Disclaimer: The following Arranged Kalyanam recipe is a treasured ‘muthu’ from the Aunt M book of ‘tharavaadi’ recipes. Any resemblance to this recipe is purely coincidental. Also, judges please bear in mind that this is a humble effort to bring out the traditional ‘koottu’ of a well-preserved dish and is in no way a forced conviction on the concept of marriages. Happy baking y’all!
Find the right ‘ingredients’
In a traditional setting, chekkan liking the pennu and vice-versa is just not enough. (Aunt M chooses to ignore the pennu-pennu or aan-aan likeability here because you know!) All the members of the other family have to be ammayi-approved. Only then can you proceed with the ’mixing.’
If the achan of the chekkan has a skin tone towards the duskier side, then aunt M becomes petrified as to whether the future generation of this probable couple might inherit the same! So please be mindful and select the right ingredients for the perfect Arranged Kalyanam.
Use appropriate baking equipments
Aka background check of the prospective groom or bride. And this does not end with the chekkante or penninte ‘setup’ or their parents. It extends to a level where they dig up what the grandfather’s grandfather’s mother-in-law did to her daughter-in-law!
The chekkan is expected to have a job that matches the girl’s family status. His family must also be an heir to a ‘minimalistic’ amount of property because “Aarkkariyaam entha eppozha sambhavikkya nn!” The girl, on the other hand, may or may not have a job, but a little ‘basic’ knowledge regarding the kitchen world is expected. After all, “Ente monu joli therakk oke kazhinj cooking okke eppo padikkaana!”
Preset oven. Pakshe for a limited time only
Rule no. 1 of Arranged Kalyanam. You do not get to decide how much time you get to spend with your prospective partner before marriage. A date is not a meeting between two people where they get to know each other. A date, in the arranged marriage context, is a ‘theeyathi’ the family fixes on which you get married.
But you are usually blessed with a gracious ‘few months’ to get to know the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with. And an unsaid rule is that you are ‘expected’ to stick on. Because “parasparam mansilaakkaan inim samayam kedkkualle!” What’s with all the hurry people?
Hope you didn’t forget to check for expiry dates or compatibility between the ingredients
Horoscope aka ‘jaathakam’ is your game changer. If you think that your ‘expected-to-be partner’ does not pass your vibe check, get an astrologer to say that. Trust me, that simple faced sadhu is the only person on Earth who can help you out. And he is also the person who can help you get married to someone you think you’re compatible with. It’s like a third-party tinder operator. You both swipe right but the astrologer has to swipe right too!
Garnish till the cake becomes invisible
Applies to the ‘panthal’ decorations as much as it does to the ‘kalyanappennu.’ The bride is not just a human being on the day of her Arranged Kalyanam. She is anything but that. She is a possession which displays the whole family’s prestige on stage.
“Deck her up with all the gold you have dug up because that’s what your entire life has been about!”, said someone. And do not think the chekkan can get away easily. A Rolex watch is the bare minimum that the Aunt M squad expects. And if a Benz car can also be rolled in, congrats you have been granted a ‘thankam polathe chekkan’ award! Oh wait, you have an actual say in all this? Lucky you!
Slice and serve hot
Throw a grand party and invite half the district with expensive golden and red invitation cards because ‘naalaal ariyande pinne!’ Half the people would have last seen you at your ‘noolukett’ ceremony and wouldn’t waste an opportunity to say “Ithiri ullapo kandeya!” The other half would be as clueless as you are as to how the two of you are related and are here to just quote Prakashan’s dialogue, “Veliya tharavattukara! Entha kaaryam? Sadya pora!”
While both arranged and love marriages have their pros and cons, the concept of an arranged marriage is a huge hassle in most cases. Getting a partner who has been approved by all the members of your family is like spotting a pazhampori in biriyani. It’s never going to happen. Of course, all of your family loves you for the dearest that you are, but more than often a wedding is also seen as an event where you showcase your ‘kudumba mahima’ and this often leads us into problematic situations that could have been avoided if it had been considered as just a union of two people. What do you think about all the unwanted opinion casters in your life? Dedicate an epiphany or so in the comments below, will you?