- Gorokhiah Gaon was situated in the latitudes 92.5” East and 24” North longitude. As one
would drive down the town of Diham, which is situated beside the River Disang which flows from the East to West of this town, at the outskirts of the town where the last intersection occurs, going down through the right intersection that is turning northwards and travelling a kilometer or two, one
would find this village of Gorokhiah Gaon. It is a typical Assamese village with cultivation fields surrounding the village, and the above named River flowing beside it to the north, and inhabited by about thirty families most of whom are cultivators while only a few are service-employed. The village does not have any family of businessmen who can be said to be earning their bread through business or trade. One of the families who did not own any cultivation fields did some share cropping as an occupation and there was another whose fields being small to sustain them all year, did manual labor in the town to maintain themselves. Like other villages, this one also had a communal prayer hall locally called a Naamghar – Naam for prayer and ghar for building and presided over by a Man versed in the Vaisnavite scriptures and knowing the practice of its rituals and ceremonies and commonly addressed as a ‘Dangoriah’ – sort form of one who is a ‘grandee’ or one who is respected is the society. This respectable person of the village remained a bachelor and although he was a little above fifty years of age, he looked like one under forty. This dangoriah or grandee maintained a civility with all the people of the village including the female sex. And he had also friendships with some other personages of his rank and class with the adjoining villages. In addition to that, he maintained a good friendly relation with the imams of the mosques of the
adjacent Town and the Padre or Father of the Church in the Town. Most of the Imams of the town
he becomes acquainted ‘regularly’ as the occasion arises for, these persons change from time to time and new ones take their place in time. But with the Padre or father, his acquaintance has passed more than ten years for he has been living in the town’s church as father for more than a decade and had been engaged in various missionary and social welfare activities in the town. This village, like all other villages too had a government primary and middle school where the majority of the teachers are from other villages. But for the upper-level, students of this village go to the town or to other villages as it lacks a ‘Higher Secondary or High School’ for lack of optimum students. This is the scenario of the village as it is seen now and as it has been from the last two or more decades–unchanging. But a little incident which cannot be termed a major one, but which touched a family and connected this caretaker or Dangoriah of the village communal prayer hall, occurred one day and about which people of other part may want to know.
- As mentioned earlier, there were only a few families engaged in Govt. services in this village. One of these had a surname of ‘Damodar’ and whose patriarch or head of the family is the sole member of the family founded by his father in this village. He had a younger sister who had been married to another village, not far off from this village. This Mr. Damodar, who educated himself upto the Master’s degree in the Commerce Stream, works as an Upper Division Clerk in a Public Sector Bank in another town. And during the happening of this incident, he had only been transferred by a month from this Town’s branch of his Bank and, as it requires a journey of nearly
- two hours from his village to that town’s branch, he has rented a one-roomed house in the new
town to save his time and energies. His family consisted of four members including him, his wife and two children -the eldest a son who is in the tenth standard and who will be appearing in his
matriculation the next year and a girl who has become an adult-biologically-and study in the eight
standards. Being a serviceman and well-paid, he decided to educate his children in the English medium and so enrolled them in an English School of the Town. The children were brilliant in their studies. Only the boy was a little whimsical and lacked complete control over his passions which led to the incident about which some people expressed a desire to know.
This boy or rather Damodar Junior, as we shall address him, has been lately in love with oneof his class/batch-mates from some months past. She was from the same section as his. Now most lovers of his age are blind or are rather blinded by love, a type of blindness more mental than corneal. Both Damodar Junior and his love were heels-over-head in love but love overwhelmed
- Damodar Junior so much that, blame it on the Television, the Net (Short for Internet) or the environment if you like, he felt a fantasy for marriage-the girl he loved to be his wife. No sooner had he perceived this fantasy he conveyed it to his classmate love. And no sooner his love heard his fantasy; she expressed her willingness for marriage-to be his wife and to be with him all her life -at least ideally. And as love blinds the mind more than the eye, this naive loving pair decided to secretly ‘tie the knot’ as soon as the half-yearly exams of their school in that year finished. Now, they say “lovers find a way somehow” and this Damodar Junior also found a way to
- covertly marry his love. He had seen his mother, countless women and also newlyweds apply a round spot of vermilion on their foreheads and draw a red line with this vermilion on their scalps where their hair parts. “Symbol of a married Hindu Women”, his mother had told him once. So he planned his ‘modus-operandi’ thus: He would insert a round spot on the forehead and smear a line
- with vermilion on the scalp where the hair parts in his love’s forehead, stolen from his mother’s ‘vermilion box’ and bring his love home on the day his half-yearly examinations are over. In this way neither his parents nor hers can deny their Unison. And all would accept them as husband and wife.
- He smiled to himself a satisfactory smile; not knowing what other things fate is storing for him.
- Damodar Junior had conveyed his modus-operandi to his young-love. She at once consented
- to this scheme. And with this scheme in their minds, they hastily passed the candid days of their examination-hastily in that although they could not speed-up the routine of the examination, and had indeed given the examination with a clear, balanced mind, they were mentally eager to find the
- last of their exam-days over and their summer-vacations started-to give fruition to their months-old-scheme.
- All lovers’ cleverness is marred by some sort of foolery which from the perspective of the lovers’ seem as another of their clever tricks. And Damodar Junior in acts of pseudo-cleverness stole
- some vermilion from his mother’s vermilion packet and brought it to school on the last day of their
- half-yearly examinations. “It will seal her fate” he told himself recalling his childhood love in a mood of internal delight “and make her live with me forever!” Little did he know into what ‘bog’ he and his love was preparing to step.
- So on the morning of their last examination day, in spite of the usual timelessness of any
- examination day, he squeezed a little vermilion out of his mother’s ‘Vermilion Pouch’ in between his two fingers and packed it up in a small, clean paper, ‘thief-fashion’. The last paper of the tenth standard had two parts. So, examination for it was held on both the halves. As soon as the exams were over (in the afternoon) and they were on the street, he took out his packet, put a round spot of it on his love’s forehead, drew a line of it with his fingers and, holding her right hand by his left, he walked her to his home. It takes every day half-an-hour or so for him to reach his school from his home. So this pair, after enactment of their long thought-of-plan, reached Damodar Junior’s house
- at around 4 pm of that historic day.
- Unaware of what foolish and naughty prank her son was about to unveil on that day, Mrs. Damodar was anticipating her son home after his exams and so was loitering on the lawns of her house. She was shocked to see her son coming to their gate, holding a girl by his hand. A moment
- later, she felt her breath going out of her lungs and feeling a dead weight on her heart when she saw the vermilion marks on the girl’s forehead and hair-parting. A sudden rage overcame her. She did not say anything! The junior pair entered the house. Then Damodar Junior said “Mother, this is…(to be continued)