Religious rituals are performed and mostly the mantras uttered are in Sanskrit. Some Dravidian Saivait pray the God, reciting Tamil poems in a chorus and take the blessings of the couple.
However 25th wedding Anniversary is not a traditional function.
Jan 17,2011 happens to be the 25th wedding anniversary for me and I wanted that to be celebrated as a small soft skills session. The challenge in my mind was that I should not speak in front of my sons, relatives,neighbours, friends and my staff members but still should give insight into the marital life.
Luckily I am a member of Lions Clubs International and Y's Men International. People have to learn from these organizations how to conduct business meetings with very high level of emotional connect among the participants. The participation in these clubs are with family. So in one of the board meetings my wife and I proposed that we will host lunch or dinner for the January 2011 General Body Lions meeting.
There was a bright idea in my mind to request the President Lion A.Mohan and board members of our Club Lions club of Tirunagar Town to accommodate a special speech on 'Marital Life' in the General Body Meeting on our wedding day. The board members of the club approved the request. Every Lions club meeting should have a chief Guest who will speak about a specific subject for a duration of 20 to 25 min.
Our club is blessed with great orators and Lion Dr.P.Natanagurunathan was invited to speak on the subject. The meeting was a Lions meeting and all the Y's Men of my another association Y's Men's club of Madurai Majestic were invited as guests. One of the internationally prominent Past District Governor Lion NAK Gopalakrishna Raja being a member of our club was on stage to bless us. Ysm Dr.A.Sashikumar, Past District Governor of Y's Men International was a dignitary on the dais.
The meeting started at 11.30 AM and after the regular business session, senior Lion members felicitated us. Lion NAK Goplakrishna Raja kept his speech short observing the tradition of Lions giving extra minutes for the chief guest Lion Dr.P. Natanagurunathan.
Lion Dr.Natanagurunathan gave a captivating speech describing the divinity of the marital life. He beautifully explained that if the duties with respect to the families of both husband's side and wife's side is discharged with commitment, there is a fulfillment that keeps the couple happy.
He stated that our scriptures define four stages in social life of an individual. First being the Brahmacharyam followed by Gruhastham, Vanaprastham and Sanyasam. The Gruhastham is the marital life with great amount of responsibilities. Vanaprastham is also in the same structure of the Gruhastham but the responsibilities will be taken over by the grown up children. Sanyasm is optional for those who want to renounce the family life in search of truth and God.
One becomes fully eligible for Sanyasam only after competely discharging the responsibilities in the earlier stages. Marriage is the blissful arrangement to give fullness to existence as human. The speaker in a flawless fluent regional language Tamil, related the events in my life to explain Gruhastham. The speech was enlightening for the unmarried and younger couples. The elders could take a mental tour of their past to feel happy about their own achievements. The message was very clear stressing the importance of Gruhastham and Vanaprastham which forms the marital life.
Then it was my eldest son's turn to talk about his experience in the family. His speech was also very much liked by the audience. He quoted many instances of encouragement and freedom given to him. He could beautifully relate many of his achievements to the timely support from both parents.
I had nothing to speak except to thank every one. My wish has been fulfilled by all who addressed before me. The meeting served as a short workshop on marital life.
Men and women are born as dependents. They grow up and become independent. The independence is soon realized to be difficult and they choose to become interdependent in the arrangement called marriage. Basically men and women have different emotional make up. They learn to accommodate each other and support each other in marital life. Children are the happiest when the marital arrangement is undisturbed. So both men and women learn what unconditional love is. Children normally do not listen to all the advices of the parents when they become adolescents but never fail to pick up the good things.
Celebrations should be designed to reinforce values. Our humble attempt to reinforce the values of the marital life appears to have done this effectively.