What's Totto?

If you go ahead and search "Bengali Marriage Rituals", you will get a bunch of sites dedicated to the subject. But those that I have seen does not cover one essential practise: Totto.

Totto is essentially items that are required in other rituals. One small set is sent by the groom's family to the bride on the morning of the marriage. The other set of gifts, which is much bigger, is sent by the bride's family to the groom after the marriage, usually after a day. Please note that there is no pressure on any family from the other family for dowry or anything- not at least in urban Bengal. So, it's the happy families sending happy gifts to happify others. Now, I can't possibly stop others from carrying on and thus encourage this apparently nice part of marriage. But I have my reasons to promise myself not to allow this if (that's a big if) I ever get married. Of course, I am the loser. Here's why:

I won't get to see my relatives shop, pack, unpack, dishevel my house, and repack for several weeks before the actual marriage. Of course, I will miss out on their encyclopedic knowledge of marriage rituals. It is really interesting to see people debate over what is followed in the bangal (East Bengal) way as opposed to ghoti (West Bengal) way, which unfortunately I will have to pass. I will miss remarks like "We only sent 72 trays of gift? At your cousin's marriage, we sent 101", which, btw, happened 17 years ago. I didn't realize we were still playing that game.

In case you are interested in things that I will NOT get, here's a few: shoelace to things to wash your face; suits to boots; shaving cream to gadgets that trim; powder puff to handcuff (oops, disregard that - that's just the sadistic poet in me), savory to lingerie, furniture to fruit hamper. It's demeaning, as if the groom is a beachcomber.

So, my future in-laws, please don't let your relatives pressurize you, or pressurize yourself to show off, by gifting these things: I use them anyway. And if I don't have something, I probably don't need it. I know as a Bengali you are proud that these days there is no dowry, but if you are anyway going to spend lakhs of rupees on useless / perishable things, what's wrong with dowry?

18 comments:

Aarbee said...

LOL! And I thought it was only the north Indian (Punjabi) wedding where chachis and mamis sat and counted the number of gifts, etc. It's good to know that this form of entertainment exists there as well. :)

I am said...

ha ha nice One "It's the happy families sending happy gifts to happify others"

this was the best until as you aptly realize that this totto business is pretty lousy. Good that u think it's demeaning also to your groom-hood. Unfortunately many guys even in today's think, its just fun and tradition!!!!

Until I read the piece i read the title as 'TO TO' and was wondering 'uhh' what's this !

you should make your blog laughter challenge, your post's are pretty funny.. :)

~ ॐ ~ said...

ab bhai dekho aisa hai... ke rishtedaar to kuch na kuch bolenge hi... aur rahi baat teri, to teri to ho ke rahegi...

itta eligible bachelor hai tu... lagta hai tere liye bhi ad dena padega chai ki dukaan par :P

bata, bengali ladki hi chahiye ya kuch aur kahin aur ki bhi chalegi?

~ ॐ ~ said...

Oh waise toto se BhejaFry ka ek dialogue yaad aa gaya :)

B. O'Hemian said...

@RB
Nehi yaar... har jagah, ek hi haal hai.

@Tanu
Of course it's lousy business, and demeaning. Laughter challenge... err... all posts are by me, I will win.

@Om
Pehle ek project to khatam karo - Aro ki shaadi. Uske baad aur ek ongoing project hai - teri shaadi. Yeh sab ho jaye to naya project lenge. Specifications will be provided at the time of project implementation. Aur bol :P

deeps said...

wah kitne sare project chal rahe hai.....in sare projects ka project manager kaun hai :D

arobindo said...

BC why is my name getting dragged....

I fully support your bachelorhood as for me new things have happened ......and to say that I am unhappy is an understatement..but then life is like that....

hmmmm now the toto thing is to make sure that the bride does not feel out of place in her new home however with time we have forgotten the actual meaning and it has become a show-off stuff

~ ॐ ~ said...

# Aro..

BC teri pehle hogi...

# Subbu... haan bhai, wo project to chalu hai ekdum :P

aur mera, to rab hi rakha :D

# Deepu...
bhai tu banja project manager... teri ek successful deliverable bhi churn out kar chuka hai...

:D

B. O'Hemian said...

@Deeps
:-) Experienced volunteers required :P

@Aro
Being the attention seeker that you are don't you like that your name is dragged everywhere?

What unhappy things in your life? If I am guessing the right thing, I am so happy :P

And you are right about the true meaning of Totto being lost.

Rohit Talwar said...

Get married. Handcuffs may just do wonders to that thing we otherwise call life. Think about it.

ChAsMeBadDoOr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChAsMeBadDoOr said...

loved ur post.. it was funny[:)]
infact i think u shud get married now so dat v guys can read another blog about ur experience in ur marraige[;)][:D] hehe ,secondly your title just forced me to read ur blog..but later i realised it wasnt toto but tottho.. i gues bangla te aita e bole[:D]
but i blive one thing ie.. there's a difference b/w dowry and giving something on ur wish.. xchanging totho is totaly on the family's wishes.. if they can,they will, there is no compulsion... and dowry is somthing which u demand.. 4 me its an insult to the brides as well as the groom's family if they blive in dowry sys.. cos ultimately they are buying and selling a girl.. So spending money on ur wishes and spending money due 2 compulsion is different..

hey sorry i got ur comment deleted dunno how [:O] anyway.. i guess u had enquired about the kid..if imnt wrong (cos i cudnt read the whole comment ). wel it was taken near my college[:)]

B. O'Hemian said...

@RT
If I did everything in my life that others believed should be done, I would not be me, would I? Think about it.

@Arpita
I should get married so that my friends can read about it on my blog... yeah, right! Get Sooraj Barjatiya movie DVDs.

About dowry vs. giving willfully, my point is, even the willful giving is now blowing out of proportions due to different pressures, relative pressure and show off pressure being the prime culprits. I don't see any ideological difference between the two; hence, I don't support both of them.

Rohit Talwar said...

Ouch, that was just a suggestion.

Reeta Skeeter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reeta Skeeter said...

LMAO your posts are getting funnier by the day...
Skeets likes it...
hehe@gifts liek shoelaces! TOO MUCH!

Butterfly said...

What a lot of energy and time is given for packing all those things for the totto! I mean, why work so hard to pack gifts even for the mamimas and kakimas when they vanish after the 'dwiragaman', only to be seen at the next family wedding? Yeah, we do live in a society and its important to maintain good relationships but, this totto business crosses limits!

B. O'Hemian said...

@Skeets
Thanks. Believe me, I am not exaggerating.

@Butterfly
Society is what we let it be... if we don't question these practices, they will never change. You are right, it's a business.