January 22, 2020. A day that will be remembered for a long time in S3 for the happiness and gaiety that one witnessed on that day. It was the Satabhishekam function of Sri Ananthakrishnan and his wife, Yogamba, a well- revered senior couple in S3.
The function was meticulously planned , organized and conducted. A major part of the credit goes to Yogamba Mami. In spite of her age, she is very good in managing everything, including the day-to-day activities in her house and taking good care of her husband.The infrastructure arrangements were, as usual, made with great care and precision by the Covaicare team led by Edwin.
The activities of the function started the day before, with scores of relatives, near and dear, landing in S3 and occupying every available guest house .Many of them were meeting each other after a long time. There was the constant, merry sounds of people chit-chatting, exchanging news of each other. In today’s world,friends and relatives- close and distant- are scattered all over, everyone preoccupied with their own lives. Only on occasions like these, they get to meet each other.
The occasion was also an opportunity for the ladies to bring out from their over-filled wardrobes, their grand Kanchipuram silk sarees with a minimum of four- inch zari border embellished with beautiful designs .With these ladies going around merrily chit-chatting,it was a riot of rich, vibrant colour all round . And for the gents too,it was an opportunity to take out and wear their brand new dhoties and angavastrams (upper cloth) adorned with broad zari borders.
The function started early on that day and, as it progressed, the Activity Hall resembled a huge marriage hall, jam-packed with ladies and gents. The residents of S3- almost all of them- were there . The resonant, rhythmic chanting of the Vedas by the large number of priests presented a divine atmosphere.
It was indeed a marriage hall because the rituals included a symbolic re-enactment of the couple’s marriage that took place years ago in their lives.The dais, fully decked up for the function, was full of ladies and gents crowding around the ‘bride’ and the ‘bridegroom’, not wanting to be missed out of the pictures that were being captured by the many smart-phone cameras that were floating around.
Talking about marriage, I am reminded of a verse in Sanskrit which talks of the expectations of the people involved in a marriage.It is a very interesting verse, source not known, .I am tempted to quote the verse here:
Kanya varayate roopam-In the matter of marriage, the bride looks for the handsomeness of the bridegroom
Maatha vittham-the bride’s mother looks for wealth of the groom’s family
Pithaa srutham- her father looks for a learned groom
Baandavah kulamicchanti– the relatives look for the family background and
Mishtaannam ithare janaah– Others, the invitees, look for a grand feast.
Yes, it was a grand feast at lunch here too.Many tasty items on the menu.About 300 meals must have been served that day. All the food prepared in-house without any external help.Excellent arrangements. And the service? Systematic, orderly serving of all dishes and no need for anyone to ask for or wait for a second helping. The entire Covaicare team was there serving the items with a smile. Are they not part of the family? Yes, they are.
In every sense, it was a wedding in the family.
By Shri Balasubrahmanyam Natarajan, Soundaryam 39, Covai S3 Retirement Community