Fiction: The Impetuous Wedding

**The story is inspired by true events that happened almost a decade ago

 

The swaying rice fields look exquisite during the harvesting season, glistening like gold in the afternoon sun. A delightful sight to behold with a plate of Narikol laddu and Til Pitha. Like every year, popular Bihu songs filled the frosty streets of the countryside. But, the happiness failed to reach my heart as my life began to take an unforeseen turn this winter.

I am Fagun, your average village lass, pretty enough to turn a few heads at the grocery store, and smart enough to pass my higher secondary examination. Our village resides on the bank of river Jhanji, that looks stunning almost every season except in the monsoon when it swells and submerges all the nearby villages. There have been days when the water would flow into our thatched roof house, while I would be cooking on a portable stove, sitting atop the makeshift dining table. The water level would be high enough for me to lean down and wash the utensils. And even in those days, I had never felt lost and desperate as I felt on that fateful night of January.

I had fallen for a boy who lived on the other end of the village. We had been dating secretly for over 10 months. Ours is a community where everybody knew everybody. Sometimes, old women from nearby villages would stop me and ask if I am Mimi’s daughter as I look exactly like her. So you see, keeping my love story secret, was a humongous task.

It’s not that Atanu was of questionable character, but I was sure Ma-Deuta would never approve of a love affair and the bad name it could bring to the family. My elder sister was still unmarried at the age of 35. In a village like ours, tongues waggle and people insinuate all sorts of things.

**************

In the morning just a few days before Magh Bihu, Atanu suggested that we go to the fair in the city. I had hardly visited the city in the past year. The visits were limited to special occasions like Durga Pooja or Rongali Bihu. The thought of spending a whole day together, without the worry of being caught filled my heart with excitement. The plan was to sneak out of our homes late in the morning and return well before sundown. I made an excuse of going to visit a friend and then we boarded the bus together to Jorhat city.

The fair was huge with a variety of food stalls, clothing shops, roller coaster rides, and my favorite – candy floss. We talked non-stop, laughing at each other’s tales – just two young people in love. As the evening started rolling in, we made our way to the bus stop. But the sight made my heart sink. Due to a bus malfunction, hundreds of people had already queued for the bus that would take us back to the village. Although the journey is only an hour long, there was no way we could possibly reach home before dark. Dreadfully, I stood in the queue, waiting for the next bus.

It was past 8 pm when I walked through the familiar path of our neighborhood. I was trembling with the fear of confronting my parents. Atanu silently walked beside me, probably just as nervous at the prospect of an impending outburst. From afar, I could see a huge crowd in our front yard. Someone was wailing, and there were few angry voices too.

Where were you?“, Deuta screamed at me as soon as I reached the gate. I had never seen him this furious before. Ma was crying non-stop while my sister consoled her.
I went to the fair… in… in the city“, I said, almost in a whisper, still unable to understand why Ma was crying.

“Fair? FAIR? You think I am a fool. You ran away with that boy.

It was then I understood the situation. When I didn’t return in the evening, my parents and cousins went in search of me. A shopkeeper at the bus stop told them that I was seen boarding a bus with Atanu. As the hours passed by, they started suspecting that I had eloped. Married him in a temple or alike.

I could barely utter a word. I cried and tried to convince them that I had only gone to the fair, we didn’t get married – but to no avail.

“You have to marry her. Take her to your home. Tonight!“, I heard my father’s stony voice.

Atanu looked perplexed. I was too shocked to say anything in return. Some of the villagers tried to convince Deuta against this rash decision, but he was obstinate.

Marry her now or never step in this house again. This has brought enough shame to our family

Atanu looked at me, our eyes met and then he turned to Deuta,” Ok, I will take her to my home“.

I stayed at his house that night, and then the next day we were married in a small ceremony. His parents were just as shocked as we were, but they did not wish their son’s name to be dragged into a scandal like this.

Life has been different since then. I became a daughter-in-law, a mother a year later. I was not the same carefree girl who ran in the narrow paths between paddy fields. But at least I am happy, that I could spend my life with the man I love.

********************

Deuta – Dad
Ma – Mother
Narikol Laddu – Coconut Laddu (sweets)
Til pitha – An Assamese sweet make of rice powder and crushed sesame seeds mixed with jaggery.
Magh Bihu –  A festival in Assam celebrating the harvesting of rice
Rongali Bihu – A festival in Assam, celebrated in mid-April marking the start of a new year.

the impetuous wedding - creative writing

16 thoughts on “Fiction: The Impetuous Wedding

  1. Loved your story, Raj.
    Your words brought alive the village and the characters, for me.
    The end made me let out a breath I did not know I was holding.
    You should write fiction more often.

  2. I am a little conflicted with this story. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that she got her happily-ever-after.
    But then the tale also highlights how little choice she had in the matter.

    It’s good that their love was true. But what if this was just a passing crush, and then she would have still been forced to marry a boy who was just a mistake, only because she went to a fair with him.

    Nonetheless, I enjoyed the read. 🙂

  3. This story felt so real, Raji. I am glad she married he love but I feel sad for the lack of freedom and choice in many parts of our country. It saddens me that choosing a partner becomes such a big deal here.

  4. One should always marry for love, nothing else. I’m glad she got that.

    Very well narrated, Raj. Loved it!

  5. Absolutely loved the visual imagery you created with your words Raj! I could picturize the natural beauty of the land, the young love, its fears and thrills. I wish you had continued the story as a series though! Ye dil maange more!

  6. Liked the narration, but the impetuous wedding, well, the couple didn’t get enough time to realise whether it was just a crush or something serious enough to get married for. Anyway, in India, we have arranged marriages, so they will figure it out – love and companionship. 🙂

  7. Oh dear looks like my comment didn’t come through. This story took me back to my carefree days at Jorhat, with it’s vivid imageries.
    At least she was married off to the love of her life and not some random guy. Though way to early for the couples expectation.
    You should write fiction more often Raj.

  8. Lovely narration Raj. It brought back vivid imageries from my carefree days at Jorhat. Atleast she was married off to the love of her life and not any random guy. But the sad part is, just too early for her and his expectation.

    You should write fiction more often.

  9. Stepping into married life just because they went out together! That’s scary. And that’s what felt shameful to me, not falling in love or spending a day together or dating! But then these are the truths in many parts of the world. Beautiful narration, Raj!

  10. During my stay in Delhi for 2 years, I lived in the North Eastern Students House for women hostel. Reading your story took me back to the stories that we would share with each other about the festivals that we shared in common, language that had everything similar except the pronunciation of r as h. A very beautiful story that refreshed my memories tonight.

  11. Well, that could have ended badly…

    Silly people, but at least it all turned out well in the end. My mother would never have condoned a premarital love affair – or so she carefully led me to believe until well after I was married, at which point she admitted that only about 4-6 people in the whole world would’ve given a rat’s whiskers. (I mean, if the whole village sees fit to gossip, that’s their issue – but it’s really none of their business. They should ask themselves why they care or give a moment’s thought to the love or sex lives of other people, because that’s just weird.)

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