The weekend was filled with weddings. So what does one do when in the midst of Paruppu Usili, Silk sarees, loud bursts of Getty melam and a whole load of “I also have a son who is a very eligible bachelor” type social networking? One dreams up possible uses of technology to
1) Spice weddings up.
2) Make then Greener.
ps: When I use the word “spice”, it’s not like “They added an item song to spice the movie up”. It’s more like “They used modern technology as one would use a fluorescent marker, to reinforce and highlight the the relevance of ancient traditions”.
I Indian Weddings are the very much flower liking.
Elderly folks at weddings are usually handed flowers which they go on to bless and then exercise their rotator cuff muscles to hurl aforementioned plant reproductive parts in the hope that the blessed object will make contact with the couple seated on the medai and initiate a benediction transfer process.
1. Only the front row (often occupied by the oldest of the old) has a reasonable chance of ensuring that their blessings reach the couple. The ones behind can do no better than throw flowers on the people immediately in front of them (because of 1) poor throwing arms 2) air friction). This means that there is a very inefficient transfer of benediction to the couple. Random people in the crowd are getting blessed while the couple is being short-changed. In this tough world of work pressures, bad software and T-Nagar shopping megamalls, couples need every flower to make direct contact with their heads.
2. Old people are unnecessarily straining their shoulder muscles and incurring wear and tear, thereby increasing the probability of today’s leech like hospitals swinging into action (or would that be “crawling” into action?) and stealing precious savings from these poor old people in the name of bone scans, MRI scans and physiotherapy
There are thousands of cannons lying around in museums, gathering rust and dust. And on top of that, their minds are wracked with the guilt of all the death and destruction they have caused in the past. So why not give them a new lease of life and chance to dole out something positive?
II Clear and Present Danger
Every wedding has a designated Gift Collector (usually a close cousin) who is in charge of collecting, documenting and accounting for all presents, both cash and kind.
1. Financial irregularities – The gift collector can very easily manipulate the Who gave what record and make a tidy profit in the bargain
2. The gift collector can do nothing about those lazy attendees who recycle the same tea set/cutlery set that they received at their (or their children’s) wedding.
RFID tags can be used to identify and track gifts. So a small loudspeaker system that announces “Mr and Mrs So-and-So have gifted yet another tea set” should discourage people from being lazy gifters in the future.
ps: Moi-Man is a Tamizh term referring to the person who is in charge of keeping gift records.
III Thaamboola Pye 2.0
1. One miniature coconut that, after the fibrous skin is removed, has about a table-tennis ball size worth of actual usable material.
2. One sweet lime with skin that is as difficult to remove as a burkha in Saudi Arabia.
3. One mouth-cancer causing packet of betel nut pieces mixed with industrial chemicals.
4. All the above placed in an environmentally unsound plastic bag with the wedding details printed on it for posterity
1. One 2 GB flash drive. I am sure it will cost slightly less than a miniature coconut in some time. You could even pre-load it with a screensaver that has wedding photos moving around in a landscape filled with green meadows, mountains and clouds (Yes. Same special effects generally used by the video guy at the weddings)
2. Jute or paper bags instead of plastic
3. Small packet with cloves and elaichi instead of betel nuts.
IV Green only I am liking the colour
There are several things one could do to reduce the carbon footprint of our weddings.
1. As already mentioned, Jute and paper bags instead of plastic. Paper cups for filter coffee and water.
2. Recycle wasted food. A huge amount of food gets wasted at every wedding. And the solution for that is – Cows.
All Kalyaana Mandapams must maintain some cows so that weddings can save a lot on fuel and milk costs.
3. An insane amount of jewellery is usually on display. So I think solar panels that can trap all this jigna and generate electricity will help cut energy costs.
4. Wedding halls should provide absolutely no parking space, so that it will force people to use public transport.
V Respect Da Music
My amateur musician heart goes out to all the Nadaswaram and Thavil brothers who are cruelly mistreated and their music blatantly disrespected at every Tambram wedding. They are all too frequently interrupted and asked, willy-nilly, to stop their passionate alapana in Thodi and instead, play an unmusical stream of noise called Getty Melam.
For the uninitiated, Getty melam is a loud, unmusical interlude designed for the express purpose of
1. Getting the audience’ attention to something important going on (like the thaali (noose) being tied etc)
2. Drowning out any inauspicious sounds that may be emanating from the audience.
Frankly, in today’s world, it is an insult to the musician to ask him to play the role of a megaphone. So this is what I propose:
Why interrupt a musician’s flow when the Bose G1000 “Getty Monster” amplifier/speaker can be used to generate 100 dB attention gathering getty melam sounds.
Many thousands of rupees are wasted on capturing a video of the marriage proceedings. Not only do these guys only capture the most boring and insipid moments (It’s hard to get invitees to be spontaneous with the equivalent of a solar flare in ones face), they are also rather immobile, what with miles of wire trailing them and a camera the size of a bazooka.
Honestly, how many times does a wedding video ever get watched? Once? Here is my suggestion. Get 10 of your friends to roam around with their 3 megapixel camera phones and shoot several interesting snippets from the entire wedding. Apart from 2 or 3 angles focussing just on the main event, others can focus on the canteen, where one can catch little kids struggling to stop runny rasam from leaking over the edge of the table and soiling their brand new miniature sherwaanis. Some can be deputed to focus only on the parents of the bride and groom and capture their faces go through a gamut of emotions ranging from frustration, joy, rage and relief throughout the day. And others can point their camera phones occasionally at the kitchen, capturing the caffeine addict maama demanding coffee with extra decoction directly from the chef.
In the end, one will end up with several short, highly watchable, youtube style videos that could even be posted online for non-attendees to watch in the comfort of their home.
VII Saree Matters
It is estimated that about 70% of elapsed time in a Tambram wedding goes in the bride changing 7 sarees during the day. Well, RMKV and Kumaran have already come up with path breaking innovations such as 4-in-1 and Zip-pallu sarees, so why not just come up with a 6-in-1 Kalyaanamegasaree that can morph from a breezy Oonjal saree to orthodox Madisaaru followed by homely Grihapravesham to chilled-out Nalangu, an ubergrand reception and a cheevidunga first night saree?
And since time = money and money = paper and paper = trees and all that, I think RMKV and Kumaran need to make this happen now if we are to have a chance of saving our forests.