It was my sis’ wedding! I was damn excited….
Last few weeks before marriage, I kept visiting Fancy Bazaar regularly after class. Jyotirmoy helped me a lot in choosing and buying my stuff, though bargaining was my own responsibility. Thanks to my dear father for sending me couple of thousands for buying some Assam silk mekhela sadar.
I bought one mekhela sadar set for the Wedding day, which was Navy blue with big golden polka all over. “It’s your marriage or Sis’ marriage?” Jyotirmoy kept teasing me all the time…. I bought this set, because Navy blue was Jyotirmoy’s favourite colour. It’s been just few months, we had been going around. Shopping was a kind of dating for us. We would shop, walk till Naak kota pukhuri, eat chowmin and then catch the bus, and go back to the university hostel. I bought one simple Muga silk mekhela Sadar set too for the Juron. To match with both the dress, I had to buy lots of jewelries, like matching bangles, necklace, finger rings, earrings, bindies…and for make-up …nail polish, blusher, eye-shadows…what not!!! After all, I was the Bride’s one and only sister!
I called up my sister so many times if she needed anything, but always she said, “No!”…as if she was not excited at all to marry. I didn’t see any enthusiasm in her talks… I knew that she had a boyfriend for many years, but as the guy was from different caste and had no decent source of income, my parents did not accept that relation. She fought for sometime with parents, but at last she gave up and agreed to marry this guy who was engineer in ONGC.
I reached home three days before wedding. Tent work was almost over. Mandap for Choklong* and pavilion for the bride for the reception was yet to be made. I took initiative of choosing flowers for those space.
But, what I observed that there was no bridal charm reflecting in my sis' face. I tried to talk to her, understand why she was soo upset, though I was four years younger to her. She just cried in front of me at night, saying she did not want to get married. I infact scolded her if she was not ready for the marriage, why she said “Yes” to our parents, and now we had come to such a stage that we could not go back.
All relatives started coming from near and far. I could see my sis smiling a bit, which made me a bit relaxed.
Juron* came next day morning, at around 10 am. It was an awesome Juron….Eleven beautiful Assam Silk and Muga Silk Mekhela Sadar, two gold ornament set, one silver set, twelve gold bangles, five beautiful gold finger rings….The juron awestruck all our relatives….everyone started saying, “Runu, you are sooo lucky, going to such a rich family….” But, I still could not see any excitement in her expression, though she tried to smile in front of everyone.
In the evening, there was a musical celebration along with “Murot Tel dia” ritual. When the dusk came, the ladies went to collect water from the nearby river to bathe the bride. I had to hold the main water vessel. All ladies kept singing biya naam (wedding song) all the way….
We came back, two aunts went inside the house to take my sister out to the place where there was a small mandap, made of banana stem for bathing ritual.
We kept waiting for half an hour…..my hands were aching, holding the vessel. I was not allowed to put it down. Some ladies got irritated…..
“Runu is not at home…….” One aunt came running……
“What???” All got horrified…..some got amused too ofcourse…..
I understood what might happened……I just wished her safety silently…..All guys started searching her here and there…..It was already dark. Some searched in the nearby well, some went to search in the pond….Number of Torch became uncountable….
Mom almost fainted……..Dad was crying whom I knew as a strong man……I just silently went to the room and started crying putting my head down on the bed……..
Few hours passed.
Two of my aunts came to my room and just sat beside me.
“It’s the matter of prestige of two families now...” One aunt initiated…
“Pradip saw Runu and a guy together getting into a bus in the mainroad. She eloped….She destroyed all your family’s reputation.”
“Your uncle informed the groom's family about the incident…..They are shattered…..”
“After a long conversation, they are proposing one solution…..If you agree…….They saw you in the Juron…..”
“What????” I was shocked….My head was spinning……
“Cool down Junu….you are matured enough……you understand everything…..Think about your parent’s condition…..You can somehow manage till some extent….” Another aunt said.
Mom, Dad and Uncle entered my room after sometime…..
Mom was still crying loud…..Dad too was crying…sat on the floor near me on his knees…
“She already cut my nose….You are the last hope, my love, please keep my prestige..….” My Dad’s cry became loud and louder….
All eyes were looking at me…….Jyotirmoy’s smiling face came to my front as hallucination……as if saying, “You will look extremely charming in the Navy blue Mekhela Sadar on your Wedding day!”
* Juron : A ritual when Groom's family comes to gift the Bride, before wedding, generally, one day before the D-day.
* Choklong: The main ritual of exchanging vows, specially for Ahom dynasty.