One of the readers pointed out that the Kashmiri wedding is a lot more than just food, and I certainly agree. Actually the food is just a part of it – an interesting set of courses that interest the five senses in different forms.
But the fact remains that in Kashmir weddings are an elaborate affair that start with the elaborate and painstaking process of matchmaking. This involves middle-men(or sometimes women) called the ‘manzimyor‘ (or manzimyarin), who do their part to make the simple and beautiful concept of a nikah into an elaborate set of annoying rituals. But then the marraige rituals come much later – only after the kouri-mael (girl’s family) and the gobre’-mael (boy’s family) come to terms and agree that marriage should take place.
So without digging into so many things that would side-track me, I will dedicate this post to the manzimyors and their endless pursuit of finding happiness for their clients.
Anyways the process starts with the parents of the girl/guy [who they wish to get married] calling for manzimyors. Or, well, sometimes the manzimyor having sighted a potential client might just decide to walk into the house himself.
Anyhow, the manzimyor carries his ‘list’ of potential spouse-to-be for the client. The list is usually in terms of
Date of Birth
info on brothers/sisters (and if married a little on who they are married to)
and once in a while, it comes with a photograph too.
The parents look at the list, shortlist candidates, do a background check. This checking process could mean a visit to the neighbor’s house, checking with colleagues of the prospective boy/girl, getting information about the parents from whatever sources possible.
The manzimyor arranges for the other to check if they would be interested as well. And then they too do their checkup routines.
Now that both sides are ready and satisfied with the ‘rest of the things’ comes the viewing/interviewing of the girl/boy. This can be done by the parents, cousins, or well whoever the family deems fit to take the interview (sometimes this is skipped going to next step). The boy and girl meet — meeting could range from seeing from far or talking for 2-20 mins.
If they both say yes [well that's what it is supposed to be]… then, the next step is the ‘thap’ — literally meaning “catching” — which is nothing dramatic like it sounds. Its as simple as the parent’s of the boy giving a gift to the girl (which is almost ALWAYS gold). This is to symbolize the agreement of both sides in taking further steps to getting the two married.
huh! and now i am tired.
Actually the way i put it, it sounds rather simple. But well.. it can get annoyingly difficult… however… this is the traditional way of getting married in Kashmir … and the NORM.
Anyone who defies the norm is looked at with those strange eyes that stare without understanding.. but then…. that is a different issue…. will talk about it some other day..
In the meanwhile, you can stay fascinated with the way marriages are arranged in Kashmir!