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Week 5: Indian Wedding Week

2 November, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

After a week of chilling out in Kerala, wedding talk has eased off a bit. Dont get me wrong, i’m hugely excited and, oddly, proud to be preparing for marriage. Of course we’re going to get increasingly focussed on the organisation of such a big event – but naturally you cant let it block out all other thoughts… and we haven’t. We return to the subject now and again – lightly drifting in and out of possible options and remembering the dual keys to success: a) a wedding ceremony in front of all our loved ones followed by b) a massive party. Not for us the heated debates about invitations, flowers, place settings, table plans, the colour of the best man’s handkerchief or whether the photos should be in sepia.

Nor will we be doing things Keralite Christian style. (i like the use of keralite rather than keralan – it’s what they call themselves – but also it just seems more, er, devout. Which fits nicely. Either devout or like some form of fuel. I imagine stoves that run on keralite. No, actually, that’s all too close to self immolation or Nazi deathcamps. Let’s stuck with devout.) Sunday is the day to get married and in the last two Sundays we’ve seen a few – colourful, noisy, big affairs with lots of chattering family re-unions going on and a big feed afterwards. I know there’ll be a financial pressure on our wedding, but I can’t imagine what it must cost a family to host an Indian wedding.

Rajan, our driver (get us) for week 1, is a grandfather of 3 by his two elder offspring, his daughters, and has a 27 yr old son to marry off. He says the pool of options is enough, but fairly slim – once you take out the unacceptable families, the right religion, good prospects for the girl and that he and his wife think the match will work, then there’s only 3 or 4 candidates.

One of the good professions to have is, apparently, nursing. Formerly looked down on (it was low status and low pay) since Kerala’s major export has become manpower to the Gulf the pay and opportunity has increased significantly – and so has the likelihood of a good suitor. (something Coward-ish there about “the Keralites who set their sights on the distant land of Emirates” but I shan’t go there.) [sorry, clearly too much time on my hands] {addendum over breakfast from FMA: the keralites who set their sights on taking flights (some overnights) to the dizzy heights of the Emirates. Christ, it’s been a long night.}

We saw one wedding in action, in the ‘basilica’ in Kochin. Fort (old) Kochin that is, and when I say basilica, I mean it was the biggest church for some way.

The church was half full and a lovely brightly coloured and florally decorated archway adorned the entrance and the aisle. The happy couple sat in the middle of the aisle at the front – so far so normal.

Five priests concelebrated, unusually, but much more eyecatching was that they were more than matched by the 5 cameramen (2 video, 3 snappers) AND the 2 lighting riggers. Now I’d always rather over-crew a production, but the point where the lighting guys had what seemed like two arc-lights pointed in the faces of the 5 ‘stars of the show’, and were doing so by standing in front of real stars … I thought perhaps they hadn’t been briefed to keep a low profile or, crazy idea, that the ceremony itself might be more important than the quality of the celluloid record.

Anyway, it’s only going to sit in a drawer and be taken out on the anniversary to jog their memories of how annoying and expensive those video guys were.

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