Doe eyed, medium built, wheat complexioned and with thick lustrous jet black hair coming upto her knees, Grace Rachel was the most beautiful girl in Bugga, a village near Mahbubnagar, a town about 100 km from Hyderabad.
As soon as she graduated, her parents selected a boy of her choice, Mark Justin. This is the story of how they met and made it to their wedding in time.
Mark Justin a Green Card holder, on holiday, for his Cousin Christina's wedding, met Grace at the wedding.
Grace was Christina's classmate. Having come all the way from Mahbubnagar for the wedding, it was Mark's turn to take her to all the high spots of Hyderabad.
Her innocent smile and full throated laughter captivated him so much that every time he saw her smile or heard her laughter, his heart skipped a beat. Much after the wedding and after all the guests had gone; Christina realized that Mark was in love with Grace.
Knowing Mark, Christina knew that she had to make the first move.
Bugga is a tightly knit village of thirty families; with every one knowing each other intimately. The village is in between two mountainous ranges and is approachable only by a single route through a rivulet, which for nearly nine months in a year can easily be crossed as the water is just a feet deep. Any one wanting to cross usually do so by bullock cart in all seasons and by a boat in the peak rainy season.
In a country where arranged marriages are more popular, a proposal from a close family friend or a relative is treasured and highly respected. And when Christina broached the subject, the family and the entire village enthusiastically agreed.
The marriage was fixed for Thursday, 1st October 2009 as Mark had to go back to the United States by 10th October 2009.
The plan was that Grace and her parents along with the thirty families from the village were to travel by two buses early in the morning to reach Hyderabad, a three hour journey on 30th September.
The entire village got ready for the marriage by decorating the only street right from the Church to the bride's house on Tuesday the 29th September itself. With colored papers and cloth decorations the village looked beautiful.
It was John, the village head who woke up in the early hours on Wednesday morning disturbed by the thunder and the lightening, which in late September is a rarity, as the rainy season had ended in August itself.
Stepping outside he was greeted by a drizzle. But what shocked him was the wind. It was roaring and he was aghast to see all the decorations, which the boys had meticulously and painstakingly decorated, flying off.
Then in no time the drizzle turned into a roaring rain, making the street into a raging rivulet which to his horror rose to his ankle level within no time. Immediately his thoughts were to untie his oxen which were tied in a small thatched shed in the back of his house and to take them inside his house.
As he brought the oxen inside and closed the back door he saw that the water level outside which was at an ankle level rose upto his knees. Never in his life had he seen such a ferocious unprecedented water flowing outside his home.
He rushed to the school which was at a much higher ground, and rang the school bell waking up the entire village. It was an unwritten law that the ringing of the school bell outside the school timings, signifies an emergency.
Immediately the villagers packed whatever clothes they can lay hands on and moved fast to the school building.
Early morning they discovered that the water had inundated the entire village upto the window lentil.
John decided that if at all the wedding had to take place they have to make their own arrangements to cross to a dry land. The problem was that no one knows where the water ends or the dry land begins.
By mid day the rain had stopped and they decided to move further up the mountain on to the other side of the village to find a tree or a rock to tie a rope to cross the raging rivulet.
It was with great difficulty that everyone in the village walked up the slippery slope. Carrying their clothes, gold jewelry and some cooking utensils on their heads the young and the old made their way slowly and steadily up the mountain.
John climbed up a small hillock and looked around. It was one big shimmering sheet of water stretching for miles around. He sat down on the rock and thought for a second about the future course of action. Suddenly it struck him that the shimmering sheet of water must only be few feet of water and not shoulder high, as original thought.
To find out some of the young men have to swim across.
As suspected the water was only three feet high. The danger was not in drowning but of getting washed away, as the water was gushing toward the low lying areas.
Tying a rope across his waist a young man swam and finding a sturdy tree tied it.
The entire villagers crossed to the other side and walked to the nearest road, from where they made it in time for the wedding.
Victor Jasti lives in India and is passionate about writing short stories based on the Bible and real incidents. He also writes Christian fiction and poetry. Five of his poems were published in Temporal Currents compiled by an American author, Ms. Christine Tricarico.
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