All's Well That Ends Well
by Vaman Acharya
Raag Bhairavi Shehnai of Ustad Bismillah Khan was hitting the ears of guests present in the marriage function. It was on Friday 20th October 2000, Seeta Rama Kalyana Mantapa was fully decorated and illuminated. The occasion was the wedding ceremony of Praniti and Sujay. The muhurtam was fixed at 7 in the morning. The Kalyana Mantapa was located in the heart of Pavanpur town.
Well dressed girls were standing at the entrance door to welcome the guests with scent and akshata packed in a beautiful plastic cover. The boys in uniform were serving cold drinks to the guests. The preparations of marriage rituals were going on in full swing. Bride and groom were asked to wear a special wedding dress. Praniti’s uncle Murari and aunt Suma were busy in the arrangement of Kanyadana ritual. The hall was packed with the guests. The kids were playing in the passage.
An old man in the last row was sitting alone on the chair. His eyes were wet and tears were rolling down. Nobody was there to notice this old man. Everybody was busy with their work.
Who was this old man?
He was none other than the father of the bride Praniti.
Why he was in a pitiable condition?
Five years back, he lost his wife in a bus accident. Praniti was just 15- year-old girl and studying in the first year Pre-university course. Mukund Arakeri was both mother and father to Praniti. He brought up his daughter with all the love and affection. He was working as a teacher in Vivekananda High School, Pavanpur. Arakeri was retired after four years of his wife’s demise. Praniti continued her further education and completed a Bachelor of Commerce in first class. Her goal was to become a Chartered Accountant and practice at Bengaluru.
One day, Arakeri’s younger brother Murari insisted Praniti should get married to his brother-in-law Sujay. Both brothers were living jointly in their inherited house in Pavanpur. Apart from the house, they were owning agricultural landed property. Murari was managing the landed property. His wife Suma supported her husband for the marriage of Praniti with Sujay. This was totally opposed by Praniti and her father. Because Sujay was a school dropout. He had all kinds of bad habits. He rarely visits his native place Chandrapur. Sujay was staying in Pavanpur with his sister. Out of love, his sister gave him money whenever he demands. As a result of this Sujay became lazy. Praniti and her father hate him. The misunderstandings between brothers reached to the extent of breaking up of their relationship.
Arakeri was unable to tolerate injustice going to be done to Praniti.
A fortnight before the marriage he called Murari and said, "Murari, don't you think, you are committing a sin by forcibly trying to convince Praniti for marriage with Sujay."
"Brother, I am neither committing sin nor pressurising Praniti to accept my proposal. In fact, I am doing good for the welfare of your daughter and my
daughter Praniti. Sujay is a nice boy. Praniti will lead a happy life with Sujay."
"Murari, you are acting on the behest of Suma. Sujay being her young brother, she had a lot of affection towards him. Both of you are spoiling the life of Praniti. Try to understand the reality and cancel the marriage," said Arakeri with folded hands.
Murari left the place without giving due respect to his elder brother. He had created such a situation in which his elder brother and Praniti had to accept the wedding proposal. The marriage date was fixed on Friday, 20th October 2000. On the day of marriage, all the people gathered in Seeta Rama Kalyana Mantap.
Praniti was seriously thinking about how to break this marriage. It was not an easy task. She recollected the stories of brave girls, who exhibited courage until the goal achieved. She was an ardent devotee of Hanuman. Every Saturday, she used to have one-time food and visit Hanuman temple. Those who are on the right path, God will certainly help them. Arakeri came to the rescue of Praniti whenever she was in trouble. She was waiting for the right time to jump into the action. Pandit told the bride and the groom to get up from their seat for exchange of garland and then be ready for showering of akshata. Dry coloured rice generally mixed with turmeric powder is showered on the bride and the groom as blessings. Symbolically akshata represents prosperity, fertility and bounty. Praniti without wasting single minute took two garlands and ran fast towards the young man Anuj seated in the first row of the guests. Praniti and Anuj exchanged the garland in the presence of all the people.
The guests who were holding akshata in their hands showered on the couple. Most of the guests knew that Pranati didn't give consent to marry Sujay. It was a forceful marriage. Anuj was her classmate in the college. After graduation, he joined his family business.
The situation was very tense. Murari, Suman and Sujay became terribly angry. They were in dilemma as to how to deal with the situation. Murari shouted from the platform. Nobody came to his help. The groom with terrible insult got up to catch hold of Praniti. By the time he went there, she was in the car with Anuj and Arakeri. Everybody was surprised to watch the situation. Some of them derived enjoyment. Police arrived on the spot and arrested Murari, Suma and Sujay on the basis of first information report filed against them.
The car meant for Praniti and Anuj was decorated with rose flowers parked outside the main door. The trio occupied the seats in the car. The driver started the car fast to Hanuman temple, where everything was already arranged for the marriage. Mukund Arakeri was happy for the developments. His agony was completely disappeared. The grand plan was designed by him in consultation with Praniti and Anuj.
All's is well that ends well. ***