Friday, July 20, 2007

The Legend of Two Husbands

Gomu was married to Bandu as was the tradition in those days at the age of 10-12yrs. Bandu himself was just 15yrs then. Who in the world noted birth time! Mothers told that the child was born at sunrise, when the sun was high in the sky, sunset or when the evening lamps were lit.

This story is of those times, tells Moti Aaji, our favorite grand aunt. One or the other of us trying to keep our head in her lap as we lay on the oti of our old home watching the night sky. That was ¼ century ago. She wore bangles only in one hand. We wanted to know why.

Many Many years ago she continued. Gomu and Bandu lived happily they played together ate together and at bedtime Gomu’s mother in-law always put her to sleep next to her. She was too young to be Bandu’s bride yet. But Moti, “You just said they were married.” all smart kids correct her. Shh….that was the custom in those days even before her grandpa. Shooo~~~

When Bandu grew to be a handsome young man of 18 yrs and Gomu was 13-15 yrs their elders celebrated a pooja and gifted them a room of their own. Bandu and Gomu now had grown to understand their responsibilities and the meaning of husband and wife in the real sense. They took care of all visitors, relatives and servants. Bandu was highly skilled at sea. He had a toned dark body. When free he participated in Kushti competitions in the village and won many times. He was loved by all for his helping nature.

Gomu too looked very pretty now. She dressed carefully her Choli tight fitted, the padar carefully wrapped with the large motifs in the front like an apron. The fresh flowers in her hair sent Bandu’s heart racing. Her morning began with getting the rotis made for the dolkars-the crew and supervising the washerwomen and water carriers. At her young age she was admired by all for managing the household so wonderfully.

After the morning chores were done she would escape from the back door as she would hear Bandu wish his mother goodbye and leave the front door. She would catch up with him at the seashore. That was her only private time with him. She would lay her head on his broad shoulders as they would walk together, their bodies brushing against each other lightly. Bandu would tell her how he dived deep into the sea to repair emergency problems with the Galbat-boat. He told her about the deep sea monsters that pulled his legs and sucked him deeper. Moti Aaji! but Baba tells us that is due to water pressure on the person diving without mask and oxygen. There are no ghosts in the sea enlightens my cuz with her little palm pointing out at Moti. Baba knows better he is in the Navy. Faking anger for interrupting her, “do you want to hear the rest?”

That day Gomu went to see Bandu off at sea. Her heart was heavy and she was not ready to let him go. Bandu promised he would return soon. The two days to follow were of violent weather. Little did he know that the next 2 days would change his life. The tides rose high and there were showers too. The monsoon season was yet far. On the second day when Bandu was to return Gomu ran to the Dhela-jetty before the Galbat-boats arrived. One by one all Galbat-boats pulled in. Gomu could not spot theirs. She enquired with every one like woman gone crazy. None of the crew was to be seen. No one even seemed to have noticed their Galbat-boat was missing. The weather had been so bad in the last two days that the men were all beaten by it. After checking with all Gomu was told that their Galbat-boat seemed to have lost its way. Gomu thought yes that is what people will tell you when you are sure to have lost husband and crew along with the galbat.

She sat at the seashore crying as her mind was crisscrossed with dangerous thoughts. All the villagers tried consoling her but in vain. She pledged to fast and do a penance. Untying her hair she said to the Sea God, “If you get my husband along with all my crew safe back to the shore I will accept you as my husband”

After 3 days and 3 nights Gomu was frail and lay in the lap of her mother inlaw. She had neither eaten nor had a single drop of water. Such was her penance.

At the crack of dawn on the horizon one of the villagers noticed a Galbat-boat blobbing slowly towards the dhela. The colors of the flag were of Bandu’s Galbat-boat. The seashore was dotted with clothes thrown up in the sky and cheers along with Har Har Mahadev! Jai Malhar!

The Galbat-boat had been washed off to Karanja about 80 kms from Thal due to the bad weather but the crew was safe. That evening Gomu married the Sea God in a pooja ceremony with Bandu witness to it. She wore lots of green bangles on her wrists the sign of fertility called chuda. After the ceremony she banged one wrist on the rocks lining the seashore and offered the new chuda to the Sea. She prayed again to take care of her husband in the future and keep her saubhagya-well being intact.

Hence the legend goes that Koli women have 2 husbands one the man she marries and other the sea therefore the tradition of wearing bangles in only one hand is followed by our Koli women.


19 comments:

  1. Anjali, wonderful writing....I enjoyed every word of it! Thanks for sharing this legend...

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  2. good to read...thanks

    Srivalli
    www.cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com

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  3. An interesting folklore - very well written.

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  4. Whoa!!! Your narration's fantastic. I love folk lore!! Thank to your grand aunt too for narrating this :)

    -Mythili

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  5. Anjali what gorgeous writing...I imagined everything in my mind's eye. Thanks so much for sharing this part of your culture.
    PS - one of my favorite songs keeps playing in my head now "gomu sangtina majhya tu yeshil ka'?

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  6. Loved it! Every word of the post...

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  7. Anjali! This is such a beautiful folk story!

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  8. Hey Gals thank you for all the comments. Makes me happy that you found it interesting.

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  9. Very well written.... loved reading the folklore Anjali...

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  10. nice story.I enjoy reading short stories.

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  11. shilpa(Aayisrecipes)July 27, 2007 12:11 AM

    Thats such a nice and cute story. I love such age old stories. Please keep them coming...

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  12. hi anjali, very nice story and superb narration... i enjoyed it thoroughly... thank u and do tell us more if u have any more tales!!

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  13. Anjali-
    That was a wonderful story to share- I love things like that. Do you know any more?

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  14. That was a very nice story. I had already visited your blog and read the whole story..but felt like reading it again. Very nicely narrated :)

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  15. aargee thanks and keep visiting. All the best for your new blog!

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  16. Anjali...
    This story was too beautifully translated by you! Remebered the song as I was reading ..."Gomu sangatee-na majhya tu yesheel kay? Majhya piritichee rani tu hosheel kay? Nay!"
    Lovely Gomu-Bandu story!

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  17. what a vivid imagination! lovely story!

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  18. Wow, what a wonderful narration. I was sort of imagining the whole set up- felt like a kid.

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  19. What a beautiful story! And very well written. Enjoyed it very much.

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