Typically in Tambrahm households, there was a time when you will be faced with a barrage of questions on your return from a function like kalyanam from those who couldn’t or didn’t attend the same. The questions were like:
Mandapam sowriyama irunthutha?
Kalayanathukku naduvila mazhai onnum peyyalaiye?
Payyan side manusha eppadi?
Kalyana arrangements ellam eppadi irunthuthu?
Evalavu peru vanthiruppa?
Saapaadu ellam eppadi irunthuthu?
Receptionukkku flute kacherinnu potturunthuthe… eppadi irunthuthu?
Mask ellam potturunthaallo? Social distancing ellam eppadi? (Ithu of course oru varushama thaan Corona kaingaryam)
Nowadays there is only one pertinent question being asked. That is:
It seems everything else don’t matter.
So much so, the decision whether to attend the kalyanam or not depends on who the caterer is. In fact, when the kalyana pathirigai comes, people do not shy away from asking – “Yaaru Caterer?” and on hearing the answer – “Oh Nirmalyam’a? Kandippa varuven!”
More so, after Corona it’s been a long while since people attended family weddings and other functions. So accordingly the opportunities to eat a proper kalyana saapaadu have also dwindled drastically.
Mama: “Intha Corona naala vaaikku rujiya oru nalla saapaadu saaptu romba naalaachu….
Mami: Yen, naanga samaikarathu ellaam vaaikku rujiya illiyo???
Mama: Illa illa Kalyana saapaadunnu solla vanthen…
Mami: Manasukulla irukarathu thaan velila varum…
Mama: (Mind voice) Aamaamaam.
So now that Corona situation is getting better with double vaccination and all… all are very eager to attend weddings and functions.
Nowadays even Tambrahm kalyanams have become almost like Punjabi shaadis replete with Mehendi function, Sangeet, Baraat, Bidaai and what not… Slowly, like Punjabi weddings, the arrangement for the wedding is handed over to a wedding/event planner. But in Tambrahm weddings, the caterer doubles up as the wedding planner or the caterer handles all the saapaadu/bakshanam/seeru etc. while the wedding planner takes care of the other extracurricular activities. In both these cases, what matters to most is “Yaaru Caterer?”
In order to address this most pertinent question, many have started including the name of the caterer in the invitation card itself.
If in those days, kalyana invitation cards included names of Nadaswaram party and details of kutcheris for the Reception, these days it is the turn to put out the name of the caterer boldly. Of course this is a double edged sword. If the caterer is of high repute, you can expect 25% more crowd for the function. And if the caterer is not known so well, you can expect the attendance to be less.
In different cities, there are caterers who are ranked among the Tambrahm community for their delivery and execution. So the moment the caterer’s name is told, mamas and mamis can make up in their mind how the food and other related arrangements would be. This is very much like the database which comes in a scene in the Tamil film “Boys”. In that scene Senthil will list the day wise/ session wise Prasadam schedule in the various temples in and around Chennai and claim that it is an important database he manages and continues to update regularly. Likewise, some mamas maintain a database of City wise caterers ranked from the top. Not just that, the database also includes which caterer is good for which type of food and even which particular item. I know of a friend mama who has all this info in his tips or rather tongue.
Bombay Ramanioda laddoo nanna irukkum
Previous day breakfastukku elai adai – ithu namma Mumbai Nirmalyam caterers’oda speciality.
Chennai’la Chellappa oda kalyana main saapaadu romba joraa irukkum. Paavam Corona vila poyitaar.
Antha kaalathula Kochi Manioda chakka pradaman’a adichukka mudiyaathu.
Tiffinla variety’nna Rajasekhar. Aanaa ippo Bombaya vida Chennai thaan concentration…
Coimbatore’la ella catererskume ore all thaan palahaaram ellam supply. Oru factory madiri nadathindu irukka.
Since the next gen Tambrahm weddings are beginning to happen in the US, you will find the data base being updated with caterers from there also like
Antha kaalathula writer Chaavi Washingtonil thirumanam’nnu joke’a ezhuthinaar. Ippo athuve sarva saadaranam aayidithu…
Chembur Jayaramanoda payyan Sydney’la branch aarambichirukaan. Romba nanna panraannu kelvi.
Bay Area la Mylapore Express nanna irukku.
And for those who don’t get to attend the function, the point of interest is the menu. Nowadays, most caterers also put out the session wise menu. And enthusiastic mamas while clicking pictures of the function, also click pictures of the menu cards and keep posting in family groups to verupethufy their mamis who couldn’t attend.
Mami: Inga enna avaroda vayasaana ammava paathukka chollittu avar anga ennadaanna vellaa vellaikku menuva photo eduthu pottundu irukaar. Breakfastukku Kasi Halwavum and Night la dinnerukku Chola Batura’vuma thingarathu… Apparum Cholesterol control’e aaga mattengarathu’nnu solla vendiyathu…
Not just for Kalyanams, knowing well in advance who the caterer is, is important for music Kutcheris also. During the Music season in Chennai, the decision to attend whose Kutcheri in which Sabha also depends on who the Sabha’s aasthaana caterer is, that year.
Mama 1: “Almost 2 years’kku apparam, Sanjay Subramanyathoda live kutcheri nethikku Narada Gana Sabha’la…
Mama 2: Athaan paathene. Avare, thannoda kutcheri Song list’oda “Canteen by Arusuvai team” nnum pottutaare!
Ongaathu adutha functionukku Yaaru Caterer? Enna athu thaan romba mukkiyam. Because that is what is most important 🙂