Adapting to the pandemic: Send blessings online, get wedding feast at home

One Chennai man not only streamed his son’s wedding online, he also had kalyanam saapadu delivered to guests’ doorsteps with the help of a firm, Unanu Technologies

A line up of sumptuous food and lip-smacking desserts in the Kalyana Virundhu or Sappadu (feast) and a thambulam pai (betel leaf bag) while leaving the wedding hall — these are things that are a big draw for people to weddings, apart from love and family ties.

However, during COVID-19, many friends and relatives were forced to just bless the couple from their homes as most weddings are being streamed live online, due to restrictions on the number of people who are allowed to attend. Sharing a good meal together and eating a variety of dishes off a full plantain leaf, has become a distant dream.

But one father in the city wanted things to be different for his son’s wedding. Expressing his wish to remain anonymous, despite the invite going viral in a short while, he told The Hindu about how he not only streamed his son’s wedding live and got blessings from his near and dear ones, but also decided to go the whole hog by delivering hot Kalayana saapadu at their doorsteps with the help of a Chennai-based technology enabled logistics firm called Unanu Technologies, run by Srinivasan Sundararajan, a friend of the host.

The wedding was held on December 10 and was streamed live for friends and relatives. But what surprised many were the words at the end of the invitation — ‘We request you to honour us by accepting the Kalyana Sappadu that we will deliver to your home on December 10.’

Many were also surprised when they got the food on time. Each family got the food, cooked by Arusuvai Arasu Caterers, in four well-woven koodais (baskets). There were two big casserole lunch boxes and two small ones — with different varieties of food ranging from sambar, rasam, puli sadham to payasam and kheer. There were also smaller boxes with sweets, beeda and other food items. It also had a plantain leaf and thambulam bag.

“We just had to deliver the bags, it was a return gift for the recipients,” explained Mr. Sundararajan. He said that this was the first time he had tried this. “There were a lot of challenges, but it was a learning experience. As the size of each package was different and huge, it was impossible to deliver it on bikes using food delivery agents and that personal touch would also have been lost if it was done through them,” he explained.

He said a total of 250 deliveries were made and 700 packages were delivered. “We delivered to houses in Tambaram and on the other side, Ayanavaram. We ensured food delivery was on time as we were told there were many elderly guests. We tracked the movement of vehicles and the food delivery status online. This is a new vertical business for us,” he added.

New norm during COVID-19

Meanwhile, many caterers, who have contracted for weddings, have started delivering the food to guests at home, during the pandemic. “We have done it for close to 10 weddings and for each one we delivered food to 60 guests. We delivered using our own vehicles. The pandemic has taught people to adapt,” said Bharath Varadarajan, owner of ArrVee caterers.

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