Sunday, June 29, 2008

Antony - The wedding

[warning: long post!]

Amma liked the girl. I don’t thing anything else ever mattered. That Antony agreed to marry her was just a slight co-incidence....:D



Some mothers hug their children when they come back home after a long time, others kiss them on their cheek, yet others rue at how thin their child looks. Mine pinched me on the arm! The outpouring of this motherly emotion was thanks to me botching up all the tasks assigned to me. Like writing a speech for the wedding, typing the addresses of relatives and so on and so forth. Appan managed the addresses and Joechen managed the speech, as for me, I thanked my big fat Indian family.

Thursday was marked by repetitive journeys to Ernakulam as last minute shopping hogged most of our precious time. I was appointed driver since Appan was sick and tired of driving to Ernakulam in the mad traffic. I liked the responsibility and the traffic was not as bad as I imagined. And for my services, I was rewarded with an excellent Jubba which I wore for the wedding.

Amma’s oldest (and most capable!) sister Elsey aunty and her grandson Joseph came on Friday. And from then on, Amma breathed easy. Friday saw more visits to Ernakulam and general preparations going into full swing. I was assigned the prestigious task of fixing the toilet seats in the next flat. If the Mahatma saw me, he would’ve been pleased no end… my father… well he just smirked! Antony was seen running around booking rooms for his and my friends who would be visiting.

Saturday was hectic. I had grown a full beard and when I suggested, that I could shave my head instead of my beard, it did not go down too well with the family (no sense of style!). But now, a new situation emerged that threatened the very social fabric of Kerala. My friends (read dregs of society) from Bangalore had just landed at Aluva Railway station!

As we had planned, I booked them a tempo traveler. Their initial target was Boothathan Kettu, which later changed to Aathirapilly and Vaazhachal. Nayantara, the south Indian heroine, was having a film shoot there. No prizes for guessing who got the paparazzi shots! My only solace is that while trying to take the picture, Shyam got bitten by a leech….again!

I was presently assigned to collect the wedding rings from Ammu's father and to supervise the parking arrangements at the church. "This isn’t a job for superman" I complained, "Yeah, it's a job for Aby" Amma shot back and the matter was settled. I came back home to see a packed audience. In my absence the whole house had filled up with relatives.

It was time for the madhuram veppu. Joechen (Amma’s only brother) was giving the speech. The long and short of it went like this

"Dhane dhane pe likha he Khaane valae ke naam"(On every grain of food, the Almighty has written the name of the person who shall have it) – Saying by a Mughal era poet.
In the year 2008, Antony Menacherry went to visit his maternal grand father at Edakunnam, Koovapally. After exchanging the usual pleasantries and spending some time around the house, he decided to take a bath. Unfortunately, there was no soap in the bathroom. So, Antony went out and asked his grandfather for soap. After checking the usual place he kept his soap and finding none, he opened the cup-board and took out a foreign soap, which he gave to Antony. The date on the soap caught Antony’s attention though… it was marked 1991. Pulikunnel Scaria Abraham was a man known for his spartan ways (a man who has 9 daughters’ needs to be I guess!). He had kept this soap safely in his cup-board for 17 years! But the story did not end there….

In the year 1991, George Menacherry was walking in a supermarket in Saudi Arabia. Among the many things he bought there was a Camay soap, which he presented to his father-in-law Mr. P.S Abraham on his return.

The moment George bought the soap, God almighty had written his eldest son Antony’s name on it and for a long 17 years it waited for him. The very same Almighty has written Ammu on Antonys fate and Antony on Ammus fate.”

Joechan then gave Antony his wedding present… a framed copy of the Camay soap cover. Everyone was left spell bound by this present and speech.

The rest of the night was devoted to feast and drinks. Unfortunately, the food was only average. The very same caterers were the ones in charge of the wedding feast. What if the food tomorrow was also bad? Amma looked tensed.

Early in the morning on D-Day, Appa was awake and thrilled, for his first born was going to get married. Amma was awake and thrilled, for her first born was going to get married. I was awake and thrilled, for I was the one driving the Merc to Church. Antony… he was sound asleep!

The driver came early and we went to church to check out if all the arrangements were made. Also, I needed to be familiar with the car. All the flower arrangements were in place. Everything seemed set to welcome the new couple. The decoration for the car was simple, one bouquet on the bonnet and one on the hood. More importantly, I drove a Benz for the first time in my life!

Back home a minor tragedy struck. Peetu chettans baby was dozing off when she fell from her mothers hands and knocked her head on the glass teapoy. The wound on her forehead was deep but not serious. We rushed her to the hospital and fortunately the doctor patched her up in no time. Amma was extremely sad that “blood was split” on such an auspicious day. But other than this small hiccup, everything else went on pretty smoothly.

Antony was 'dressed' by cousins. Unfortunately, I couldnt join in as I was at the hospital. He looked great in his blue-black suit and tie. I especially loved his tie. It kinda suited him well. This was followed by the "sthuthi kodukal", getting blessed by his elders. Though I am younger, I didnt get completely sidelined... I got a handshake...:D


Appan (Amma's father) blessing Antony


Daisy Aunty and Jose Uncle bless Antony


The handshake


Antony Aby Bhai Bhai


The 'old' family

We were early at the church and so was the bride. Existence of non-transferable duties in the church meant that this became one of the few weddings which I witnessed in its entirety. Fortunately, the priest kept the ceremony short and simple as he had promised to do. Since Antony had done some serious practice on tying the knot, there were no glitches during the grand finale. Antony looked handsome in his suit and Ammu was stunning in her cream colored Sari. More importantly, as a couple, they looked perfect. ‘Nalla cherchayonde’ was one happy whisper that I overheard.


Thaali kettu



However, what surprised most people was the ceremony (planned by Amma) after the Kurbana. Antony and Ammu were led to the reception hall, which was only a short distance from the church to the tune of traditional chenda kotte(drum beats) under a muthu kuda (bejeweled umbrella). The whole family marched in two columns behind them. Amma's long time dream thus bore fruit exceptionally well. She had the same plan for the engagement, but was discouraged by Appa since it was “their” ceremony. Anyways, everyone was impressed. Who knows, maybe this will become another Syrian Christian tradition.

My family firmly believes that the wedding ceremony is rated by the stomach. The food thankfully was absolutely delicious. The reception at the hall was a walk down the memory lane for me. Antony’s old friends from Kollam I.J.H.S School who had been my seniors were there. So were our old neighbors and Amma and Appa's old colleagues. I was meeting most of them after more than a decade and it felt great catching up.


Cho Chweet!


Lights camera action


The Gang

The lunch stretched on for 2 hours and it was nearly 4 P.M in the afternoon when we reached home. I, Antony and Ammu went last, so that the newly weds could be ‘received’ as per Syrian Christian protocol. It was a simple affair; Amma took a rosary and a bible, blessed Antony by drawing the cross on his forehead and then Ammu. Then she asked them both to kiss the bible. Ammu, then entered her new home with the traditional ‘right-foot-first’.


The welcoming party


Bouquet for the couple


Amma giving Chedathi the 'ninne edutholamedee' smile...:D

As per the family tradition the stage was set for ragging the newly wed couple. This ragging session was scheduled for 8 P.M. everyone was in high spirits (literally). The movers and shakers of the family were in full flow. My aunts and cousins took center stage and started singing. It was really a sight to be seen. The songs were, as usual, peppered with a good amount of innuendo. Antony and Ammu were forced to sing and dance too. Unfortunately, my video camera quality leaves much to be desired. But here are some snippets.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ8Qcn-fsVM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJf6SCVisss


Ragging committee


Drum Beats

The party stretched well into the night with Vinu, Minu chechi and Shirley aunty stealing the show. Finally we sang the “manavaati…. Maniyara thura..” song and played ‘train’ with Yamuna chechi leading, Antony, Ammu and the rest of the family following. Each holding the others shoulder. But the “train” took its sweet time and lot of pleading before it entered the bedroom.


Merry-go-round

Once the "train" entered the bedroom, we all sat around the nuptial bed and “gheraoed” Antony and Ammu. “Start the show” screamed Joe Aliyan. “Yeah, yeah, we bought the tickets, now start the show” Vinu seconded and the poor newly weds sweated. Poor Ammu chedathi, the initiation ceremony into the Menacherry family must have been a shock for the poor girl.

Amma(?) finally came to the rescue and chased us all out of the room. Everyone left after wishing the newly weds a long and happy married life. And so ends this blog with my own humble wishes to Antony and Ammu for a happy married life.

*More pictures here and here.

36 comments:

Sandeep said...

i enjoyed this one like all other posts. :)

stillwaters said...

Hey...
Great post n lovely pics!
The couple looks stunning!
Wishing them a happy married life... :)

N!$#@N^# said...

nice one.. felt like i was there... :)

Anooja said...

Hii Abe

Nice post.. nice pictures... ippol line clear annalo, abe :)
Wising both of them a happy married life..
where is ur place in Kerala?

Abraham Menacherry said...

Sandeep: Thank you

Stillwaters: Thank you

Nishu: Yeah, but you missed nayantara...:D

anooja: 'line' clearayittila.. got some cousins left...:D I am from Aluva.

Confused said...

Nice pics!!Your sis-in-law is cute..Nice pair...Ingane nadanal mathiyo abychetta??

TESSIE said...

got to see the pics only today!!!

:)

ninate samayavum aduthu kondirikuaa money!!

Nikhil said...

eda.. enjoyeed all your blogs for the last 3 months.. why don't you quit IT and start seriously thinking of your carrier path.. :):) Ninakku paranja pani ithaane moone...

Enjoyed this blog and saw the videos in you tube.. It was awesome!! ragging takarathuu.. "Ellavarum chollane" pattum, antonny, ammu chetathi dance umm.. man...i can hear you laugh in the videos.. chirichu chiruichu njaan ksheenichu...

Nikhil said...

eda.. enjoyeed all your blogs for the last 3 months.. why don't you quit IT and start seriously thinking of your carrier path.. :):) Ninakku paranja pani ithaane moone...

Enjoyed this blog and saw the videos in you tube.. It was awesome!! ragging takarathuu.. "Ellavarum chollane" pattum, antonny, ammu chetathi dance umm.. man...i can hear you laugh in the videos.. chirichu chiruichu njaan ksheenichu...

Abraham Menacherry said...

confused: asl plz? 'abychetta' hmmm....

tess: eppozhonnum illa... panchavathsara pathadhiyanne molae!

nikhil: he he, thank you thank you.. i am flattered. Ragging was ultimate, I was laughing thruout... hope it didnt screw up the sound track...:D

nikhil said...

da.. ini ninte uzham...

Nee ennu pennu kettunoo, njaan annu malayattoor palliyil mezhukuthiri kathikkum :)

Confused ;) said...

You dont ask that to a lady!!Brush up on your manners young man ;)No wonder you are single still :D

Confused said...

I swear I can hear a goose cacking away in the you tube videos!!LOL!!

Confused said...

typo...'cackling'

Abraham Menacherry said...

Nikhil: aa Mezhukithiri angu vangichu vachere..:D

confused: aargh! call yourself a Lady huh... (effect: goose cackle)

Tedy Kanjirathinkal said...

Ultimate!!!

Although I missed the wedding, I totally could see it here :-)

long time no see, Aby! :-) Saw u from silverline's blog this time.

malaika said...

abraham! You must start writing in "WeddingBells.com":). Good writing man.And there aint nothing like Mallu Christian weddings.

Primitive Lyric said...

Ha..this was fun too! I hope to be a regular at your blog. If it's okay, i'm going to add it to the list of blogs I read regularly.

Abraham Menacherry said...

tedy: Thank you!

malaika: Thank you! Weddingbells.com is blocked here..:(

primitive lyric: "If it's okay, i'm going to add it to the list of blogs I read regularly"...believe me, I am flattered...:D

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