It was May 16, a Saturday. Athithi (wedding services unit of Kalyanamalai) was launched on this day of the month, rendering the day a great meaning! The venue was Krishnaswamy Marriage Hall at T. Nagar, Chennai. Mrs. Meera Nagarajan, Director, Kalyanamalai gave the welcome address. The list of VIPs who attended the function included Director Visu, Mrs. Sudha Jeyendra, Mr. Subash Chandran, Padmashree Aruna Sairam, Professor K. Gnanasambhandam, Mr. Sukisivam, Orators Mr. Raja and Mrs. Bharathi Baskar, Advocate Sumathi, former Chief Electoral Officer Mr. Krishnamoorthy, Industrialist Mr. Appasamy, Mr. Varadarajan, MD, Kumudam, Mr. Srinivasan, GM, Ananda Vikatan, Kizhambur Mr. Sankarasubramanyan, Editor, Kalaimagal, Mr. Murali, proprietor, Krishna Sweets, actor Mr. Ajay and Mr. Kulothunga Chozhan.
Mr. Mohan’s parents Mrs. Kamakshi Vaidyanathan and Mr. Vaidyanathan and Mrs. Meera Nagarajan’s mother Mrs. Hamsa lit the conventional kuthuvilakku. Then, Mrs. Valli Natarajan and Mr. Natarajan also lit the lamp. After Pyramid Natarajan inaugurated the function, Mrs. Vasutha Ravi rendered the invocation song keeping the audience spellbound.
Mr. Mohan welcomed the audience. Meera Nagarajan explained the significance of the name Athithi (guest) and its maxim “Athithi Devo Bhava”- Guest is our God. She attributed the success of Kalyanamalai, which has thus far initiated 96,000 marriages to the rasi of Mrs. Kamakshi (Mother of Mr. Mohan ).
Mrs. Meera Nagarajan started with a flash back centering on Mr. Mohan. She recalled that a 15-year old boy in a town like Kumbakonam used to help the residents by attending to their needs and helping them in all their requirements. The boy later settled down in Chennai along with his brother. The boy was none other than Mr. Mohan. Mrs. Meera Nagarajan said, “Mr. Mohan continued his service even in Chennai in the 80s. In course of time, he thought of doing all the services under the banner of an organization. Wedding contracts were becoming popular at that time. Mostly, cooks were providing this contract service. Though Mr. Mohan knew nothing about cooking, he had a good idea about the ingredients required to make good food and he started the contract service based on his knowledge. All of us got involved in this service. When Kalyanamalai was started in 2000, our concentration was diverted and the contract service became secondary. But, Kalyanamalai didn’t talk much about this contract service because it didn’t want to create the impression that parents who approached Kalyanamalai for varans should not think that it might insist on giving the wedding contract also to Mr. Mohan. And, we were accepting orders from our friends circle only. But, when the parents sought the help of Kalyanamalai for fixing up marriage hall, catering etc., we realized that it was wrong on our part not to have mentioned about Mr. Mohan’s services. So, we’ve now enjoined the wedding contract service organization of Mr. Mohan with Kalyanamalai and have named it Athithi. We want your blessings and support. This is the first corporate company in south India that offers wedding contract services. We’ll get ISO certificate for Athithi also soon. Our functioning will be on the lines of a corporate but our services will be personalized. I thank all the visitors to this function for having honored us with their presence.”