival groups -one on each side praising the qualities of the groom and the other of the bride. It was a tug of war until the elders stopped it with loud "Laudate Domino omnes gentes...."! That was real fun and family get together. The whole traditional wedding was enacted in Don Bosco Club, Mangalore years ago (I think it was Late Mr Saturnine Moras of Moras Opticals and his group which organised the event).

Unfortunately, at that time there were no video cameras to record it. I wish some one takes the initiative to re-enact the same some day. What a touching scene we had while "handing over" the bride to her new house hold! These are a few of the favourite things of the Mangalorean traditional wedding. There are many more which can be added to Anil's initiative.

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JOHN VAS PRABHU, FALNIR/MANGALORETuesday, January 27, 2009
I have a very faint memories of old weddings. The only wedding which comes into my memory is of my erstwhile Aunt, suprisingly - I was 4 years old then. I recall, in olden times, there was no transport except of bulluck cart. The bride used to travel in that piece of luxurious vehicle decorated with palm leaves. On the previous night of Roce - Dukor (pig) slaughtering was great fun to watch . Cutting the sukur noli (wind pipe)of the Pig by the professionals was watched with great desperation. It was more complicated than the "post mortem" conducted now-a-days. However, todays weddings are streotyped and boring. Music is awful and MC's are pathetic, except for a few. Recently, I have attended one wedding,wherein the married couple had a jolly ride in a "Pallaki". Some innovations and mordernization, will certianlly uplift the spirit, interest and enthusiasm among the relatives and friends who attend the function to share the joy and happiness rather than be a mute spectators. Anil, great peice of writing. My good wishes are there always. Good luck to you.
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Melisha Noronha, Mangalore / BangaloreTuesday, January 27, 2009
Nice article Anil.... Weddings are a good way to understand one's culture. I am glad that recently a lot of my friends have had traditional weddings with a modern touch of course. Especially the roce is followed in a very traditional way. I have learnt a lot from my friends' weddings.
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Jacintha, M'lore, LondonTuesday, January 27, 2009
Good Article, Anil!! Good writing style. It brought back so many memories I had of my cousins, neighbours, relatives getting married in such a simple, yet richly cultured way steeped in traditons which are so meangingful all this was in the past. On my last trip to my hometown Mangalore - my husband and I were wondering with awe at all the changes that had taken place in this little town!! And weddings for some reason seemed to have changed into almost a 'showbiz Mela'!! there was a quick proposal, match - set - marry attitude - what with brides/grooms all on such short holiday from the Gulf?? Then an elaborate display of wealth more than culture/tradition. I was amazed at the size of the crowds in the halls, the lavish display of tables set with salads, non veg. veg. vegan, and other food items and decorations (are they edible?) or just for show in a country where there are still hungry mouths to feed!! What happend to the charity? The feeding the poor or giving some to the needy after so much was left over in the old days? As for the dresses, Anil - you have got it spot on!! I watch daijiworld.com news and photos to get a flavour of our fast changing town and long to see an elegant saree but there seem to be all white gowns - some so flimsy and the poses are right out of a Bollywood movie!!
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Sarfaraz Nawaz, MANGLRE/DXBTuesday, January 27, 2009
Well said, traditions de same in our weddings too, dramas and programmes which puts too much load on grooms and others too. We should look our future weddings to be simple and from heart .Thats de most required!!!!!
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Abraham Coutinho, Mundkur/BombayTuesday, January 27, 2009
Good article Anil. Write more. We all know nothing is permanent but change. So is the wedding styles. However,the tradition and religious sanctity is maintained. "Kirgi" is sari (not skirt) without pallu with veil. After wedding, she changes into "Sado" when she gets her pallu. It is a sign of "change" from "spinster" to "married". Like now, all the sari worn females can not be distinctly identified whether spinter or married. Karimani in the neck is the clear sign. Though it has come from Hindu Tradition, we Christians also follow it. For the Groom, with Kacchem - Kutaon there was "Urmbal" (head gear)some what like Mysore Peta. Now Groom's dress has changed to Suit without hat. The concept of Dowry from "cash" has changed to "kind" - Gold what the Bride brings with her and 50% share of expenses paid in the Hall. Generally, the umbrella for shade used in the wedding now is of 8 sticks (Aat Kadiyo). Perhaps, in olden days that was a big umbrella with 10 sticks ( Daha ... Satri)= Damaskachi Satri? Umbrella of 10 sticks? For the Bride's side in the olden days, proposal baiscs was Stability of present and future. Generally it was vast land of agriculture/gradening (Thota). Of course, at that time, every house was of grass hatched roof. The present stability is own R.C.C. Bunglow, Car & cash/investment/F.D - instant safety and luxury. Who has seen the future? Why one should bother about it now?
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Ozie Cutinha, MangaloreTuesday, January 27, 2009
Good article. Further, the atmosphere at the wedding functions these days is not so pleasant. The English music is so loud that the guests have to look for a seat far away from the speakers to avoid being deaf. It is not possible to speak to each other due to such music. Nobody knows what the singers are singing as the words are not distinct. I have heard even people who are fluent in English saying that they cannot make out what the song is all about. Guests refuse to come to floor to dance for such music even though the M.C.s keep pleading the guests to dance. On the contrary I have seen guests happily dancing even for recorded Konkani songs. Wedding is an occasion for the guests to meet and greet. The atmosphere should be condusive for it so that it retains pleasant memories. The volume of the music should be low and soothing.
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vera, udupi/dubaiTuesday, January 27, 2009
Excellent article Anil. You are so right and have put it so well. The church scenario (the photographer callin' the shots instead of the p. priest... !!!)... cool and so true... keep up the good work... expecting to read more from you...
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Fr. Leslie Shenoy, U.S.A./MangaloreTuesday, January 27, 2009
Congratulations Anil, well written article and very true what you say. I wish people could save that money and give it to the couple in helping them to buy a home or for their future. Why waste so much money. time and energy. God bless you.
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Lesly, udyavar/chennaiTuesday, January 27, 2009
Hey nice one dude.Hope to witness one like this,when you get married...
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Jacintha Furtado, Mangalore/Dublin IrelandMonday, January 26, 2009
you are absolutely right ,Mr Anil, i appreciate your enthusiasm and the great effort you made , the data collected from your granny and cherished our old tradition and memeories, but the current situation is such, we have to go with the world and accept the changes though we dont want to , else, we are called anti social personalities,nowadays parents have to agree with the children orelse they are thrown out of the house , but still some people make an attempt to keep up the tradition ,intheir own ways
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Hazel Pereira, MumbaiMonday, January 26, 2009
Hi Anil, Well written article. Yes , it did take me down memory lane, and all the good laughs we as kids those days used to have at the wedding coordinators [ all the Bappus and Maushis etc.,]at mangalore, not forgetting the brass band which I very much miss at the roce and weddings today. Your article was a good refresher. Hope you manage to get the Kirgi Bazu Picture, it would sure help. Keep writing and cheering up all of us.
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Arun Lobo, Mangalore/Abu DhabiMonday, January 26, 2009
Good article... Anil, you have written the article just at the rtight time when I was thinking how my wedding should be... I'll be able to take some tips from this one..
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DIANA, UAETuesday, January 27, 2009

Hey Anil , I really enjoyed reading your article & dont worry man ,

anglorean girls will surely love u for this!

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John Naval, UdupiMonday, January 26, 2009
Anil, very good article .....
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Mable, MumbaiTuesday, January 27, 2009
Good one..... recollectes old memories.... very few weddings I had witnessed like this......
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