[ultimate_heading main_heading=”The Marriage Ban by Amrita Sharma – Issue.XXI: October 2016 ” main_heading_color=”#1e73be” sub_heading_color=”#8224e3″ spacer=”line_with_icon” spacer_position=”bottom” line_style=”dotted” line_height=”1″ line_color=”#1e73be” icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^48|url^http://ashvamegh.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Ashvamegh-ICO.jpg|caption^null|alt^Ashvamegh Journal Icon|title^Ashvamegh ICO|description^null” img_width=”48″ main_heading_style=”font-weight:bold;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:34px;” line_width=”3″ margin_design_tab_text=””]humour all around…[/ultimate_heading]

The Marriage Ban

Introduction to the Author:

Amrita Sharma is an aspiring writer who is just at the threshold of her writing career. She is currently a student of English Literature and is a firm believer in the power that words hold.

In the small village of Bhagan, marriage was strictly forbidden! For no man or woman in this village, irrespective of his status or caste, was ever allowed to conduct any of the marriage rituals within the village boundaries.

Well, it had so happened that around eleven years ago, in the marriage of the richest man of the village, a fire had broken out that had devoured half of the village’s wealth. But this was surely not all, for it was only the beginning of a series of the doomed marriages. The next eleven marriages had all met with terrible endings. Soon the village had started to gain the reputation of a ‘land of doomed marriage ceremonies’ and so it had all ended with the entire community unanimously deciding to conduct no more marriages within their village!

Such was the scenario in the village when Anand arrived. One of the village men, on his trip to the town, had accidently run into Anand and had mistaken him to be his long lost son whom fate had departed from his family. Anand, who was too weary of his nomadic life, was only too happy to have found such a chance to live a comfortable life, and his acting talents only helped him too well to play this role of a long lost son of a father who had already declared him his son beyond any doubts.

It had barely been a month since Anand arrived in the village and he had already become too used to his new life. The village had given him all- a family, money, friends and also the love of his life Radha whom he had started to love deeply. But soon as he became familiar with the village customs, he was explained of the ban that had been put on conducting marriages within the village.

Mostly all boys and girls of the village were married in other villages and since the marriage ban, no two families in the village had made a marriage alliance between their children.

But what was Anand to do now? He lived in the village and so did Radha! However, he knew that ‘Honesty was always the best policy’ and by carefully applying it to a selected part of his life, Anand told his village father all about his love affair. This brought no reaction from his father, who only cursed fate for keeping his son away from him for too long that he had turned into such a boy who would disrespect the village customs!

So nothing could be done. Anand could not give up his new family, but neither could he live without his love. The question of marrying Radha in another village was beyond consideration for no other village was ever willing to take the risk of marrying a couple from Bhagan, for all feared that the doom might come over their village as well. And so while Anand’s mind was wrestling with these thoughts, he was struck with an idea! Maybe this was the right time, he thought. The village had given him so much, and maybe it was now his turn to return the favour! Yes, he would marry Radha in this very village and lift it out of its superstitious ban.

About a month later, all was set. Almost the entire village and even people from nearby villages had gathered in Bhagan to witness the grand play that was annually conducted by the village boys during the village festival. Only there was a difference this time, for along with the boys, Radha too was playing a role in the play, Of course nobody except Anand and a few other village boys, who were only too eager to witness a marriage in their village, knew of the plan.

The plan was only too simple. Instead of the boy, Radha would play the bride with her face covered behind a veil, and while the play would go on, Radha and Anand would marry in front of all without anyone knowing. And when their marriage would end, Anand would reveal it to all and everyone would happily embrace the fact that their village was no more doomed for marriages!

All went exactly as planned. Anand and Radha got married with real ceremonies performed by a real priest, while all enjoyed the play as a costume drama. After the play, Anand stepped up before the audience for his grand and enlightening speech, but before he could begin, someone in the audience cried: “Come on everyone, there has been a tragedy! The temple roof has collapsed and a young couple who were about to be married in the bride’s nearby village have been hurt badly”

A man from the nearby village shouted: “Oh God! This village land is cursed even for a marriage within a costume drama! Let us all ban this play in this village!”

There were nods of agreement all around while Anand stood there weighing the odds of confession against those of escape!