My friends Suhail saw on Facebook that I’m in Kerala and asked me if I would be interested in attending his cousins wedding in Calicut – this wasn’t just any other wedding , it was going to be a South Indian Muslim wedding! I couldn’t refuse his offer. It’s something I hadn’t ever experienced. I had no clothes to wear for the wedding but I would eventually manage something!
I wasn’t in Calicut to see places but I was there to discover a whole new culture, meet people and eat lots of amazing food! After two months of backpacking and eating dosas I was quite excited for something totally different.
The first day was the Mehendi ceremony. Originally this ceremony is from North India but over the years has been blended in with South Indian weddings as well. The bride had already gotten her Mehendi put but all the relatives were putting a bit of Mehendi on a banana leaf which she held out. There were a lot of similarities with the function in the north but what was more interesting to see was how everyone was greeting one another, the clothes and of course the food!
The Malabar parathas and the Pathiris had me going back for seconds and thirds! The perfect end to the meal was a gulabjamun. I walked out of the function ready to burst but at the same time so satisfied!
The next day was the main wedding ceremony. It was taking place at the Raviz resort. The resort in itself is a great place – surrounded by water bodies and a million coconut trees. With the wedding happening there – it was the perfect combination Now this was totally different from a North Indian punjabi wedding that I’m used to. The bride and groom don’t actually sit together during the ceremony. During the Nikah – the groom sits with the brides father and other important male members of her family. The brides father promises his daughters hand to the groom. The wedding contract is not only signed by the couple but also the priest and some other important male members of the family. While the groom is sitting through his ceremony – which usually takes part in another room or at the other end of the same room , the bride is surrounded by all her sisters and friends. They’re officially announced as a couple once the wedding contract is signed at the grooms end. Usually the groom comes to the bride to take her into his family but this time the bride walked to the other end of the room while her sisters and other female relatives held a cloth over her head. She joins the groom up on stage where people can go and officially congratulate them!
Usually I would have felt out of place and uncomfortable going for a complete strangers wedding (in
jeans and a Kurta!!!!) but everyone in the family was so warm and hospitable that I never felt left out.Suhail’s sister was constantly trying to explain every ceremony and ritual to me and his parents were always checking in on me. Even the bride’s mother was extremely sweet and despite having a million things to look after she would personally come up to me every now and then to explain something or to ask if I was okay.
The food at the wedding was amazing once again! Appams with stew, Malabar parathas with chicken and mutton! I definitely put on a few kilograms in the two days!
Unlike the weddings I’ve been to so far – here the groom goes the brides father’s house and they stay there for some time. At night we went to the house to meet them and this was only immediate family members. The family looked exhausted but they had still put put yet another mouth watering meal for us! Pooris, Malabar parathas (I don’t think I can eat normal parathas now ) and a few types of curries. The most interesting part of the meal was the dessert! It was a Malabar special called Mutta mala. This dessert is made entirely of egg and has two parts. Prior to making it the egg White is separated from the yolk. The yolk is used to make noodle/necklace like strings and the egg White is steamed in a cake tin with sugar syrup . The two parts are eaten together .
While the wedding left me with 5 extra kilograms of fat on my body it also left me with a feeling of joy and happiness. The kindness every member showed me made me miss home but also made me realise how quickly strangers can turn into friends and that is the foundation of travelling solo. Though I only got a sneak peek into the lives of so many people over the last two days it’s something that I’ll carry with me for a long time.
Thank you Suhail for being such a great host and for inviting me to be a part of such an amazing milestone! And a special shout out to Sumaiyya who lent me some of her clothes to wear for the different functions!!!
Congratulations to the whole family!! 🙂