My cousin's "marriage"

When somebody dies in an Indian family, it is a custom that for the next three days the relatives cannot get married.

The day my father died, it happened that one of my second cousins was supposed to get married. Early in the morning it came out in two newspapers that my father had died, and my father's dead body was outside in the courtyard. But my cousin's parents became very clever. They pretended they did not know that my father had died. They thought they would be able to deceive everybody.

But when the bride's family came to learn that my father had died, they did not want their daughter to be married that day because of my father's death. My cousin's family and the bride's family quarrelled and fought like anything. Finally the bride's family agreed to the marriage and my cousin's family was very happy. But what the bride's family did was this. The girl had a brother who had the same kind of beautiful face as his sister. Her family put a sari on the son and decorated his body so that he looked like the bride.

It is an Indian custom that the husband and wife don't see each other before the day of the marriage. The parents make all the decisions for their children. When my cousin saw the beautiful face of his bride, he was very happy. My cousin and his bride were riding in the palanquin together during the three-and-a-half-mile journey from the bride's house to his house.

After some time the brother made his voice sound like a woman's voice and asked if they could stop for a minute so he could respond to nature's call. The palanquin bearers let him out, and he took a few steps very slowly. Then suddenly he threw off the sari and ran away. The others saw that it was a boy, but they could not catch him. My cousin was so furious that he refused to marry that particular girl. Eventually he married somebody else.