When parents arranged the marriage...
She: Please don’t make me marry him, I am in love with another.
Mother: Please understand my dear. It is a matter of our family’s honour.
When she returned after a few months of marriage…
She: Please don’t send me back. He drinks, beats and rapes me every night.
Mother: No! You must go back…for our family’s honour.
When she eloped with ‘another’…
Mother: I wish she was born dead. She dishonoured our family.
She knew nothing about the man she had just married, as was usual in her community, and her stomach was in knots.
For the last ritual, the Pandit asked the couple to put their hands in the milkpot to find a gold ring. “Whoever finds it first rules forever”, he said smiling.
They both frantically searched for the ring until the groom’s fingers found hers inside the pot. Electric hummed between them and, quietly, he slipped the ring in her hand.
Stirred by the burning sensation, she had come back from her grief-filled fog. She realised her clothes were dripping with oil; and she was burning on her dead husband’s pyre.
She tried to escape but her relatives pushed her back in until she stopped moving, all on the pretext of reuniting her with her husband.