Kalpetta: In Wayanad, the local lingo of the Paniya tribe is as scintillating as the forests which hold them. “Aane ekkum urattine kittutha…’ (So said, even I got a girl…) — these are the words of a wedding invitation of a Paniya couple whose ‘save the date’ is doing the rounds on social media. It goes on to say that ‘with the grace of God and the ancestors, the wedding will be solemnised on a certain date.
Manikuttan and Greeshma, the couple here, wanted to keep it rustic and natural. So. they opted to adorn the true Paniya attire and be in the natural surroundings.
Manikuttan is the first MBA-holder from the Paniya community. He is employed with the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Pookode. Greeshma has completed her nursing course.
In the photos, both Manikuttan and Greesham are in traditional Paniya attire of Mundu. They also sport the traditional ornament called Mudachul. Gresham also wears ornaments by name Kallamala and Panakkallamala. Manikkuttan is also seen holding a small bag of areca nut and betel. He also holds ‘churuli’ leaves which can be made into a ‘thoran’ dish.
The ‘thali’ is alien to the Paniya community but some are opting to wear it these days, says Manikuttan. On wedding eve, all the groom’s people reach the bride’s residence. A traditional ‘vattakkali’ is performed there. (It is one of the two ceremonial performances, the other being Kambalakali). Then, the rice brought by the groom’s family is spread out in front of the house. The ancestors then touch the couple, who have still not shown their faces to one another. The expenses of the wedding is borne by the groom.
Added to Manikuttan’s happiness is that the university where he works is opening the Western Ghats Institute for Wildlife Research and Tribal Welfare. He had also worked for the fruition of the project. The university campus was the photoshoot location and civil police officer Akhilesh acted as the ‘friendly’ photographer.