Berhampur, May 31: The frog prince of the fable had a love marriage, but the one residents of Kamapalli Bada Sahi caught hold of did not have a chance to choose his bride. His opinion on his life partner did not seem to matter to those who married him off to his next-pond neighbour in a typical Odia wedding.
The bride and groom, with wedding crowns firmly in place, sought blessings from the Almighty for eternal happiness and immediate rainfall. And as the bride blinked bashfully through kajal-rimmed eyes, those who solemnised her wedding hoped fervently that this age-old method of appeasing the rain gods would work.
A priest chanted mantras as the frog prince and his betrothed sat gloomily on the banks of the Kamapalli pond in the presence of scores of local residents.
“We know it is a superstition, but there is no harm in organising such a wedding. Water scarcity and temperatures of nearly 40 degrees Celsius have made life miserable for us. So, we fell back on this ancient custom,” said Narasingha Gouda. Gouda and Sunil Kumar Patra, both residents of Kamapalli Bada Sahi, took the lead and acted as the “dads” of the frog couple. Their role was of utmost importance, as in any Odia wedding.
Patra said they had been planning the wedding for the past few days, but it had to postponed because they couldn’t find (willing) frogs. “We collected this pair from a pond in Bhabinipur,” said Gouda, who acted as the dad of the male frog.
“We helped make up the female frog by applying kajal and vermillion on her forehead. Both bride and groom were decorated with flowers and seated in a new earthen pot painted in attractive colours before the procession took off,” said Patra.
The procession of around 40 people started from Kamapalli Baidyanatheswar temple in the afternoon as traditional musical instruments played. The procession made its way through several neighbourhoods before culminating at the same temple.
The reluctant frog couple were taken to the pond where the wedding rituals were performed. Both wore little wedding crowns.
“I poured the holy water of the Ganga into the pond to purify it and offered puja to Rushisrunga Hills and Lord Indra. The main intention of this custom is to ‘scold’ the rain god so that he showers rain on the Earth in anger,” said the priest.
Oh, and it was not just the wedding ritual that the invitees enjoyed. Nearly a hundred guests also partook of a sumptuous vegetarian wedding feast.
Post marriage, the newlyweds were left in the pond and the local residents watched as they waded into deeper waters. “They wanted to escape the hustle and bustle, and we believe that their croaking would bring rain,” said Kumudini, who came from a nearby village.
Were they croaking with joy as they took their first steps into conjugal life? Only the newlyweds can tell!
Kumudini said frog wedding, burying lice in the soil and keeping the umbrella upside down were some practices to appease the rain god.