Bride-hunting is fun, especially when you are not the bride. Bridegroom hunting is even more fun, am sure. Only, I don’t know it yet. But this is not about me. It’s about one person’s quest for the perfect bride. Let’s call him X. Now in his thirties, he decided it was time to try and contribute to our country’s ever-burgeoning population. To his credit, it really was because of his mother’s insistence on daughter-in-law and kudumba vaarisu.
And so began the Great Indian Bride Hunt. At the end of which, there would be a Big Fat Indian Wedding, complete with mappillai azhaippu, kasi yatrai, uruttani and the like. Now, the Big Fat Indian Wedding is no problem. However, for that to happen was the minor requirement of a bride. My conversation with X went something like this.
X: I have registered in TM. Hopefully I’ll get some enquiries soon.
Me: (Alien to the world of bride and groom-hunting) Eh…at the risk of sounding illiterate, what is TM?
X: Enna ponnu nee? TM-na, Tamil Matrimony. The website.
Me: Ah! Shaadi.com types?
X: Che! Nee ellam oru tamizh ponnu? No shaadi-vaadi for us. Wonly Tamil matrimony.
Me: Seri seri… And you put up your profile on that?
(Author’s note: Note my incredulous tone, unable and unwilling to believe that my beloved friend could stoop to such depths)
X: (Looking rather pleased with himself) Yessssss!
Me: Uh. Ok. Onnu mattum sollu. What kind of bride do you want?
X: Idhu kelvi…listen. Requirement No. 1 – She must be TamBram.
Me: (Interrupting, mundhiri-kottai style) Why why? Why Brahmin? And why TamBram?
X: Wait! Let me complete. I like women who are traditional. She must be a madisanji from a small town in Tamil Nadu. She can speak Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada or Urdu for all I care. But, she must be from a Tamil Nadu small town.
Me: Enna logic idhu?
X: Keludi-nna? Oru pakkam Cauvery-karai, innoru pakkam Sivan Koil. And yes, she must wear a saree. She must braid her waist-length hair, with lots of coconut oil. Thalai niraiya malli poo and a bindi the size of a fifty-paise coin.
Me: (Now unable to resist interrupting) Unakku kalyanathukku ponnu venuma, illai samayalukku maami venuma?
X: Pinney? Everyone is not like you. Nee thaan, jeans, short tops, three-fourths-nu…sagikkalai! You are in your late twenties. Dress your age.
Me: Dei! I am a china-ponnu. The clothes suit me. Am so pretty and fabulous. (Batting my eyelashes for added effect)
X: Aiyo! Mummy! Bayama irukku… (By now, both of us are in splits, and the conversation lost.)
Me: (Pausing to catch my breath.) Ok, ok. Now, stop teasing me. Back to the point. You want a traditional TamBram girl, who will serve you sojji-bajji in a gorgeous Kancheevaram saree during the Ponnu Pakkara Ceremony, and will play paandi in the agrahaaram. Right?
X: Right! Anaalum nee romba cinema pakkarey.
Me: Athu seri! But, I am sorry to say this. My perception of you as a non-conformist, TamBram communist takes a beating. 🙁
X: What the hell? Don’t tell me you don’t know why? There is a technical problem here. Genes contaminated by non-Brahmin lineages automatically make me ineligible for performing certain religious rituals.
Me: Idhu enna pudhu kathai? Contamination, my ass!
X: Eppovavadhu naan oru third-rated middle class Brahmin fascist society-yila pirandha paiyan-nu kaatta vendama? That’s why…
Me: What the f***? Whatever! Now tell me, are you going to expect your bride to serve you Kumbakonam Filter Coffee dressed in a gorgeous Kancheevaram and a shy smile, daring not to look at your face?
X: Who told you? It doesn’t always work that way. By the way, make it athula karantha mattu palai thala thala-nu katchi…… pudusa varutha kapikotai-la dicoction filter-la eraki….. Mootu davara – tumbler-la konduvanthu kodukanum.
Me: (By now unable to control laughter, and stomach hurting) Yeah? Then?
X: Nowadays, girl and boy meet at random coffee shop. They are given exactly 5 minutes to get to know each other, while distantly-related aunties, grandmothers and the like, all dressed in shimmering Kancheevarams sip cappuccino while waiting for the pair to finish. At the end of it, they barge into the scene and ask, “Ellam pesi mudichuttela?”
Me: (Laughing uncontrollably, tears in my eyes) What the hell? But then, can I join the fun? Please please?
X: En kashtam unakku sirippa irukka?
Me: Pinney? You? Ponnu pakkara ceremony? Five minutes in a coffee shop? Impossible. Unakku thaan pesa arambicha, mudikka theriyathey.
X: That’s why you have the coterie of maamis in shimmering silks. That’s the only purpose to their lives. Ensuring the couple gets no privacy whatsoever.
Me: Hmm…good point.
This conversation happened a good two months ago. There is no definite change in his relationship status yet. Apparently, saree-clad beautiful girls playing paandi in the agrahaarams of Tanjavur and Mayavaram are an endangered species. He will probably land up with a handbag-toting, jeans-clad sleeveless Saraswati. Or a spaghetti Sundari maybe!