The Red Car

By Hema Ravi

The other day, we were driving home from the airport after seeing off our daughter, her husband and their year-old toddler, the apple of our eyes!

Ahead of us was an ‘antique’ open  Fiat car, one of the ‘Jaanavasam’ vehicles of the yester years. Today, this ceremony has ceased to exist; on occasions, one gets to witness the ‘Baraath Horse, ‘ as practised in the Northern part of the country.

The driver seemed to be in no hurry, he was so used to the slow-driving in the labyrinthine streets of the city.  I am told that the customary parade in the pre-Internet days was done to ascertain if the bridegroom was already in a marital relationship.  Whether it worked is a guess, nevertheless, it did have its share of joys for the children in the family, who would hitch a ride; quite often,  the ‘maapillai’ had to squeeze himself amidst the little ones who were packed like sardines.

In this fast-paced world, several of the customary traditions have given way to newer practices, such as choosing exotic destinations for a wedding with choices variegating from ceremonies in the Himalayas to the beach wedding around the coast of Goa.

This notwithstanding , the fading photographs with men, women and children sashaying in quaint costumes and jewelry  as the open car trudges along is a delight to revel in. Stories comes to life.

Author Profile:  Hema Ravi is a Communicative English and IELTS Trainer, Co-author of Sing Along Indian Rhymes and Everyday Hindi, she is a prize winner in the 26th ITO EN Green Tea Haiku Competition, Japan (2015). Her verses and haiku have been published in HSA Anthology (2015), Atlas Poetica, Poetic Prism, The Enchanted Verse, Rainbow Hues, Contemporary Literary Review, Metverse Muse, write-ups published in The Hindu and a multitude of print and online anthologies.


  1. Madam,

    Yes, as said, old order changeth yielding place to new. There were reasons for Janavasam. But this has been dispensed with, perhaps, as an unwanted one. At least the horse-drawn chariot is used with all pomp and paraphernalia. And, practice of sambandhis worshiping nearest temple is in practice with the would- be- bride and the would – be – bridegroom has not been dispensed with; the words ‘would be’ have been used since the RECEPTION, mostly takes place before tying the Thirumangalyam

  2. Sundar Rajan

    A nice recall of yester years and bygone days. O

  3. k. Sadasivan

    The Red Car


    You may know well that the old order changeth yielding place to new. Though the Janavasam making use of a car has been dispensed with for some reasons it would seem like a jalopy ride with children’ and;, though there may be reasons for Janavasam, some people do not opt for Janavasam but the boy and the girl are taken to the nearby temple, their parents accompanying them. In some cases people spend lavishly by making use horse-drawn chariot very much decorated besides much pomp and paraphernalia, The Nadaswara vidwan would play carnatic music’ but the band would play present movies songs, instead of yester year melodies; and it would be more a cacophony than a harmony. Some remote controlled flying object would be used to shower petals of flowers and flowers throughout the procession

    k. Sadasivan

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