The hall of our ancestral home is an exhibition boasting of portraits of four generations of our family. The center of attraction is the picture of Jesus and His Sacred Heart. Flanked to his left is the portrait of my great grandfather. Now, he was one person who probably faced the camera first time in his life. His eyes almost pop out of the sockets in the picture. His demeanor is dull, gloomy and as a child i was scared to look at his picture at nights- too goofy you see! To the right is the portrait of great grandfather ( maternal) with his wife, taken in 1900s probably. He is regally seated on a throne like chair- i wonder where these studio guys buy "throne- like" chairs! His wife stands shy and coy, with her silk saree's pallu draped over both her shoulders. With a simple chain, jasmine flowers tucked behind her hair, she looks calm, cool and composed. Our great grandfather sports a silk angavastra, his look complete with a walking stick on hand, a HUGE moustache and a curt smile- he could pass muster as a village villain of any Kollywood movie.
To further left is the wedding portrait of my grandfather and grandmother, taken a few days after their wedding. The groom stands tall in his wedding coat- this is the influence of British in our family, i think- our forefathers had converted from Hinduism to Christianity by this time. The British were successful in converting many such villages totally from Hinduism to Christianity by a simple trump card- water! Only those converted to the new religion could draw water from canals for irrigation. The influence of British in weddings is depicted by the coat of grandfather- he even had a coat flower tucked in! And my grandmother sports a kerchief crumpled in her hands in the picture taken in 1947.
|Pic courtesy- oldindianpics.in
Next in the lineup is generation 4- us, the cousins. These picture are ostentatious- pure display of status and wealth- the simple chain from generation one has now grown manifold. The number of neck pieces, pendant chains, haars and bangles till the elbow- now we know why the price of gold is sky- rocketing!!! The coat is the same, but the groom's chain and bracelet( of course gifted by poor fatherinlaw!) are more prominent than his smile! The bride- ah yes, poor she...She looks a mannequin who ran away from the ramp, all painted face, shining jewellery- clad in priciest kanjeevarams. As the mean distance from the grandparent's photo increases, so does the glitter and glamor of the cousins' portraits!
|Pic courtesy- google image search