Mala's marriage is a Maha mela

Siva wanted to carry out the project with maximum expedition. When he was about to start to Kolkatta, Mala and her father Mr. Venkatraman came to give him a grand send off. The moment I suggested that they could accompany us to the airport, Mala jumped into the cab with all cheers. I wondered how the magic works when two are promised to be united by wedlock!  Familiarity and friendliness gets strengthened the minute both the lad and the lass express their willingness and get the acknowledgement of the elders. I wondered - really marriages are fixed in heaven.

Siva and Mala were talking sweet nothings till Siva was called for check in. Uncle at times disturbed Siva and most of the time discussed with me about the arrangements to be made for the marriage.

That night Siva cried over phone as he assumed that the marriage would not take place.

"I comforted him saying" Tell me slowly what happened there.

"This not so easy to conduct this marriage. Father is very angry." First he said"it will not take place." Next he worded not so easy" I waited for him to continue."As you instructed, the moment I entered the house, I prostrated at their feet. My father smelt something odd. He commented, "Have you married any body in Dubai" He was very negligent in pronouncing this comment. Thinking that I am not going to threaten him that much, I narrated top to bottom, what all had happened in Chennai."

"Why don't you get married with the help of those who fixed the marriage?" My father  bombarded me, jumping out of his seat. I think he would have minded less if I had married in Dubai. I had hit his ego hardly by getting help from you all without his knowledge. Mother and sister tried to pacify him in vain. He refused to come down of his anger.

Mother and sister are happy and they personally conveyed their thanks to you.

Father said, "You can get married in Thai month and go back to Dubai.I'll only be in Kolkatta. Those who wish to attend your marriage and prove their relationship can attend it."

He turned towards mother and said, "if you recognize my importance, stay here. If not, attend the marriage as Sambandhi" the mother of the groom Siva- and enjoy everything but totally forget Lalgudi and me before leaving this place. Reside with your son in Dubai.

How harsh he is! Is this the way to talk to mother? How is it possible to have the marriage amidst these displeasures? But when I conversed with Mala over phone, I did not disclose these things to her. She might feel embarrassed!

I was puzzled over what he said. He was encouraging Mala over phone and at the same time crying to me as though the marriage would not take place. I waited for him to conclude and then said, "Siva, don't lose heart. You can study well the nature of your father. You can't give up Mala.  So stay there for two more days. Fight for your right without hurting his ego. Slowly try to turn him to your side. He has programmed to visit Chennai before leaving for Lalgudi. That time periappa and I shall talk to him on your behalf. He will get convinced if he sees Mala. Don't worry." I consoled him.

After two days, Siva rang up and confirmed his father's visit to Chennai. He pleaded to set right everything.

Siva's father,i.e. my mother-in-law's sister's husband, and mother came from Kolkatta . I went in person to receive them.

Siva's mother enquired all about our safety. There prevailed a tight atmosphere. Until we reached Mylapore, we observed silence.

After relaxing, Siva's father opened the topic.

"O.K. I heard that mappillai took the initiative and confirmed the marriage. will not be in station. All those who were involved, complete the marriage also."

"What is this Vaithi? What are you talking? Your son was interested and the people were good. Mappillai has just informed that we are interested in this alliance. Betrothal will take place only if you take the lead.  We are waiting for your consent. It is not fair on your part to talk like this."

My father-in-law openly expressed his displeasure. He was a bit harsh too!

"O.K. My son wanted it. But how come you carried it out as though Iam not existing?"

His tone was a bit reduced. I utilized this hour.

"Uncle, if Siva or I have committed anything wrong, please forgive us. We are younger to you.  Your son wants to marry. Kindly give your consent and conduct the marriage." I said in a comforting tone.

"Sivaï's mother hurriedly apologized, Mappillai, why do you talk like this? You have done only good thing."

Siva's father stared at her and said, "My son liked to get married soon. O.K. But saying this, they should not just like that conduct the marriage.  If they reduce any of the honour we owe, I'll not withstand it.   Be careful."

Without dishonouring his ego, he gave his consent for the marriage.

Siva arrived at even 15days before for the marriage. He compelled me to receive him in the airport.

He brought 5 boxes with him. He preserved 3 of them in the dickey and two at the back seat. Before going to Mylapore, he visited our house and handed over the two boxes to my wife.

Though there were discussions and difference of opinion, as soon as the bridegroom entered, the house was enthralled with the happiness and luster of a groom's shrine!

By 5p.m. in the evening, as though pre-planned, Siva and Mala came to our house.

The boxes carried saris and gold ornaments for Mala.  Siva showed magnanimously, in our presence, everything to Mala.  Slowly, with the same magnanimity, my wife and I left the room, leaving them in their world.

From 6p.m. to 10p.m., Siva's father rang up at least for some four times whether Siva was there. I just replied "NO".

Until the eve of their marriage, Siva visited us 15 times and Mala for 16 times. One time Siva was not able to get rid of the clutches of his father.

The marriage went on well. Siva's father's native is Lalgudi. My uncle's native is Kumbakonam. So, each and every step of the rituals was performed with at most care. Siva's father expressed his satisfaction before all.

"My mappillai Mohan has given my son only a good alliance."

I, too, was much pleased to see him satisfied.

Four days after the marriage, Mala and Siva dropped in on their way to Darjeeling for honeymoon. They both prostrated before my wife and me as a sign of gratitude and sought our blessings.

Some time back, Siva and Mala came with their 21 year old son Shyam. I was just recollecting the reminiscences of the past. Shyam smiled and said, "Uncle, after 2-3 years, I too will come to you for my marriage."

A loud laughter filled the hall with happiness.