Rajesh looked around anxiously from his car on the pavement outside the Bata store. He could not talk to Ranjitha as she had specifically told him not to give her a ring to her home. He had sent a sms “All arranged at Tiruneermalai temple. The muhurtam will be at 9.30am tomorrow. Please be at the Bata shop at 8.00 am. I will pick you up. Do not bring any jewelry or clothes. I have arranged everything. Cheers “.He hoped that she did not develop cold feet at the last moment. They have been in love for nearly two years and wished to marry. His parents were against it. She did not even broach the subject to her parents for she was sure they will shoot it down without a second thought. They were old fashioned and very conservative and would not countenance her marrying someone from outside their own caste.
He was relieved when he saw her outside the Bata shop in her usual Salwar khameez with a small bag in her hand. As she got into the car, he said“Ranjitha, I am so happy that you are on time. I have bought a gorgeous silk sari with matching blouse. I have also got a mangal sutra along with a few jewels for you. We will have our breakfast on our way and proceed to the temple. My friends would be overseeing the arrangements. After a short and simple ceremony, we will be off for our honeymoon at Mauritius in the evening. Do not be afraid. Everything will pass off smoothly”.
“I am very much afraid, Rajesh. My parents left early morning for some function they told me. It was easy for me to come away as my younger brother had also left with them. I have never done anything till this day without my parent’s knowledge. I cannot imagine that I have run away from my home like this. But I cannot dream of being without you” she said.
After a small breakfast, they changed themselves to the wedding costume. He wore a silk dhoti and a cream colored silk kurta.She looked beautiful in the deep maroon silk sari with heavy zari borders. She had worn the gold chains, gold bangles and diamond stud that Rajesh had bought for her.
As they reached the top of the hill to the temple, they were shell shocked to find Ranjitas parents and her brother all decked in fine clothes.Ranjita expected the worst and feared her dad would explode in rage and do unseemly things. Instead both were smiling and beckoned Ranjita and Rajesh towards them. Is this a lull before the storm, she wondered? She didn’t know how her parents in the first place came to know about their secret plans. Nevertheless both of them fell down to touch their feet.
“Don’t be surprised, Ranju. Your alert brother saw Rajesh’s message coming to your mobile when you were having a shower and instantly showed it to us. We realized that things have gone too far and there was no reason or point to go against your wishes. Rajesh is also an eminent match except that he belonged to another caste. But we decided to overlook it and give you a surprise. We are taking charge of the wedding from now on from your Rajesh and his friends” said her dad.
It was then that Rajesh heard a familiar booming voice calling “Rajesh, congratulations. We have come in time” He turned to look and found his parents and sisters all attired for the occasion. Surprise writ large on his face, Rajesh gave a sheepish grin and a questioning look. His dad said “Sammandhi was kind enough to telephone me last night of your secret escapade and requested us to agree for the alliance. We also wished to join the celebrations when we knew that nothing can stop you from attaining your dream girl” his dad said
The priest said “It is getting late. Let us start” and signaled to the melam to start playing. The two young things were in cloud nine.