When you ask people in their sixties or seventies for some unforgettable event that happened in their lives or in their families, they don’t think for a long time. They always have a plethora of stories to tell you. Sometimes, these stories are so mind boggling, you wonder if it really happened.
Modern kids will have countless arguments as to how such a situation could have been possible or how it could have been mitigated.
But the elders quell them with the words, “In the 50’s and 60’s, everything was different.”
Recently I heard this story that affected me a lot. But the youngsters in my family are still arguing over how unbelievable the story was.
This is the story of Damodharan (name changed)
Damodharan lived with his wife and two young children, six and nine years old. His wife had a sister of marriageable age. His wife’s parents were very old and having no sons, the onus of getting the sister married fell on Damodharan’s shoulders. He took up the responsibility in good spirit.
He went about the job of selecting the groom with a lot of thought. His wife and he worked together doing all the work that makes a wedding ceremony a happy occasion. They bought the wedding sarees, selected the wedding invites, went inviting to all their relatives houses, booked the wedding hall and contacted the wedding caterers and the priest to do the religious rites. In everything husband and wife worked together. The old parents in law were happy. The niece and nephew were happy. The bride herself was glowing with joy.
It was one joyful family that got ready on the day of the wedding.
The relatives had assembled, the holy fire was lit and the bride dressed in her finery was brought to the stage and seated before the priest who intoned the religious verses.
It was time to bring the groom to sit beside the girl and the wedding to proceed.
But the groom was nowhere to be found. He was absconding.
There was pandemonium in the wedding hall. The groom had left a letter behind saying that he was eloping with his girlfriend.
The bride had been seated at the manavarai or the seat before the wedding fire. It was ominous to even get up before the scared wedding thread was round her neck. Now they had to find another groom immediately.
Such a thing had happened before in some families, when the groom or bride refuses to the wedding at the last moment. On such occasions, they hurriedly find some relative’s son or daughter to step in and marry the jilted party. All with the elders blessings of course.
Even as they were debating whom they could find to marry their girl at the last moment someone stepped up to marry her.
It was her brother in law, Damodharan himself.
Everyone watched aghast as Dhamodharan, tied the thaali or wedding thread round her neck and made her his wife.
His first wife was not even able to comprehend, what was happening. Her husband did not ask her permission. He did not consult her or her parents. He just seized the opportunity and got himself a new young pretty wife. More pandemonium broke out at his audacity. There was a lot of shouting and name calling. But his wife did not utter a word.
She was dumbstruck. Speechless. Literally.
The shock was too much for her. She did not say anything. She just walked out of the wedding hall.
She stopped talking after that.
She refused to speak to anyone. Not even her children. She moved in with her parents and not all their cajoling would make her change her stance. No one knows if she really became dumb with shock, because she never spoke a word after that horrific moment when she watched her husband wed her little sister.
Also she never ever set eyes on her husband or her sister again and the grieving woman died a few years later.
As for Damodharan, he settled in a far off town with his new wife, two children and got himself two more daughters from the new wife. His life went on well and he lived to a ripe old age. Only the poor first wife died, young, humiliated and mute.
When people relate this story, they wonder if it was a ploy of Damodharan that the original groom ran away at the last minute. Maybe the older man had coveted the young prettier sister for a long time.
Could a man be so callous?
How about the sister? Was she in the know?
Maybe, she too reciprocated her brother in law’s love and was a conniving girl. In her youthful ardor, she may have thought that her sister could be consoled and within a few months she would back down and come to terms with the situation and all would be well. A man marrying two sisters had happened in our society before. But the older sister, being a strong proud woman, did not relent. She would rather die than accept this treachery.
Was the younger sister a wicked cunning person too? People wonder.
All these are conjunctures only.
Like they say in the Tamil, “Who knows, which viper resides in which hole.”
Story by S. Written by Gulsum Basheer@talkalittledo.
Image by Prawny from Pixabay
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay