Software Development Models and Weddings

June 23, 2010

In comments, BJ says that he has a fair idea of why I think TamBrahm weddings are like ERP implementations, and asks me to confirm his suspicions with a post on this. I don’t know if he is zinking what I am zinking, but here goes.

As someone who had only seen Arya Samaji weddings (and also one sardar wedding) up until the age of 21, I was utterly flabbergasted the first time I saw a TamBrahm wedding. The whole point of Arya Samaj was that if you were going to involve yourself with religion, you should bloody well understand what you’re getting into. So if you don’t speak Sanskrit, the priest must translate everything, and give a proper explanation while he’s doing so.

In contrast, at TamBrahm weddings (and any religious ceremony for that matter – we did a bhoomi poojan at the Kanchipuram factory with local priests), the involvement of the concerned parties is minimal. They just sit around while the priests chant stuff they don’t understand.

This makes TamBrahm weddings very much like the common, or garden-variety ERP implementation. The ERP consultants are parallel to the priests. Because nobody can understand them, you have to take their word for it that they’re experts and know what’s going on. Then, there is a long and painful period in which the priests/ ERP consultants do lots of stuff that looks impressive, but nobody actually knows if it’s accomplishing anything. Finally, they collect their fees, and leave the company/ happy couple to sort things out on their own.

Extending the analogy, Punjabi Arya Samaji weddings are like installing Windows. You’re given the opportunity to read the whole end-user license agreement and cancel if you’re not happy with it. But everyone is so excited about the bling and cool new features that they skip reading it, or just nod along to whatever the shastri says and install it. After the honeymoon period, you suddenly realise that this thing is taking up far more resources than you’d anticipated.

North Indian Sanatan Dharmi weddings are like the Apple App Store. Everything looks incredibly cool and blingy, but the license agreement is completely opaque and nobody has any clue what they’re getting into.

Living in is like installing and running Linux without a GUI and only with a console. And that too by compiling the source with gcc and not from some cool Ubuntu disc or Red Hat Package manager. It seems hardcore and revolutionary, but when you get down to the specifics, is really just a lot of housework without any bling.

The analogy has now gone far enough. That’s it for the post.


Traditions, Sanskaar, Yada Yada

March 15, 2009

In this modern and fast-Westernising world we are fast losing our traditional moorings.

Our traditions and practices are known to our grandparents, but we have foolishly neglected to learn them as well. My generation no longer knows how to tie the veshti or the dhoti, leading to a huge loss of manliness. ┬áThe Urdu language’s vocabulary is being decimated as Bollywood lyricists turn from ‘more saajan hain us paar’ to such bastardised creations as ‘you’re my mind blowing mahiya’. Homemade gaajar ka halwa is being replaced by an MTR packet. When ranting thathas rant, they have a point. We have a valuable cultural corpus, and we are losing it.

However, in the specific aspect of Punjabi culture that is toothless old aunties tunelessly singing folk songs at weddings, I think we can all agree that it’s really for the best.


Snacks

February 22, 2009

He has been out of Delhi so long that he has forgotten what weddings there are like. So when the invitation card says 7 pm, he arrives at 7.30. Once there, he discovers that the bride and groom and their relatives are nowhere to be found. He is the only guest over there, apart from one slightly chubby girl who is standing outside and talking on her cellphone. He has a vague suspicion that he has seen the same girl at every wedding he has ever been to, and that she is not actually a guest but a prop that all caterers carry along. Effectively, he is the only person there.

On the bright side of things, this means that Kitty Auntyji is not around. And the catering staff is on time and they are serving tandoori mushrooms and paneer tikkas.

He is slightly outraged. He has shaved on a weekend, put on uncomfortable shoes and ironed a dress shirt, and for all this effort, landed up at an empty banquet hall. It isn’t fair. So he grabs the tikkas from the passing waiters and broods.

When he used to be in Bangalore and go to his friends’ weddings there, Dig weddings would start promptly and end as promptly so that all the guests could move on to lunch. TamBram weddings would also start promptly though they would do this six hours earlier and end with breakfast instead. And moreover they did not impose these ridiculous dress requirements. He used to go in jeans, t-shirt, and stubble, and nobody bothered. He wonders what it is about Delhi weddings that encourages this tardiness.

He suddenly realises that he has already found the answer – in Bangalore, weddings are centred around breakfast or lunch, which cannot be put off. In Delhi, weddings and receptions are held at night, and dinner can be put off to midnight or even further as long as the guests are fed enough snacks uptil then so that they don’t revolt and march off. But this has started a vicious cycle of later and later dinners, and in turn has led to guests and organisers coming later and later. Now it is impossible for any wedding in Delhi to start on time. The snacks which seemed like such a good idea thirty years ago have led to the collapse of punctuality.

It is all the fault of the paneer tikkas that he is standing here out in the cold with nobody talk to. He reflects gloomily on this. And then, because he can’t help it, he has another one.


Fanboys in Mourning

February 15, 2008

RJ Malavika is getting married as I type this.

If it’s a KT wedding and not a Tam one, I suppose it’s not too late to pull a Benjamin Braddock. Except that I’m happily committed to the perfect girlfriend, and Hari the Kid is in Seattle. So it goes.