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Thursday, June 5, 2014

did you enjoy the occasion of 'mappillai azhaippu' in Jhanvasa car ?!?!


The other day at TP Koil Street, a red Chevrolet (or was it Plymouth) car attracted me …. Not because it a grand possession of famed … but for its past ….there used to be some on which people rode on special occasion with pride – if you are born at least 4 decades ago and married couple of decades ago – perhaps, you would also happily your one such ride … imagine, what it could be..

This song ‘Poomazhai thoovi vasanthangal vaaztha – oorvalam nadakinrathu’ – was a hit  - MGR would play instrument and sing this in ‘Ninaithathai Mudippavan’ (the man who concludes what he thinks) had MG Ramachandran in dual roles – this released in 1970s was a remake of blockbuster Hindi Film ‘Sachaa Jhutha’ starring Rajesh Khanna and Vinod Khanna. Years later, came ‘Mazhalai pattalam’ – a nice movie of Mouli came, it was directed by Lakshmi ….it was a story of persons with children marrying and the problems of  bringing up so many children… a car played a significant role in that film…….

All that is about ‘Jhanvasam’ ……. Popular ritualistic occurrence in South Indian (or is that restricted to Tamilians only !) - equivalent of a North Indian Baraat. Understand that in good olden days, marriage alliance would often outside village – bridegroom would be taken around in a chariot in procession from the place of his stay to the marriage hall………… by some accounts, it was an introduction of groom to the elders of the village and also by parading, people could voice their opinion on the groom … which many a times lead to trouble too…

Even in later days where the families knew each other; love-marriages; arranged marriages between known people and more – in the city atmosphere too, this blissfully continued. While it is to be a horse-ride in Northern parts of India – it slowly became an open car over here…. Bridegroom wearing a suit or Safari dress, sitting in the open car along with many children became regular sight…. then started the practice of bringing the bride in another car in the opposite direction, allowing her to have a vision of that wonderful jhanvasam…… many a mapillais (grooms) who had their Suits stitched for that occasion, would find no next chance to wear that !

Slowly it faded from spectacular to bizarre and ridiculed ….there were some who owned ‘jhanvasa cars’ old Morris, Plymouth and more – open hooded – in striking colours, hired for the jhanvasam function alone.  There would be host of relatives (especially women draped in pattu saris wearing gold jewellery of their choice) accompanying that slow moving jhanvasa car. 

You no longer see those Chevy Impala convertibles decked with flowers and cute children sitting literally on the lap of groom …  people had time and enjoyed every little chance being happy … now a days, everyone seems to be in a hurry – and makes a flying visit even for the marriage of close relatives.  Gone are those days, when the groom or people from his side made big issues at the time of marriage – the host of issues included the car not arriving in time, stopping, people having to push and in some few cases, the car being a closed one and the groom not able to see the whole outside or rather not to be seen by everyone else on Street.


~ the car mentioned in the first para is ‘Jhanvasa car’ ……..seen nearer Sri Raghavendra mutt opposite to NKT National boys high school.


Sri Vaidvudai Amman Stores, next to Sri Raghavendra Mutt in Thulasinga Perumal Kovil Street, Triplicane, Chennai 600 005 is a famous shop known for quality butter and ghee.  This shop has been there for more than 50 years and regular customers make a beeline for buying ghee and butter, especially for Pooja and for submitting to God.


Remember that they provided ‘janvasa car’ services – and their Morris minor car acted in the Mazhalai pattalam movie and in a few others as well. Nostalgic for those who have bought ghee from this shop and for others who had the privilege of jhanvasam

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th June 2014.

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