EVER SEEN A BRIDEGROOM LEAVING HIS DECORATED CAR AND HORDES OF BARATIS (MARRIAGE PARTY) STUCK IN A JAM AND TAKING THE HELP OF A BIKER TO REACH THE WEDDING VENUE?
June 8, 2011, Patna: Sounds unusual. But in a place like Patna, where all roads connecting the state capital are perennially jammed, this scene could be seen on the 5.5 km-long Ganga bridge.
The bridge, connecting Patna with North Bihar, is being used all during the peak marriage season. For the last fortnight, bridegrooms have been stuck in long traffic jams on the bridge and they could make it to the venue behind well after the shubh muharat (auspicious period).
Now, locals at Hajipur (across the Ganga) have devised a new method to overcome the problem. They vroom the groom on their bikes, leaving behind scores of baratis, so that at least the groom could reach the marriage venue on time and the function be solemnised as per the auspicious period.
“We ask the groom party to contact the bride’s party, and ask them to send their representative to the other end of the Ganga bridge. In the meantime, we take the groom on our bikes, manoeuvre through stranded vehicles stuck up and drop him at the other end. People from where the bride side then carry the groom in their vehicle,” explained Raju who charges money for every ride.
“If the bridegroom appears to be prosperous, we charge Rs 1,000 per trip. If they are poor, we settle for Rs 500,” said Raju. If any other member of the barati wants to become a pillion rider, we charge Rs 800 extra to just drop him on the southern end of the bridge.
The traffic police are also not complaining. Managing traffic on the bridge for smooth flow of vehicles has been an arduous task ever since one way of the bridge has been closed down for repair. Since they find nothing illegal in local boys dropping the groom to the other side on their bikes, it’s the unemployed youths of Hajipur who are laughing all the way to the bank.