THE WEDDING – CHAPTER 2 Like all brides Sarasu had many dreams about Vaithy. She thought of many things like his gentle touch, his kisses and other things. She would dream of cooking for him and serving him and pressing his feet when he slept. She wondered what his favourite food was and what sweet he would love to eat. With all these dreams and fantasies she went about her daily chores waiting for the day when she would be married. There were two months between the engagement and the wedding. Many of the older members of the village came visiting her with gifts. Everyone who visited her told her how lucky she was, because she had no Mother in law living with her and no other family members except her husband. In those days the nuclear family was unheard of. Most of them were in joint families. Her father was very stressed as he had to arrange the finances. He had to buy the minimum jewelry that any girl needs to wear. The house needed to be painted. Provisions for wedding cooking had to be purchased. As the wedding date neared Sarasus mom asked “How many people are coming from the mapillais house” Her father said “I forgot to tell you that only 50 of them are coming. It is the grace of Godess Kamakshi” Sarasu’s mother “The opposite 2 houses will be sufficient to host them, we need not worry. I will go and tell them tomorrow” Her father said “you know that pandal Mani said he will come and fix the Pandal free of cost” Sarasu’s mother” Oh that is good, He is a very good guy” Her father said “I have asked the cook to come by in the evening. So let me discuss with him so that I can arrange the provisions” Sarasu’s Mom, “you should have asked Venkatraman Mama to come. He knows the correct quantities.” Her father said in a very irritated voice “No need to advise me. I have already told him to come” In the evening the cook and also Venkataraman Mama came. Sarasu’s father asked “you know our custom, generally we do not appoint any cook, the ladies do all the cooking. But nowadays we are not having that community feeling towards anything, that is why cooks like you are thriving, anyway you know the first day will be the mappilai AzaIpu and the next day will be the wedding. So for the mappilai azapu day the boys house will arrive by 3 PM, there should be tiffin for them when they arrive” Cook “last time in Shankars house I made bonda and chutney along with kesari bath,everyone liked it very much, we can do the same here” Venkataram Mama “Why always kesari bath, make something new” The cook thought for a while like he was racking his brains and said “OK I will make pineapple bath” Venkataraman Mama “Bonda will not be enough, add some kichadi to it” The cook nodded his head and made a note of the same and said “OK, for the breakfast the next day I will make some Pongal, idli, sambhar, chutney and some mysore pak, what do you say” Venkataraman Mama “That sounds OK, what about vadai” Sarasu’s father got an embarrassed look on his face and thought for a while and said “No need of vadai for breakfast, I have to think of cost too” Venkataraman Mama”What is going to be the cost of one vadai, if you do not want we will not have it” Now the cook was in a great hurry to leave and wanted this to get over fast. He had been over a number of wedding and this was not new to him and he said “Now for the lunch let me make the usual stuff with payasam” Venkataraman Mama”That is good” Sarasu’s father “ This will not stop with lunch. We need tiffin again in the evening, make some pakodas and one sweet, we don’t know how many of them will stay. But because they are from another town they might all stay. Also, the dinner and the kattu sadam koodai” Venkataraman Mama “Oye give me the provision list, let me buy everything. And do not forget the coffee, you should keep the coffee flowing from morning 5 AM, there should be no complaints from anyone” Cook : “Whereever I go and cook there has been no complaints, that is why I am called. "I will make the list ask Kicha to come and collect it tonight” Venkataraman Mama “Don’t add extra of everything, only make a list of what is needed” There was some hagglings about the rates and then the cook left. Once the cook left, Venkataraman Mama sat for some time and spoke about various things and just as he was leaving he told Sarasu’s father “Don’t you worry about the cooking and serving part, I will take care of everything. You do the rest of the work” The wedding day finally arrived. Though Sarasu had rehearsed mentally what would happen and how she would feel, the experience was totally different. She was decked with flowers and jewels. She wore a silk saree in the stifling heat. She had mehendi done on her hand. She had to stand every time some elder came and had to do the namaskaram to them. After some time her legs were shaky and aching from the effort. But no one cared, they just crowded around her. Her father was very tense, and was trying to be extra nice to the bridegroom's family, they were very nice and very accommodating and did not complain or crib for anything. They kept telling the priest that they would take care of everything and not to worry and to take care of other things. This eased most of the tension and amidst much fanfare Sarasu was married. Sarasu did not know anything about what it was after the marriage and no one spoke to her about her nuptial night. Though people spoke in riddles she did not understand the full meaning of things. Many times she had sat with her friends and secretly discussed what sex was all about. But most of them were as ignorant as she. In those days, in a joint family the men slept in separate rooms and the women in another. When her friends got married and came home to visit their parents this was not spoken about at all. Everything was a mystery to her and when she stepped into the room on her first night. Vaithy her husband was only too eager and was all over her. She was totally ashamed of what was happening and at the same time scared. She was silently crying at being treated like this and was also in pain. But to Vaithy not only was she his wife now, but he thought that is how women behaved and everyone had told him to expect it. He also was told he must have full control over her. The next day as was the custom Sarasu was sent to her new home in Trichy. Her parents gave her some vessels, a mat and bedsheets to start her new life. Her aunt and uncle accompanied her. They would stay with her for about 2 days and return. Vaithy had found a house at the agraharam. It was here that Sarasu started her married life.