I’m a Punjabi, married to a Tamilian, and have a whole lot of hilarious stories to narrate on the cocktail of 2 very different cultures. Though the tales have been told here with a good dose of melodrama!
How many times do we get to witness hilarious conversations between two people?
Here are some such instances – a chat between my Punjabi mother (henceforth referred to as mom) and my Tamilian mother in law (read as Amma).
Amma – We would like a simple wedding
Mom – Oh yes totally! This is a wonderful start. I’m aligned on this!
Amma – Great so we can do a simple wedding ceremony, followed by a short meal. We will call about 100 people. How about you?
Mom (trying to find the right words) – Ummm. By simple I meant a mehendi, cocktail, wedding followed by the reception inviting about 500 guests only. I had thought we can skip separate functions for engagement and sagan!
Mom – What time should we fix for wedding? By when will you all reach the venue?
Amma – We were thinking around 10:30. Works for you?
Mom – Oh yes absolutely! 10:30 is perfect.
Only when both the fathers intervened was it evident that Amma meant 10:30am whereas mom meant 10:30pm – good that we got that clarified in time!
Mom – We will be keeping a Sangeet cum Cocktail where people can put on mehendi, dance, drink, and of course have dinner. It will be a great prequel to the wedding. We would like to invite you and your family for it too. This will give a chance for families to informally interact and get to know each other.
Amma – Oh sure we will come. Though our family doesn’t dance much and barely anyone drinks!
At the Sangeet, Punjabi cousins are struggling to find space on the dance floor as all Tamilian women have taken over, and at the bar where Tamilian men have literally settled down.
Mom – We usually have dance performances by family on Sangeet so feel free to ask your side to prepare too.
Amma – Sure let me check though they are not so much into dancing.
The Sangeet had two contrasting performances. Tamilians prepared presentations with picture slides and full introduction of the family taking 1.5 hours, whereas Punjabis had an extempore compering, followed by dance performances of whole family – all done in about 20 mints
Tamilian guests, who are used to sit down, plantain leaf plate traditional South Indian food being served on their weddings are not sure how to go about this buffet set up, and without any such intention, end up picking multiple plates.
The Punjabi uncles in charge of tracking the plates (as host is charged per plate) are horrified but not sure how to convey this to the Tamilian guests.
Whereas Punjabi aunts are taking over their kids’ plates so as to save the cost of one extra plate at the party!
Mom – We are thinking of keeping a traditional South Indian touch to the wedding so how about keeping a live counter with some South Indian delicacies.
Amma – That’s a wonderful idea. Let’s keep dosa, idli and of course sambhar rice, tamarind rice and lemon rice.
Mom (rather jokingly) – Are you sure that’s enough rice for your guests?
Amma – Oh no, you are right! I forgot curd rice. That is comfort food for all our guests! We have to have that on the menu much like you need the compulsory dal makhani!
Amma – As it’s an evening wedding, we will reach the venue at 7 pm
Mom – Sure sounds good!
True to Tamilan punctuality the baraat arrived at the venue at 6:30pm whereas Punjabi women were ready to greet the groom only at 7:30pm! Not so bad, what say?
Instructions to Tamilian relatives – Please don’t plan any sight-seeing or outings in Delhi over the 2 days of events – cocktail and wedding as they will be tiring events going on till midnight.
Instructions to Punjabi relatives – Please join us for home mehendi and lunch during the day. Evening is sangeet cum cocktail, targeting to wind up by 2-3am. The next day, please arrive at 10am for haldi/chura ceremony followed by lunch and see you all at wedding venue at 6:30pm as the baraat arrives at 7pm!
You can imagine why everything gets pushed then!
If you enjoyed this piece, wait for the sequel about such instances and more after our marriage, and a decade together.
Author’s note: Disclaimer (mainly to ensure that no one gets mad at me for writing this piece) – Some of these incidents are clichéd; stereotypical exaggerations!
Image source: a still from the movie 2 States
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