Wedding saviours

Girija strode back and was shocked to find the store-room locked from outside.

It was summer in Chennai and just around dawn. Under a well-illuminated floral canopied stage, the wedding proceedings were in full swing. Senior men and women and priests in traditional attire squatted around the bride and groom. A grand old lady with weak knees, seated snugly in an arm chair, urged someone to call the lady in-charge of the store-room.

Clad in a hipster silk-saree, Girija, after securely locking the bride’s room, was striding towards the stage when a thin-built young mother with a crying infant over her shoulder stopped her. She said she was seeking a secluded place to breastfeed the baby and beseeched Girija to permit her into the bride’s room. The lady was impressively attired in a designer-blouse and lehenga-saree and wore considerable jewellery.

Girija considered the plight of the young lady for a moment, and then open-ed the bride’s room and permitted her in. She placed the lock-and-key bunch in an alcove and left the place after instructing the lady to remain in the room until she returned. When she came to the stage, the bride’s grandmother cupped her hand over Girija’s ear and whispered that the auspicious duration would commence shortly and, therefore, she should quickly fetch the thirumangalyam – or mangalsutra – kept in a velvet box.

Girija strode back and was shocked to find the store-room locked from outside. Beads of sweat gathered on her forehead. She mentioned about the young lady with the infant and described her attire to people. The lady was identified from the CCTV images. Soon, many were searching for a woman with baby-in-arms but to no avail.

The bride’s father had a duplicate key for the lock, with which the store-room was opened. Girija was the first to enter the room. She was shell-shocked to find the young woman’s designer blouse and lehenga-saree tossed into a corner. She opened the steel trunk and found the velvet box missing.

The auspicious duration was almost over, yet the groom’s parents maintained aplomb. They suggested that since the next auspicious time would commence only after 2 hours, another set of thirum-angalyam could be arranged. Seeing the plight of the bride’s parents, the groom’s father told them that his brother and sister-in-law would bring one shortly.

No sooner had he said this, a honking car rounded the portico and a senior couple alighted. The lady was waving a tiny blue box to the groom’s dad and passed it on to the stage. After an hour or so, the proceedings began from where they had been stalled for want of thirumangalyam. Girija and the bride’s parents expressed their eternal indebtedness to the groom’s father.

The wife of the groom’s uncle was heard telling someone in the gathering, “for my daughter Kousalya’s wedding, we had kept ready the thirumangalyam and that came in handy now. Her wedding is fixed for next Friday here!”

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