“Why aren’t you wearing any ornaments? Is it a part of religious custom? But I heard you belong to the Hindu community” I asked her in anxiety. Her reply was short, but it was enough to change my mindset forever and reminded me that I should not be judging anyone.
“Religions and such customs are only created by humans. I don’t believe in such customs. Should I ?” Amrita Parija replied.
Being a god fearing person who follows religious customs, I didn’t want to make that short conversation lead into a debate. I gave her a smile and her reaction gave me every answer I was looking for.
Before I could move away, she gave an answer to the very first question I asked. “I don’t like to wear any ornaments. Is there any custom that a bride ought to wear the ornaments? Is it mentioned in any religious books? There are a lot of woman like me who doesn’t like to wear these and there are a lot of women who can’t afford these. By not wearing these ornaments am giving a mental support to every single person who believes ornaments aren’t necessary for a marriage” she replied.
I hesitated for a moment, still, I didn’t want to keep my mouth. “I understand but you could have at least worn a little. It will only add to your natural beauty” I replied.
“See Noby, we are now close to the Attapady village. A life close to nature and simplicity. From our childhood days, we all were taught about the fact that inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. Following the stereotypes that exist in our society, many of us fell into that path. But I still believe inner beauty is what counts the most and it will shine only when we show a blind eye to the outer beauty.” Amrita replied.
I didn’t have a word to reply back. Perhaps it was the first time that I had to look for words and points to reply. It wasn’t a debate or a discussion for me. I felt the same to be an eye opener.
A few days later, my eyes stopped at her user name in facebook. It read “Amrita Parija”. I asked her about the same and her reply is still fresh in my mind. “My father’s name is Parameshwaran and Mother’s name is Girija. Hence I got the name Amrita Parija. There isn’t any rule that our last name should be of our father’s.” she replied.
I had a chat with her the next day too. And it was a pleasure to hear from her that she also joined hands with the project of Kozhikode Collector Prasanth Nair IAS. A project in which commons can offer a shelter and love for the students residing in orphanages for a vacation period. The way she spoke about the little sister that spent a month in her house inspired me to allot. When we all are busy trying to make our both ends meet, here is a girl who is keeping a side of her life to spreading a smile.
A few weeks back it was her marriage. And her marriage too was a special one. A marriage standing unique from the ones that take place in our society. A marriage without any celebrations or luxury. It didn’t followed any religious custom, and kick started their new life by planting a mangosteen sapling. And in addition to her marriage, it also witnessed the launch of her collection of poems “Mazha Peythirangukayaanu”.
People like Amrita are a blessing to our society. When we believe then change needs to come from within us, these personalities are indeed making it a reality. I take this opportunity to wish Amrita and Sanal a happy married life.
(Based on the story written and submitted by Noby Antony)