The other night, as I was all concentrated in finishing the sweater I was knitting, which had long crossed my deadline, the phone rang. A little irritated by the interruption, I answered the call. It was a friend of mine, I hadn't heard from in a long time.
The first question he asked me was, "is your sister-in-law's son married"? I was a little taken aback from his abrupt enquiry, as we had never discussed my sister-in-law. However, he was more surprised when I answered in the affirmative. I would say, he was rather disappointed. He tried to make his question clear to me, in case I was sleepy. He said, I am asking about your sister-in-law's doctor son. I assured him that, I have only one sister-in-law and she has only one son, who happens to be a doctor and he got married last year. Out of curiosity, I asked him, whom was he groom-hunting for? He said, it is for my daughter, her birthstar is Moola. I exchanged a few niceties and that was that.
The day a daughter is born with the birth star, Moola, the father starts worrying about her marriage. As such, there are so many parameters to be matched in an Indian arranged marriage. Added to it, if the girl has a birthstar as Moola or Ayilyam, the father is doomed. It is believed that a girl with a birthstar as Moola or Ayilyam brings bad luck to the father-in-law. So, no family, where both parents are alive, agrees to take a girl having moola or Ayilya star as daughter-in-law. The father has to start looking grooms only from families where only one of the parents is alive. Thats how, my friend suddenly remembered about my sister-in-law's son.
I have often wondered how can it be that only in Kerala Brahmin community, the girl with Moola or Ayilya will bring bad luck to her father-in-law. I have heard that In the other communities in Kerala, a girl with Moola star is considered to be very auspicious. There are other communities where the girl's birth star is not considered during the time of marriage.
What happens to the fathers-in-law of such girls whose birth star may be Moola or Ayilya. Again, in our own community, there are families, who do not consider Moola or Ayilya as inauspicious and agree to marry a girl having Moola or Ayilya star and have lived happily with both the in-laws having long life. When I said this to a friend of ours, who was hunting for a groom for his only sister with Moola star,(finally this girl got married into a family where both father and mother were alive and they had a long life even after making a girl with Moola star as their daughter-in-law), he told me,"when you have a large variety to shop from, why would you want to buy a shop soiled item?"
My own aunt,whose birth star was Moola, married her own cousin with the consent of her uncle and aunt and there was no problem in the family.
All said and done, with all modern thinking, when it comes to marriage, we still want to cling on to the old sayings like, Moolathu mamiyar mukkile (the mother-in-law of moola girl will have to remain inside the house, meaning she will soon lose her husband), Ayilyathu mamiyar aasanthiyile (same as moolam), etc. The same moolam for a boy brings all luck to him. Aan moolam arasalum (a boy with moola star will rule the world). Such adages are attached to various other birthstars also, some bringing luck and someothers not so much luck. For example, Dhanishta (avittam)star is supposed to bring prosperity.
Avittam Tahvittu Panayile Panam ( a person with avittam birthstar will make money in any field he enters). Kettai kotta kettum (a person with birth star Jyeshta will make palaces), Makam poranda mangai (a girl born on maka star has all luck showered on her), Bharani dharani aalvan (a person with birth star Bharani will rule the world), Chithirayappan theruvile (a child with chitra star will bring illluck to its father), Athathappan arayolum (father of a child with Hastha star will live only until the child reaches the height of his father's waist) etc. We have living examples to prove all these as utter non-sense. In our own family, we have children with birthstars, chithirai, atham and the fathers have had a long and healthy life. Similarly, Mrigaseersha, Anusham, Swathi, Uthram are all supposed to bring loads of luck.
This has led to a very interesting phenomenon today. Today, in India, most of the children are delivered through ceasarian section (the doctors can plan for the surgery so as not to interefere with their other appointments) and hence the doctors ask the parents to decide on the date and time (and hence the birth star) they like their child to be born.