Thursday, August 14, 2008

Maami, the match maker!!!

In what can be termed as the most orthodox form of arranging a marriage, the match making process is tied to fate rather than love.  Though the conservative image of India is changing, arranged marriages still form the most popular way of tying the knot.  Speculation and analysis fills the household as soon as people realize that there is a boy or girl of marriageable age.  The mega event begins not just a day or two before the marriage, but months, sometimes years in advance, so that the best proposal is sealed.  In this duration, magically, every elder in the house will remember you, and each time, you are encountered with, Ennada (What's up?), as if their sole aim in life is to extract a blush from you.  You are hardly the type to care about such things.

Anyway, Karthik Chandramouli (remember the protagonist of the Boston video mimicking Rajini) and I came up with a gist of the conversation that would take place between two tamil maamis.  I have to do the write up in typical Tamil, because the whole fun would be lost if the discussion is typed in English.  Of course, I have included the translation in brackets, but knowing Tamil would make the whole conversation enjoyable. 

The whole process starts with your mother prodding you with a neat

Dei, unakku theriyuma, naa inniki xyz maamiya vazhila parthen
(Dei, you know, I met xyz maami enroute)

Knowing your mother, you would not even venture to ask what the conversation was about.  But, mothers have developed the kind of resilience and relentlessness over the years, that without waiting for your reply, would then proceed to say what her good friend said,

Maami, unga payanukku varan thedrela?  Enga thambi ponnu, avalukkum varan thedindu irukka.  Ponnu romba azhagu, gold medal ellam vaangirukka.  Sagalagalavalli!!  Enna solrel?
(Maami, are you hunting for a bride? We are looking for a suitable groom for my brother's daugher.  She is very beautiful; she has also procured a gold medal.  Multi-talented!! What do you say?

You would obviously not let go of the chance to take a dig at your mother,
Ennama, ava Olympic Championaa? Jaakardhaima Thorathappora!!!
(Is she an Olympic Champion? Be careful maa, she will chase you!!)

At this point, your mother, very carefully will take a step further
Maami kooda ketta, payyan US la dhaana irukkan? Enna pandran anga?
(Maami asked, the boy is in US right? What is he doing there?)

Obviously, the boy will be working.  As such, it is difficult to stay in US with all the complications of work visa itself.  Who will come to US and stay here without a job?

Immediately, your mother will rebuke you, as if that maami is a lifesaver.
Dei, tharkam pannadheda.  Maami namba wellwisher, nalla varan thedra, nee enna kudarkama pesare!
(Dei, don't argue.  Maami is a great wellwisher, she is hunting for a bride, and why are you talking like this?)

In other words, it means, do what you want, I will do what I want.  Just shut up and listen!!!

Finally, the mami, as if she is truly a lifesaver, will come out with a classic!!
Maami, enakku unga payyanoda jadhagam kudungo.  Naa ponnathukaarala jaadhagam kudukka solren.  Apparam, neengalaachu, avaalachu!!!
(Maami, give me your son's horoscope.  I will ask the girl's house to give her horoscope.  Then, it is left to both your families, here on).

This maami is certainly a clever lady.  She wants to create the alliance, and ultimately, does not want to take any blame on the outcome.  But again, it is also very important for the maami not to let herself disassociate from the whole exercise.  She would be very much involved in the merry making, but at the same time, play safe lest people blame her later.  This comment would certify that move

Maami, namba kayilla enna.  Ellam andha bhagawan parthuppan! Enna, ungaathu payyana enakku nanna theriyum.  Adhe Maadri, enakku en thambi ponna nanna theriyum.  Chinna vayasulendhu parthu valarthadhu.  Iva rendu berum onna sendhu, nanna vaazhundha, adhuve namba manasukku nimmadhi tharum.  Kadasila namba enna eduthundu poporom, naalu perukku nalladhu senja namba atmavukku nimmadhi kidaikkum!!!
(Maami, what is there in our hands? Everything is left to the almighty.  I know your son well.  In the same way, I know my brother's daughter well.  I have seen her grow up from birth.  If these two get together and live happily, that would give so much peace of mind.  What are we going to take in the end? Atleast, if we do some good to others, that will help our soul rest in peace.  )

Just see the beauty of this sentence.  This maami is talking non-stop.  I am sure that the boy's mother would have no chance in uttering anything in the middle.  Every sentence is beset with tremendous amount of sentiments.  In the end, she has even uttered a couple of words that reflect worldly philosophy.  What a lady!!

Aaana onnu mattum solren maami.  Payyan, indha maadri ponna kattikarthukku kuduthu vechchurkanum.  Ponnu besha karyam seiva.  Nalla padippu irukku.  Top software companyla velai paakaral.  Chinna vayasulendhe veetu kaaryamellam, ava amma nanna kaththu kuduthurka!! Periyava kitta adangi amaidhiya nadandhuppa.  Adhan solrene, romba kandippa valathurka ponna.  Paarthu paarthu, aasaiyavum kandippavum valathurka!!! Bhagawana vendikkongo maami, nallabadiya mudiyanumnu.
(But, I will tell you one thing.  The boy must be lucky to get such a girl.  She does her work beautifully.  She has good education; works for a great software company.  She has been brought up with her mother teaching her all household chores.  She treats elders with respect.  That's what I am telling you, she is brought up very well.  Pray to God that the alliance must click.)

This maami is surely a genius.  Starting the conversation with a simple question asking if the boy is ready to get married, she has driven the message beautifully that he will be fortunate to get the girl. 

Then the great saga of horoscope matching enters the fray.  That is no joke.  It is always such that, if one side says that the horoscope matches perfectly, the other side would say the opposite.  In such cases, the maami would again come to the rescue

Maami, jaadhagam paakara kavalaiyum vidungo.  Enakku therunja oru nalla vaadhyaar irukkar.  Pramadhama paapaar.  jadhagam portuththal avarkitta pappom.  Edhakku neenga oru edathula kuduthhu, avva oru edathula kudutthu, edhakku indha confusion?
(Maami, don't worry about horoscope matching.  I know an excellent astrologer.  He sees brilliantly.  Let us take the boy and girl's horoscope to him.  Let us finish the process in one place and avoid all confusion!!)

As a result, the fate of the girl and the boy are perpetually hanging in everybody else's hands except their own.  So, the whole concept of arranged marriage undergoes a strict process with the all knowing maami ensuring that the all unknowing boy and the girl end up in a fine predicament.  If the phone call gets disconnected in the middle of the conversation with your mother, it is not because the line is bad!!!


  1. dei gk....anythin personal abt all this? eh..:D

  2. Hee Hee.. Very well written GK.. You much covered most of the interesting stuff.. But.. nuthing like recordin one of our impromptu conversations man.... Thats the best!! :D

  3. Lol, wonder how everyone speaks the same dialogues/key words !

  4. had a hearty laugh praveen! its typical! once again well written!!

  5. Nice one.

    Before shaadi.coms came along , we Maamis were the only matchmaking bureaus, and all for free.

  6. This isn't typical anymore. I think most tamil brahmin's (guys/girls) who have arranged marriages today are given an option to see atleast 4-5 girls and their opinion is taken into consideration for the most part. So if you do end up not liking any of the 4-5 then they will select another 4-5:D

  7. hahah! nice one GK...! does maami have ur horoscope? :-D

  8. Cute Praveen..with all those undercover comments:-)

  9. Oh My God!! it's hilarious....and better still because I see the same thing happenning to you and very very soon!!!! Excellent writing!!!

  10. GK,

    Awesome!!!. Just one question that list of questions, how many have you faced while talking to your mom??...Maybe all...he he

  11. Madhu,
    Dei, just like Pepsi, with me, there is nothing personal about it :-) Remember the slogan "Nothing official about it"!!!

    Dei, naa onnum mattum solren.....Naa Software System Architect illeda :-)

    All cliched keywords! Don't fall for it :-)

    My elder bro, you must be way ahead in the pipeline with beautiful Marathi girls forming a big line in front of your house :-)

  12. Raji MAAAAAMI,
    I have my doubts! Do you know my mother? Hahaha :-) But, I take it, that you people are doing a phenomenal job with your diplomacy skills!!!

    Dei, you are talking as if girls are forming a beeline in front of the house!!! First get me one girl man, then we will talk about 4 or 5, and then the second round of 4 or 5 that you just spoke about :-)

    Magne, aaramagi settle aag bittidhya....eno maathadak bandhbittidhya :-)

    Mrs. Kalyani
    Truly appreciate your comments, and welcome to the blog :-)

    Wait, wait, you will be the first one to go and get into arranged marriage. This is a prediction not by me, but you know who...HeeehaaaHeehaaa :-)

  13. Madan Sir,
    Naa oru thanee manidhan :-)
    En vazhi thanee vazhee :-)
    So, no answering questions to anybody, vattaaa :-)

  14. I guess somebody is sounding cheerful!
    :-) there something behind those pretty words, hmm, Mr. Praveen?? Haha, we always poked fun at people who were lyrical when i was in coll...funny post!! Keep it going, praveen sir!!

  15. mr Praveen Gk, no chance of an arranged marriage for me :)...

  16. maga.....i can see exactly what you mean over should go back and watch hyderabad blues (the original) now just to drive home the point....:)

  17. Maaan, you are so on the button on this, this is exactly how it works, sweet poison aint it? Lets all fight this menace and create a truly free India. Btw: absolutely hilarious article GK, it deserves an award, I v been laughing all the way :-)

  18. Lakshmi
    Oh!!1 Nothing behind the me!! :-)
    Don't poke fun at me..pullleeeezzz!!! :-)

    Have watched that one man!!!

    What's up man? How are you? Long time no news...atleast pick up your phone :-) Good luck for your hunt!!!

  19. But really rethinking about it, dont we like it secretly :-), cmon maan be honest. Doesn't it ring a bell eh? Doesn't it taste like chocolate, give us goosebumps n all?
    Oh and we get so addicted to it after a while we keep wanting it more, even though we are in denial.
    Cmon GK you cant keep up that charade, we all know how estatic you might have been when you wrote your blog.
    Think about all the girls we get to meet, never really getting a second look otherwise ;0, all that courtship and falling in love for the first time, man have you ever been in love before?
    Cmonnnnn, we have seen worse times, this is probably one of those unfair ones when we get to be kings just cos we are guys(even though we are no good and dont deserve all the attention).
    Wow, I'll take it !!

  20. Oh and btw: this blog has probably gotten record number of comments, you know u want it, just cant say yea ......

  21. Dude.
    Courtship and falling in love? :-) Hahahaha
    According to me, being in love is as transient as falling in love with the next one!!! So, I really don't believe in the love syndrome. I am sure you are having fun with the whole process. Even I have to enter this someday, though I am not sure whether it is going to be all fun. I don't know how we get to be kings though; knowing my luck, I may have to end up pleasing the queen :-)

    And yeah, you haven't changed a bit :-) Don't keep your comments anonymous, it is as revealing as any of the bollywood heroines :-)

  22. Bonita,

    Welcome to my blog! Nice to see you here. Never knew you write!!! Cool!!! So, how are you doing?

  23. I just recently started the culinary one. Have a private blog since '04 though! :) I am doing good, how about you? You seem to have moved from Boston to KC??

  24. Hi Bonita,

    I responded on your yahoo mail. I hope that account is still valid :-)

  25. yennoda amma ooda pesarengala?????? [:D] she might need a bit of ur wonderful replies...


    let me know if u wed...[:P]

  26. Hi Sha
    Hahaha :-) Yup, yup, bring your mom and she'll ask you never to read this blog again, and get weird ideas :-)

    PS: Do please let me know your name!!!

  27. complete fact. Awesome read!
    Good luck for your hunt da!!! :)


  28. Terrific, that' s scrupulously what I was seeking for! You just spared me alot of commission

  29. Hi Sriram, Thanks!
    Wrote one more recently on the same lines