It was a double wedding. Meera and her brother Ram decided to help their parents save money and get married on the same day. The relatives were common and so were the friends and besides, the cooks were available only on that day. Not to talk of the hall, which was heavily booked during the season. Moreover, Meera, an architect, would not have been able to get away from work again for sometime and Ram an engineer, wanted to accumulate his annual leave for a trip abroad. A practical solution to all this was a dual ceremony.
They made an unusual pair- Meera and Vijay her husband. Very unlike a bride Meera sported a simple saree and no jewellery at all. Her hair was in a plait with not even a rose adorning it! As she flitted around, before the ‘muhurtam’, no one guessed she was the bride. A few elderly relatives tried to convince her to wear flowers and at least a few bangles but she was adamant. Her mother, who was besieged by interfering aunts, put up her hand and said she did not want to force her daughter to do anything she did not like.
As for the groom, he was in a colourful ‘T’ shirt over a pair of faded jeans. The auspicious moment was fast approaching and the elders were anxiously looking for the pandits. But Meera and Vijay had no intention of going through a ritual. They picked up a garland each, exchanged it and to soothe her mother’s superstitious beliefs, Meera let Vijay tie the ‘mangalsutra’. They were man and wife.
Ram’s bride on the other hand was decked to the hilt. Her long braid was entwined with fresh flowers and her heavy Kanjivaram was draped to trail as she walked. Her ankle bells tinkled and her gold and diamond sparkled as she chatted with her cousins. Ram was in a silk kurta and dhoti and they both waited for the Pandit.
To the chanting of marriage vows and tune of ‘shehanai’ Ram took his bride around the fire seven times and they were man and wife. Half an hour later, both the couples could be seen on a motorbike, speeding away to the nearest hill station, for a honeymoon!
For the next couple of months, Meera was the talk of the town. Women criticized her for taking lightly an auspicious occasion by refusing to wear flowers and jewellery. They refused to accept a marriage without the intervention of pandits and the presence of ‘agni’. They decried the indulgence of the mother who did not advise her 'misguided' daughter to do the right thing.
But they were wrong. Meera had the courage to resist rituals she did not believe in and make the most memorable day of her life, a significant one, for herself and her husband. After all that’s what marriage is all about- a union of hearts to their hearts content -not a social ‘tamasha’ that we make of it.