This couple in Banda decided to ditch their ghoonghat and sehra for masks and did a quickie corona wedding with less than 10 guests in attendance
A lockdown is no match for an arranged marriage. But defying the odds, in the Khaptiha Kala village of Banda district, and in the presence of their immediate family, a couple tied the knot while maintaining social distancing.
Who would have thought that a wedding of mutual consent would ever leave us surprised?
But unusual times call for unusual measures. This wedding, held in Tindwari block, maintained the norms of social distancing even as the bride and groom started a life together. The couple was set to marry on 25th of April but with the lockdown the wedding would have to be postponed indefinitely. Instead, their families ensured that the wedding would happen as planned. “We had a date set for the wedding but because of the lockdown nothing could happen. So, we went ahead and got them married by following all the social distancing protocols”, says the bride’s father.
To organize the wedding, the bride’s family approached Jaahar Singh, Sunita (the wife of the village pradhaan) and a Gram Panchayat representative himself. “The girl’s father informed me that the wedding can’t happen because of the lockdown. It was my suggestion to call the groom’s side and, if they agreed, to get them married at a temple. Once they reached the village, we took them to the temple. We made them wash hands with soap. We ensured everyone was wearing a mask. And as per the government’s mandate we got them married by maintaining a distance of about a meter, meter and a half from each other.”
In Bundelkhand, relationships outside of marriages are frowned upon and if caught, one of the ways of making the situation palatable is to get the couple married as soon as possible. Both the families maintain that this was not the reason for the haste. “They were due to get married on 25th April, they got married earlier than that only because of the lockdown.”, says the village pradhan.
Since the first stage of the lockdowm, places of worship have been closed indefinitely to prevent crowds. Despite that the couple along with eight to 10 people managed to get married at the Kaali temple. “The temple is locked but we stood outside and put our faith in the goddess as our witness. The couple exchanged garlands right outside the temple doors. The bride is not just from my village but also from my mohalla. So it was my duty to help,” explained Jaahar Singh.
Ram Sajivan, father of Sheelu, the bride, is happy that his daughter’s wedding did not get delayed. “There was no pressure, and neither did it happen against anyone’s wishes. The marriage happened now because of the lockdown and we spent what we could on it. It was attended by the Pradhaan and members of our family.” Their neighbor, Raju also confirms that there were no more than eight or 10 people attending the wedding. “We followed all the instructions of social distancing. There was no crowd. We attended the wedding and just like the government’s orders, the permission was for eight to ten people to attend the wedding. It was done under the watchful eyes of our Pradhaan ji and was done without breaking any laws. The wedding happened outside the temple so it was all above board.”
The bride was sent off in lockdown style too. While the groom came to the village on his motorcycle, the Pradhaan arranged for his vehicle to drop Sheelu to her husband’s village. “Now it’s up to them to either get their daughter back for the traditional after-wedding ceremony. Or else she can continue to stay there.” Says Jaahar Singh.
On the other hand, Varsha, the bride from another unique wedding in Mahoba, had dreamt of a lot of festivities for her big day, but her father and brother are happy that they didn’t have to take out a loan for her wedding, thanks to the lockdown. A family friend going so far as to say “shaadi ho toh aisi ho!”
In times of the pandemic, when it seems like every “normal” life event the world took for granted has been indefinitely put on hold – these lockdown weddings in the time of coronavirus are but bittersweet adjustments to “a new normal”, here to stay.