The excise checkpost on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border on the fringes of the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is usually marked by the steady humdrum of the vehicles passing by and the long line of trucks ferrying supplies between the two states. But on Wednesday, the check-post drew festive cheers as it witnessed three couples, hailing from the two states, exchanging garlands and beginning their matrimonial lives.
The grooms live in Tamil Nadu and the brides on the Kerala side of the border. Due to Covid-19 and the lockdown that followed, the couples and their families had postponed their marriages that were scheduled to take place earlier. But having realised that the pandemic is here to stay for the next few months, the couples decided to tie the knot with safety measures in place.
The couples who got married in the space of one-and-a-half hours Wednesday were Suhanya-Manikandan, Vedakkani-Muthapparaj and Kasthuri-Nirmalraj.
Unlike other couples, who could still rent a hall or perform the wedding at their homes, these couples had to maneuver the legal complications that come with residing in two different states. With Covid infections sharply rising in both states, families couldn’t risk travelling to the other state to attend the wedding. And so, getting married at the border check-post with a few of their loved ones and a clutch of health and excise officials was the only way out.
Arun Kumar, a junior health inspector at the Kanthallur primary health centre, said, “The weddings were solemnised under the directions of the health department of Kerala with the attendance of very few people and safety measures in place. The check post and the items required for the wedding such as garlands were disinfected in advance. After the families took the necessary passes, it was coincidental that all three weddings fell on the same day.”
Even though the couples may not have dreamt of getting married in the middle of a road, surrounded by a dense jungle, the pandemic certainly has altered the way of life for many like them. There were no grand ceremonies. While two of the weddings were as per Christian rituals, the third was a Hindu wedding. There were no priests present. Afterwards, the brides left for the homes of the grooms and were subsequently tested for Covid-19 in Tamil Nadu.
“We had planned to conduct the wedding on June 24 (Wednesday. Due to Covid and considering the safety of everyone, we decided to have the wedding at the border itself. When we approached the health department, they agreed and helped us in organising it,” said Sudha, the mother of Suhanya, one of the brides.
“We had called many of our family members for the engagement earlier, so it was not disappointing that we couldn’t call them for the wedding,” she added.
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