The news from the big Aishwarya Rai-Abhishek Bachchan wedding on April 20 is that it will be performed according to Bunt customs and traditions.
Ash belongs to the Bunt community of coastal Karnataka (Mangalore and Udupi districts). The Bunts are a traditional community of agriculturists. The Bunts also have a strong presence in Mumbai (where they are leaders in the city retail hotel business) and Bangalore. The Bunts follow the matriarchial system, where the daughter (not the sons) inherits the family property.
In a traditional Bunt wedding, the groom gets a huge dowry from the girl's side. But there is the flipside, the boy is traditionally 'brought' into the girl's house and becomes a 'ghar jamai'. All expenses, in a Bunt wedding, are borne by the bride's family. However in recent times, 'wedding expenses' and 'dowry' if any is decided by the two families. And the question of the boy becoming a 'ghai jamai' does not arise.
Image: The bride at the Murtha, a pre-wedding ritual performed at the bride's home a day before the wedding.
Text: Rajul Hegde | Photographs courtesy: Gargi and Vignesh Shetty