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Date: Tue Mar 23 1999 - 09:57:24 PST

Dear members:

I wish to thank all of you that offered me good wishes on the eve of my
marriage last month.  Indeed I felt very honored to enter the next phase of
life with the blessings of many devout Srivaishnavas from this group. Thanks
again for your wonderful messages and your support.  I would like to mention
a few things regarding my marriage in this message so that I may solicit some
comments/suggestions from fellow members.  As a matter of fact, I suspect that
most of us who have had traditional marriage ceremonies could (potentially)
have encountered these issues...

[1] I had some solemn ideas about marriage rituals; hence I insisted upon
having only about a hundred people present.  I felt that most kalyANam
audiences focus on just food and talk, and few actually care to pay attention
to ceremony.  Our families reluctantly agreed to restrict the number of
invitations to 2-3 hundred, of which less than 100 actually made it.

[2] I was opposed to spending lavishly on the marriage hall, food, decor, etc.
So the marriage was held in a small manDapam that was part of a rAmar kovil.
Only three meals were served:  Dinner on jAnavAsam evening, breakfast on 
kalyANam morning, and lunch on that afternoon.  There was no reception, because I didn't think it had much (religious) significance.

[3] I didn't wish to wear a suit (as some think is customary) during vara-pUjai
because I felt that a European outfit had no place in our marriage ceremony.
Nevertheless the suit made its way into the dakshiNai thattu on the jAnavAsam
evening, so I had to convince the vAdhyAr to let me wear a new vEshti instead.

[4] As part of the "pandhal shAstram" my wife's family had a mehndi cermony
with food and music.  I'm not sure if mehndi is part of our custom.  The
pandhal event in my family was more traditional; I had nilangu/Arati, after
which a parichArakar made lunch for a few relatives.  Everybody ate on 
vAzhai-ilais while seated on the floor.
[5] I discovered a week before my marriage that the "manjal" patrikai had been
mysteriously left out.  Most people in Bangalore (now a days) don't read Tamil,
so they make do with invitation cards in English. I insisted on having a few
traditional patrikais, and my wife's family got them printed at short notice. 

[6] I had other "radical" ideas, such as avoiding video cameras, flower
decorations etc. during the wedding.  However I was vetoed on these matters.
There isn't much control that a bridegroom can have on marriage arrangements
anyway, so I should perhaps be grateful for having had my way to some extent!!

Before I end here, I should mention that I met Sri. Krishna Kalale's father at
a cousin's wedding.  We talked about the bhakti list, about NAMA events, etc.
Also, I attended a distant relative's upanayanam in Bangalore, after which his
holiness Sri. Rangapriya SwamigaL was invited to give a pravachanam. SwamigaL
spoke at length about the significance of pooNool, BrahmopadeSam, and the major
Ayushya-karmams/sampradAyams in the life of a Srivaishnavan.  I felt blessed to
be part of the audience for this discourse and furthermore, I understand that
swamigaL is the AchAryar for some fellow member(s) of the bhakti list also!! 

Thanks for your patience, and I'll be happy to hear from any of you regarding
things that I have mentioned in this posting.

-SrInAth chakravarty