Otherwise considered as an oddly assigned task, on Sunday morning the Chinnar check-post and forest officials in Kerala's Idukki District had to set up a wedding stage, sanitise garlands, roll out mats, arrange for lamps and fruits for an interstate wedding ceremony. Robinson, a native of Coimbatore and Priyanka from Munnar in Idukki, got hitched in front of the Excise Check-post in Chinnar (Idukki) at the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border to avoid quarantine hassles. The pictures from their marriage have gone viral due to the presence of a few unwanted guests - a troop of monkeys!
The groom who wore a white shirt and veshti, walked from the Tamil Nadu border and the bride who wore a green saree with golden embroidery came from the Kerala side. Both of them wore the face mask as an additional accessory. This marriage took place at the border because getting all the family members to travel from one state to the other is still not a feasible option due to the countrywide lockdown. In fact, even if they did travel, they'd have to stay in home quarantine for the next two weeks. To maintain the social distancing norms, the family members of the bride and groom were asked to stand away from not only the couple but also one another.
It was the officials who handed the sanitised garlands and the thali (wedding chain) to the couple as the wedding ceremony proceeded while the family members watched the whole process from a little distance. The bride's parents were not allowed to see their daughter off with hugs because of the social distancing norms that had to be maintained. Abdul Majeed, Junior Health Inspector of Marayoor Health Centre, who was in charge of ensuring the maintenance of the COVID-19 protocols during the wedding ceremony said, "The marriage was held without a priest. The health and exercise officials provided the garland to the bride and groom."
The couple was originally supposed to get married on March 22 at a temple in Saravanampatti, Coimbatore. Both the families were arranging for the wedding progressively until the pan-India lockdown was announced. "We tried for passes to travel to Coimbatore for almost two months but to no avail. Since the Karkidaka Masam (an auspicious month for the people in Kerala) was soon approaching and no weddings are allowed during this season, we once again requested the officials to allow us to conduct the wedding. Finally, with the help of former Devikulam MLA AK Mani, we got the pass from the collector," said a family member. After both Robinson and Priyanka managed to get entrance passes to Kerala and Tamil Nadu respectively, their wedding date was re-scheduled for June 7.
"Once the lockdown restrictions are completely eased, we will go meet Priyanka and conduct another small ceremony," a family member said.