My best friend’s wedding!

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One of the very important decisions in life to be taken is, Marriage. A difficult one indeed! There are various schools of definitions for this one word “Marriage”. I always speculate about one such definition: “Marriages are made in Heaven

Is it?

Really?

Hmmmm……

Or is it that the marriages that happen on earth are heavenly?

Yes, I agree with this!.

There is so much delight, family get together, joy, the splendid decorations, the traditions and cultures, pomp and grandeur all these build a different level of happiness in people which I say is a heavenly sensation and hence agrees that marriages are truly made in heaven!

Every bride and groom is considered to be Shiva and Parvathi who come down all the way down to earth from heaven. God is seen in every individual here which is the other way of respecting individuals and assuming the heavenly marriage.

One such wedding attended is my best friend’s wedding. The wedding in Coorg/Kodava style. The rich traditions, culture and the rituals in the Coorg wedding are so much special than the usual Hindu rituals and made me so inquisitive behind the traditions of theirs! I made sure to find the reasoning behind every ritual and explain the same here to my level best!

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Unlike in other Hindu traditions, the Coorg/Kodava marriage is not performed by any priest, but by the elders of the family. The wedding ritual here is also of two days. The first day of the wedding  is called “Karik Muripa” where the elders of both the bride and the groom’s family pray to their ancestors and goddess river Cauvery.

Cauvery plays a major role in lives of Coorg people. She is the life and main deity of every person in Coorg. She is considered as the “Ganges of South India”.

A “Mandapam” is set on the stage where the wedding rituals are performed. This Mandapam is decorated with the picture of goddess Cauvery and a sacred lamp kept in the Mandapam.

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The bride and the groom are dressed up in their traditional Coorg attire. The bride wears saree in coorg style where the pleats are tucked in at the back of the waist and the end of the saree is fastened over the right shoulder with a long sleeved blouse and a veil over her head. There is reasoning for draping saree in this style! Coorg mainly is a hilly place covered with forest. Way back, the ladies had to climb these hilly regions to make way for their work! When the saree was worn the corgi style, the women had the ease for walking and climbing the hills. This became a ritual and culture of Coorg eventually!

The groom wears a white long sleeved wrap around knee length coat secured at the waist with red or gold sash with a red silk scarf tied over his head.

The bride and the groom’s family perform these rituals separately and both the bride and the groom seek blessings from all the elders present in the Mandapam.

During this ritual, the bride’s mother ties a chain of coral, gold and black beads and a gold chain pendant that is framed by rubies and has the figure of a cobra’s hood on top of it.

After all these rituals they break for snacks and dinner. The exotic and a differently flavored Kodava cuisine is predominantly non vegetarian and a signature dish that will be served with pork!

This is followed by the Coorg people getting down to dance to the beats of “Volaga”. What delighted me in this wedding of Coorg was the way people gathered and enjoyed the wedding. Irrespective of the age and gender, all dance and merry around. Another tradition which stands out in the wedding was serving of wine/beer to relatives and friends. Coorg being a cold city gets colder in the nights. To commemorate this, they started serving homemade wines so that is keeps the body warm and vanishes the tiredness from the body and get you to relax!

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The second day is when the wedding rituals are performed. There is another story related to this Coorg wedding! It is said that Coorg girls are most beautiful and intelligent. During the times of Kings ruling the kingdoms, awed by the beauty of Coorg women, they wanted to marry every beautiful girl from Coorg. To avoid these many marriages of all the girls, it became a custom by their mothers to tie the Magalya to their daughters to state the marital status to married so she is being saved by marrying the king.Even to this day, in wedding the bride’s mother ties the the Mangalys and not the groom! Isn’t this interesting??

Before the wedding, there is a bangle wearing ceremony called “bale Iduva” where the bride is adorned with the bangles of all colors.

Baale Birud”, is another prominent ritual done in the Coorg weddings which signifies the strength of the Kodava men! Kodava men are know to be the bravest and strong! There are many boys from coorg who are serving the military forces! They take a great sense of pride in serving the nation.

In this ritual, nine banana stems are vertically fixed to small wooden stakes at even distance in a straight row and the top of the stems are decorated with flowers. The family member from the bride and the groom prays to their ancestors and strides around these stems and then in neat strokes, slashes off three stems one after another. These stems has to be slashed off in a single stroke and once done, they dance with joy meaning that they could complete the task given without any hurdles! It s a sign of good omen and a joy of victory.

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After the ritual of Baale Birud completes, the groom enters the wedding hall who is led by his uncle, holding an umbrella and his sister carrying a decorated pot on her head. The pot contains food which also signifies the richness and support which the groom family want to render to the brides family signifying support throughout their relationship .

In the olden days, when the groom would come from his village to that of his wife-to-be, they would carry rice, meat, coconuts, bananas, jaggery, bread and other food. This was because the bride’s family did not have a count of the number of guests expected and therefore very thoughtfully the groom’s side carried all this food for the wedding feast that would follow.

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As they enter the hall, a young girl from the bride’s family washes the feet of both, the groom and his sister  with water and the bride’s family members shower rice on the groom, then spreading a white sheet of cloth for the groom to walk on. The bride’s mother welcomes the groom and feeds him rice, milk and sugar.

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On the day of wedding, the Mandapam is decorated with low height stool kept on the either side of the dais on which the bride and the groom will be seated.

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The groom is led to the Mandapam and is seated on the stool, then the bride is brought to the stage. The mother first blesses her child, then the father. After which the elders from the family walk to the bridal couple and shower them with some rice grains and feed them with some milk from a little silver pots.

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The last ritual is the “Ganga Puje” where the bride performs certain rituals. Once the couples are announced as married, the girl now belongs to the groom’s family. As per this ritual, it is the responsibility of the groom’s family to make the newly wed bride stronger to any situation, and hence poses challenges for her here.

The prayers are done by the bride for the well which contains the sacred water of Cauvery after which she needs to draw water from the well and pour it into little pots, which she put on her head. She needs to start  walking back to the wedding hall. A simple task, it may appear to be, just the groom’s family members make sure she doesn’t reach there. So they keep dancing right in front of her blocking her path, restricting movement. The bride needs to overcome these challenge, where she stands for hours with these pots on her head and moves only when she can. The longer she is kept standing, the more she’s proving that she is strong enough to be part of her new family.

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All these said and done, the marriage rituals of two days is successfully completed where the bride and the groom are taught all the challenges through these tiny rituals and the ways to overcome them.

In two days of marriage rituals, a gist of life’s morals and principles are being taught to the young people who are ready to step into a new world of life. The lessons of responsibility, patience, joy, celebration, culture, patriotism and challenges adorns the chapters of life!

The journey of whole life explained in two days!

Heavenly!!

Yes, Truly, “Marriages are made in heaven.”

Luvz forever,

Smitha/Anusha.

P.S.: Thanks for the friends/relatives in Coorg who helped me in explaining the traditions and picture credits to Mr. Shridhar Bhagal and Mr. Lavin Bopanna.

Certain information written in this blog may by a myth too and not related to any fact. In any case, it is not intentional and just a coincident and not related to any individual (Living or dead).

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The Market!

Awestruck, Wonder, Happy, Surprised, Careful, Angry, Dirty, Mad, Dusty……Many more mixed feelings come to my mind every fortnight when I visit this place!

Being a battle field once upon a time, to being a water tank, to being the first place to receive electricity in Asia, to being the biggest flower market in Asia……if you are wondering and guessing the name of the place, Penny for your thoughts! It is our own K.R.Market/City Market, the market that never sleeps! It is named after the famous Mysore ruler Shri Krishna Rajaendra Wodeyar who built it.

The market comprises of the flower market, fruit market and vegetable market as the main divisions apart from the other small shops that has sprung up in the place. One must surely visit the colorful flower market once in their life to enjoy the ecstasy. Early morning visit should be a checklist in your to do things if you would want to love this place more! The mixed fragrance of various flowers lingers into your senses bringing you into a different colorful floral world! So many colors and so many varieties of flowers leave you in wonderment! It’s just flowers and flowers and flowers the entire place! Amidst the dirt and the garbage, the shouts of the vendors, the super crowded people; the market still stands out to delight you. You don’t even have to take the pain to move, but, stand at the entrance and the people are in such a hurry that they take them along with you till the exit! 🙂

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Marigold flower garland
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Vibgyor colors!
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Jasmine and kanakambara
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Chrysanthemum

Indians and specially the south Indians believe a lot in worshiping god and its rituals in decorating the idol with lots of colorful flower. So you can find all class of people come here to satisfy their needs! Why not? Cos this is the place where you get the best, cheapest material and everything under one roof! During festivals and special occasions, you feel a real warrior entering the place, bargaining with the vendor and coming back successfully with bag full of colorful flowers. The Sunday market in the avenue road being the most famous one! There can’t be any item not sold in the area! You name it and voila! You get it. You can actually wonder, what kind of profit a person gets, if he takes up such business, but they prove us wrong! Anything and everything gets sold in city market and avenue road, with good profit to the seller and cheapest price to the customer!

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Dutch roses
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Ganingale
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Flower market in the night
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View of the market from the top

Every time I walk in this place, the market is bursting with so much energy and life. This market has seen it all! – The hard work, the happiness, the excitement, the sadness, the cry of the people and their profit and loss. This red and white building of the market builds in many colorful dreams and hopes every day in the people residing in it. Among the so many million sunrises and sunset the market has witnessed, it has seen generation of people grow and fall, but it has still been a super steady rock support and a silent promise to everyone who has believed in it. It has not just been a market for them to trade but has been a life to them!

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Moggina jade

The lavish, neat and the hi-tech malls, the new Pooja apps in the city will not be able to compete with this market! Though dirty, filthy and unorganized, people have never considered that a hindrance, but I can see a hundred times more business in this place and they still have a long way to go to come to the market standards!

I wish in the next stage, Darwin’s theory of “Survival of Fittest” can be better explained with the example of K.R.Market!: It has always been fit to survive and survived the fittest.

ಕಂಡಿರುವೆ ನೀನು ಅವರ ಗೆಲುವನ್ನು,
ಎದೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಬಿಗಿದಿಡಿದು ಅವರ ಅಳಿವನ್ನು,

ಎತ್ತಿ ಹಿಡಿದಿರುವೇ ನೀನು ಸೋತು ಬಿದ್ದವರನ್ನು,
ಮುನ್ನುಗಿಸಿರುವೆ ಅವರ ಒಳಿತನ್ನು,
ಕಣ್ದುಂಬಿಸಿದೆ ಅವರಿಗೆ ಪುಟ್ಟ ಕನಸುಗಳನ್ನು,
ಆಲಂಗಿಸಿರುವೆ ಅವರ ತಪ್ಪು ಒಪ್ಪುಗಳನ್ನು,
ಸಾಗಿಸಲು ಅವರ ಜೀವನವ,
ಕೊಟ್ಟಿರುವ ನಿನ್ನ ಜಾಗವ,
ಅಷ್ಟಕ್ಕು ಇಟ್ಟಿ ಕೊಂಡಿರುವೆ ರಾಜನ ಹೆಸರನ್ನು,
ಉಳಿಸಿ ಕೊಂಡಿರುವೆ ಆ ಗರ್ವವನ್ನು,
ಬಾಳಿದ ಬಹಳ ಜನರ ಜೀವನವನ್ನು,
ಕಟ್ಟಿಕೊಂಡು ಬೆಳೆಯಲು ಅವರ ಬದುಕನ್ನು,
ಕೊಟ್ಟಿರುವ ಅವರೆಲ್ಲರಿಗು ಗೆಲುವಿನ ಟಿಕೆಟ್,
Thank you so much K.R.Market!

 

Luvz forever,

Smitha/Anusha.

Photo credits: Thanks to My school and close friend of mine, Vinay Kumar whose pictures inspired me to write a blog, as well as to click few pictures too.

P.S.:On the long run, i do wish to see the market with more cleaner environment and being much more organized. The population it is supporting being the major hindrance, still if things can be set right, to see the best of K.R.Market!

 

A Salute to you, Beautiful Woman!

Hey! Beautiful you!!

Yes, You…

Of course you!!…

“YOU” the woman who has made this life shape beautifully!!

Right from sunrise to sunset, who works hard to make sure everyone around you, is happy, comfortable and satisfied!

There was a time when a woman left behind all her dreams and goals when she had to enter the bondage called ‘Marriage’, but not anymore!

You have grown more strong day by day in fabricating your dreams and in accomplishing it. You have changed the thought process of the world and made sure to make it realise that you can achieve things and live your life! You are proving it day in and day out that you are not confined to just one thing but you are an awesome multitasker! You are omnipresent by leaving your mark everywhere and in every field. You have proved that beauty is not in the face alone but when you create a beautiful world around you!

Working at a corporate sector or as a home maker and most of the times both, you have been the strongest support to everyone in your proximity! How do you just transform yourselves and adjust to the new family as soon as you get married is just something amazing! And you are making it LARGE!!

Of course all credits to the men who have been solid rock support in your journey!

As part of women’s day, I would feel pleasured to salute the most influential and strongest women in my life. She may be my mom, my aunt, my guru, my sister, my best friend, my boss, my colleague, my inspiration and my everything. Without you my life would not have been moulded this good! I feel happy and proud that my family has the women who are talented and balanced with career and family. You are strongest in being a home maker, taking all the right decision, keeping in mind the needs and requirements, evolving day by day and building your dream and achieving it! Dreams for you may be your child future, your career or your dream of making it big! This is just to remind you that even though with all the hurdles and obstacles, you have achieved what you have dreamed for.

To quote a famous Sanskrit shloka “ asato ma sadgamaya, tamasoma jyothirgamaya, mrityoma amritan gaymaya” meaning from ignorance, lead me to truth; from darkness, lead me to light; from death, lead me to immortality! Women you have been in continuous process of leading the confused soul to the right path, from bringing in light in people life and in being a leader!

A salute to you and thanks for all the support!

Luvz forever,

Smitha.

SANKRANTHI: SANTOSHADA KRANTHI-Festival of happiness!

“Yellu-bella tindu olle matanau adu”

Happiness starts the journey along with us from the time we are born! Happiness and more happiness, is what we get with us. Any soul final destination would be ‘the ultimate happiness’, in this journey of ‘life’ we just strive for this happiness and find means to celebrate this happiness.

I always wonder, maybe, we were taught the tradition of festivals just to celebrate happiness? Yes, of course! Maybe to take a break from the routine lifestyle and to celebrate together with life called “Happiness”

Sankranti or that now I prefer to call this “Santoshada Kranthi” meaning ‘a revolution of happiness’ is the year’s first bundle of happiness. The field filled with fully grown crops ready to harvest(which also gives this festival another name: The harvest festival), birds chirping around, the sign of the first leaf in almost bared tree, change in the path of the sun where the days will be longer and shorter nights making an end to the so called lazy days of winter!.  A sign to all of us to get up and charged up, I feel is just a nature’s way of embracing happiness!

As told by one of my friend: “Sharing is happiness!! When you share, happiness amplifies”, the same concept is followed in the tradition of celebrating Sankranti: sharing the harvest reaps! A small cane of sugarcane, a sweet called as ‘yellu-bella’ made by mixing fried groundnuts and gram dal, neatly cut copra, finely cut jaggery, fried sesame seeds and colourful jeera peppermint is prepared, a sugar candy mould called as sakkere acchu and to fancy it up with a gift,  is exchanged with our near and dear ones. If observed, all the ingredients have a reason to be shared! Sesame seeds are good antioxidants, dry copra are anti-bacterial and anti-viral and also has saturated fatty acids that prevent infection. Oil in these seeds helps to rejuvenate the muscles, enhances hair growth and prevents premature aging of hair and skin! These items prepared keeps body warm giving high energy and keeping the viruses and bacteria at bay! All these items will be arranged on a platter and gifted to the youngest member of the house. The smile when the kid receives this platter….priceless!                                                                                                                           Isn’t awesome? The traditions and rituals always come with a purpose, a purpose to fight the effects happening in the transition from winter to summer.

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Yellu-bella, the sweet prepared during sankranthi.

 

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Sharing of the harvest reap, gifts and hapiness!

Oh wait! Did I just mention gift? In my case let me mention that as ‘creative gift’! I always wait eagerly for this festival so I can gift something creative and cute. This ignites the artist in me to pop up with something creative to gift everyone. This year, I chose the concept of “Friendship”- an unusual friendship in sea, of Mermaid and Hula girl who are best friends forever; made out of hand made papers, neatly cut and decorated with glitters and motifs. A platter made to match the concept, to add up a turkey made of disposable glasses to jazz up my concept.

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BFF: Hula girl and Mermaid
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The decorated platter
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Turkey made of disposable glasses

 

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Items arranged on the decorated platter for gifting

Each and every item on the platter arranged: the harvest reap, sweet and the gift tend to bring a happy and curious smile om my dear one’s face and a satisfied smile in me as I could deliver something extraordinary  and for the thought itself that I could bring a smile on their face!

I am a person who does not live simple, I want things queen-size, colorful and with all the grandeur! Just the theme on the tray never satisfies me, I matched up the decorations at home to the Sankranti and the blue theme! Worshiping animals and nature in this festival is a sign of thanking them for helping in the fields and in farming. A ritual called “kicchu haisodu” is performed where the cattle’s are bathed, painted and made them to jump over the fire in the village; this being a part of the festival drew a cow as the main cast in my rangoli in the entrance. The decoration of the barren tree with colorful flowers and birds brightening up my living room to depict the arrival of the colorful blooming flowers in spring and arrival of happiness!

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Rangoli decoration at the entrance
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Colorful Decoration to jazz up my living room!
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Birds nest

At some parts n Karnataka and other states n India, people fly kites on this day as a part of the celebration of happiness. Go higher and never look back till you reach your goal, is what is taught by the kites! These kites were decorated at one of my aunt’s place on this day.

 

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Kite decoration at my aunt’s place

Here goes my day, with sharing lot of happiness and as the saying goes “a day without laughter is a day wasted”! I did my part in a splendid way. It’s just a sample of the day in a year, picture toh abhi bakhi hai…..

Luvz forever,

Smitha

Inspiration courtesy: Sneha marappa, Pradeep joshi, Sanajy anandkumar and Lalitha.

Picture courtesy: Daddy dearie

Idea courtesy: Mommy best and google

Fashion courtesy: Jewellery from Malabar, Dress from laxmi silks, stitching credits to my tailor Mr.Chand