A Malayalee Marriage Outside India (1937)

The above heading was from one of the interesting news reported in Malayala Manorama newspaper in July 1937. The number of Malayalees going abroad was very small in those days and there was no Orthodox Syrian Christian Church in any place out side India. Bahrain was no exception. Kochandy made the unusual decision of having his marriage in Bahrain. Finance and logistics were problems. He sent the necessary tickets to Ayroor in advance. Deenamma started for Bahrain along with her brother Rev. Fr. T. S. Abraham. They travelled to Bombay via. Madras by train. They stayed at Bombay in a friend’s house. After making some necessary purchases they set sail by S. S Vita. Kochandy’s cousin P. V. Alexander from Puthencavu also accompanied them. This was the birde’s party. They arrived in Bahrain on 23rd June. Next day (24th, June) Fr. Abraham conducted the holy mass at the American Mission Church with special permission from the church authorities. He carried with him the necessary priestly dress and accessories and service books. This was the first Orthodox Syrian Christian Service held in Bahrain. Kochandy and Deenamma received Holy Communion at the service.

The marriage took place in the evening at 5.30 p.m. Fr. Abraham conducted the marriage service in Malayalam with intermediate translation in English for the sake of the English friends who attended the service. The Orthodox service requires a sexton to assist the priest; his duties include carrying of incense, sounding the bells, holding the candles etc. There was no one else ordained to perform these functions other than the bridegroom who was fully qualified to do so. Kochandy Multiplexed between the roles of Sexton and bridegroom efficiently!

Kochandy was wearing an expensive woolen dark blue suit with lines and Deenamma was in a white saree. Normally the dress for Kerala Christian women was Mundu, Chatta and Kasavu Neriaythu (half – Saree). Once Deenamma was in Bahrain she started wearing sarees. After the marriage a grand reception was held at the residence of Kochandy. The large number of friends and relatives were thrilled in Bahrain and back in India about the unusual marriage and its coverage in the paper. There was a very large demand for a copy of their marriage photo. Kochandy got the wedding photo printed by making a block and distributed 200 numbers of it to the friends and relatives.

Though their marriage was over in the church they had to appear before the Political Agent of Bahrain to perform the formalities of the civil portion of the marriage according to the Indian Christian Marriage Act. In the afternoon he took Fr. Abraham and Alexander to his company (BAPCO) and showed the refinery. After spending a hectic week’s activities and attending receptions in many friend’s houses, Fr. Abraham sailed back on 4th July 1937. Fr. Abraham carried with him lot of presents from Deenamma for all the girls and ladies at home.

(Compiled by Dr. T. K. Alex (S/o. T. K. Kochandy Director, LEOS ISRO) using information from personal diary of T. K. Kochandy.)