Times have changed and so has every facet of our life. It is tradition that often falls prey to this fast-paced change. Perhaps in this long list of such crumbling practices is hiring a ‘Vilikkari’ to announce a wedding in the family.
In this era of wedding planners, who take care of everything from invitation to organising the reception, hiring a Vilikkari to invite your relatives and friends may sound a bit old fashioned. But in Kuttichira, where the mist of history still hangs is the air, this age-old practice of taking the service of a Vilikkari to announce a wedding is still in vogue.
Even today you find a Vilikkari visiting houses in the neighbourhood to invite the residents to the wedding on behalf of the bride or groom’s family.
‘Vilikkari’ is a local lingo used to describe these women who are professional inviters.
The ‘Vilikkari’ reads out the contents in the invitation addressed to those who are being invited.
“In Kuttichira, we have an elderly woman who continues to be in the profession. We fondly call her ‘Vilikkari’ Pathu,” says M. Alikoya, a resident and one of the members of CIESCO, a cultural organization in the locality. According to Mr. Koya, she is well-known in the locality and is still very much in demand.
Inviting people to a marriage function is a way of life for these women and they earn a fairly decent amount in the process. They are paid according to the number of houses they visit and on a good day, a Vilikkari earns at least Rs. 500.
But Vilikkaris are a vanishing tribe. With modernity setting in, most people think it is a lowly job. “Our children are educated and they take up other profession. They do not want to be associated with this tradition in any way,” says a close relative of a Vilikkari.
So as time slips by, Vilikkaris too will soon become a thing of the past.