Once upon a time, finding a life partner was a simple affair in Kerala. Typically marriages between first cousins or immediate neighbours were the order of the day. Marriages will be fixed by the elders in the family and very often the groom and the bride might not even see each other before they tie the knot.
Things changed when professional ambitions took the Malayalees to distant lands both within and outside the country. Soon, the responsibility of finding the life partner was shifted to the marriage brokers. All you need to do was to give a copy of the biodata and your expectations of the life partner to the marriage broker, who travels the length and breadth of the State to find the most appropriate match in no time. The broker makes his appearance at the crack of the dawn with his hallmark clutch bag held in his armpit, which will be stuffed with the testimonials, snap shots and biodata of his clients. He scratches his head and informs the motive of his visit to the bride’s father- he needs cash advance and pocket money to visit the boy’s place. He tries to hook the boy’s family by his exaggerated description about the girl and her family status and uses lavish clichéd expressions like the girl is as fair as milk and has hair that sweeps the floor when let loose and a million other things.
If the horoscopes of the boy and the girl are found to be matching the families make their visits to each other’s houses to fix the wedding date. The broker nets a handsome commission from both the families of the bride and the groom. Some business savvy brokers even calculate their commission as a fixed percentage of the groom’s salary package! NRI candidates or those with professional degrees like engineering or medicine are always in great demand in the marriage circles and the brokers often demand a higher fee for fixing such alliances.
Time have changed further. These days, malayalee marriages are done mostly through News paper advertisements or online wedding portals. The popularity of online weddings is due to the fact that it allows the groom and the bride to see each other and talk to each other even if they live on the opposite sides of the globe, with just a few mouse clicks!
Though arranged marriages still remain the most popular option among the youngsters, online weddings have made it possible for inter religious and inter racial weddings with ease for those who wish to choose their life mate. One can expect more winds of change to sweep the marriage field in the days to come where innovative wedding ideas and trends will play cupid in fixing the matches.
As they say necessity is the mother of all inventions and the world’s only de-laminator is no exception. Chandran Poochakkad who runs the ‘Dubai Duty paid Shop ‘N De-Laminators’ in Thiruvanathapuram holds the rare distinction of being the only person in the world capable of delaminating documents.
Way back in 1996, he came across an unexpected challenge to delaminate the B Tech degree certificate of his best friend for the purpose of getting it attested at the US consulate. Though they frantically searched for help in almost all parts of the country and even the European and Gulf markets, no aid came to them.As he was running out of time , he had no other option but to take things in his own hands.
He set out on an array of procedures mostly by trial and error methods to remove the thin film of plastic and gum from the surface of the documents without damaging the quality of the paper or the print. After over a month’s efforts he succeeded in removing1 mm of plastic, along with the gum, from a laminated document. From there it was only a matter of time as he was confident that he would be able to use this technique for delaminating even massive documents containing double or multi-layered laminations.
Though many prestigious institutions like Texas University had done research on de-lamination, the process resulted in the fading of prints in the document. Chandran does not use any chemical methods that might blemish the print. Hand made papers pose a bigger challenge as the uneven surface demands different pressure applications for the removal of the gum and plastic without damaging the document.
He does not wish to reveal his trade secret nor has any plans to turn it into a commercial venture. He is a talented novelist and is more interested in pursuing his passion for writing. His maiden work ‘Adrishyathayude Nizhalukal’ has won the Kairali Sahithyapuraskaran, 2007. The English version of this book, which hit the shelves as ‘Shadows of Invisible’ was also written by him.