The Marriages are made in Heaven; the matches are made on Earth.
The matter in the wedding card is one, but the cards are made in different forms.
Just like a University degree that can be obtainable or attainable, wedding is also made possible in the same parlance. Under any circumstance, it is a very happy occasion for all in the family and the friends outside. The only difference is that degree is obtained after the studies, whereas a wedding card is made before the occasion. Wedding function brings cheer to one and all invited and attending it. The fun in looking at the wedding cards of different hues and patterns make even more jovial.
Even the mythological weddings of Devas and Gods and their children were conducted with pomp and show, sans a wedding card, that is what we could possibly read and understand from the great epics. In those days the street criers were entrusted with this work of announcing the events and all the ear shots were free to participate in it. There is no record of calligraphy or about the writers in those times.
The middle ages showed the records of Calligraphy on leather, palm leaves etc to mark important events. These all took place after the formation of alphabets from the earlier picture writing on walls, rocks and other materials.
The invention of paper and then the printing press by Guttenberg made a mark in the advancement of writing and printing on them and the possibility of communication to the masses that touched new heights.
Now let us probe into the evolution and revolution of wedding cards.
The old-time generations living in the row houses, otherwise called the Agraharas, in the villages, would have called their neighbours by mere word of mouth for all wedding and other occasions. This custom prevails even to this day! Even the entire family members might be living next to next in these types of houses or within a walkable or cartable distance in the next village.
As time changed, the method of inviting near and dear ones who were stationed far away were done through postal cards, inlands and covers. To make these letters as “Special”, the corners were daubed with turmeric and then pushed into the post box. The first generation invitation cards were born! The yellow postal cards are printed even now!
Then began the era of the wedding card having a glossy two sided paper, oblong in nature, pink on the outside and yellow, neither turmeric nor canary, on the inside, and when folded twice, could slip into a small envelope. Otherwise, one edge will have a small extension to fold and paste with gum, and can be posted after daubing the corners with turmeric and writing the ‘from and to’ addresses and fixing a stamp. Just an exact replica of the postal printed inland letter. It goes snuggly into the post box.
In today’s standard, this card is nothing too great to the eye, but it was a great thing of the past as everybody used to view it with glowing eyes and all in the family had a free access to go through the contents again and again. The crisscrossing lines drawn as outline border look like that of a photo frame work with two mythical flying cupids with a garland in their hands ready to shower the blessings on the would be groom and bride. And as for reading the text, which was blue on the pink and green on the yellow, one should have a near perfect vision to manage it. If one is very meticulous in reading it fully from the invocation to gods to last line of the best compliments, el presto, it will surely take a full half hour or even more. To know the pedigree and geneses and the lineage of the young groom and bride, one may even scratch his head ultimately to know his relationship with them. As much confusing as the punch line in the K B sir’s movie “Apoorva Raagangal”. Thank God, the names of groom and bride are highlighted with bold letters. But these cards were really functional in all aspects of the wedding, and also as far as the controls of expenses are concerned. The printing process was simple, as there were treadle printing machines available in every alley, a one room printer and an assistant, most often a boy operating a press. One proof later, the cards were with you!
Times changed. Atlas shrugged. Wallets bulged. Ideas and likings differed. The neo riches wanted to compete with the real haves to show their pseudo intellect and stand apart from the have nots. In this virtual show off, a display of unwanted styles by groom’s and bride’s party was sine qua non. The weightage of the party on both sides depended on the Venue and the persons invited and highlighting the list of persons residing (most probably wandering) in foreign countries in the wedding card.
The whole thing about the wedding card has become highly complicated and complex now. The birth of computers and softwares to create all hues and colours and the connected printers of very high quality has made the printing of wedding cards too elaborate and as expensive as a wedding be.
But the old guard, the good old yellow and pink paper card still remains stable and available for all occasions even to this day! Just like an Ambassador car amidst all the latest versions! Or for that matter, the old floppy disc as the solid icon to save any document in Bill Gates Operating system in the Word!
The wedding card has become bigger and bulkier, though not anyway better. Simply put, it is uncouth and obese.
These days, an invitation card comes in the form of palm leaf bundle, as though Thiruvalluvar had printed and posted it.
Again the invitation card of some political big wig or their coterie related to them will really look like a party manifesto. The colour of the party flag and logo is a must with all the photos of the persons attending the function in line strictly following the protocol without forgetting the TOP personality in a proper photogenic manner to appear in the front slot. This will run to several pages depending upon the importance of the parents of both groom and bride. Searching for the names of bride and groom in these types will be a very difficult one, thank God; their garlanded photo, real or morphed as per computer jargon, will be surely there. Each event that follows will be highlighted by the chief. By the time one takes interest in reading it line by line, he will surely forget the wedding date. Even the party would have merged with another or the ruling one would have dissolved.
Cards will come in small booklets giving the sketches of all important events with meticulous explanations of the entire process of wedding! Who is serious in reading these, other than a research scholar? Credit is to be given to those who are struggling to make us remember the events.
The latest trend is wedding card with tinsel, glittering edges, the tassels and the pasted or embedded colour stones, and having many colour coded pages for each event, when opened up look like a Japanese Fan, and sometimes more like bellows of an accordion giving out musical notes. Holding that and walking with it make anyone think that he has been knighted by the Queen! A mega wedding card!
In the Hindu system, wedding cards will have the picture of a comfortably sitting Vinayaka at the forefront. As days passed, line drawings of the God became popular. In some cards he appears in different moods and forms and sometimes embedded and sometimes embossed and sometimes dented. In some cards he will be dancing, if the card is moved at a fast pace and tilted. In any way, He is not forgotten.
The cards even appear in thick sheets like half the size of a window, and thicker than a dictionary for the tinsel world wedding. Thrusting it inside the post box is an impossible task even for P C Sorkar! Entrusting it to be sent by ordinary post is clearly out of question. Preserving till the date of wedding? Forget about it.
Just think about the type of wedding card that will be prepared by Sidhartha Bhasu or Derek O’Brien, the puzzle makers! The cards will be in with many questions and answers. The all right will be the recipient to stand on the dias and give the garlands and the Thali as well.Either the tying the knot at the end will be doubtful if bride and groom are in a question answer session or matching the curved cut out and zigzag figures of bride and groom and all family put together will land up into Vandaloor or Corbett Park!
Somebody was murmuring that one jewelry businessman,for his daughter’s wedding, had sent one special custom made wedding card exclusively carved out from ivory and studded with diamonds the names of bride and groom to a top personality! A stage has come for the wedding cards to be under the vigil of Z category security! Forget about the insurance and preservation.
By the time one manage to evade the gold-splattered gods, the ornate borders, and the pietra-dura inlay work to locate who is marrying whom in the card, the wedding is almost over and the bride and bridegroom have other things on their minds, first to escape from there and spend time abroad if they have passport and visa ready or it will be even easier if they have come from abroad to get married here, in India. A love marriage turned into arranged look. The poor parents will probably be calculating the expenses and the guests will be standing in long queue to give their gifts and cash filled covers and thinking about the dinner. One cannot escape from the ubiquitous cameraman without a bleach from the camera light along with the newlyweds.
The wedding card will be thrown at a desolate corner as it cannot even fit into a desk drawer. Be careful! And woe betides you if the thicker ones even printed on metal foils, that is what the persons say is the most modern wedding Board and not card, fall on your toe by accident!
Dated 2nd March 2014.
The Marriages are made in Heaven; the matches are made on Earth.