The monsoon rains had doused the brutal summer heatwave, and the season of fertility and hope had started in north Bihar. Ashif Wahab and Nasreen Parween were excited about their monsoon wedding and counted the days until they would marry. But on the day itself, instead of his wedding entourage, the raging Burhi Gandak River was at Ashif’s doorstep.
The bride was upset and nervous at the prospect of the wedding being postponed, the expense of the reception going to waste and neighbours taunting her for the misfortune. But the mighty river showed no mercy. “I was on the verge of a panic attack,” said Nasreen.
With her hennaed hand, she picked up the wedding invitation. It read “Ashif weds Nasreen on August 6, 2020”.
“I called Ashif and reminded him about his promise,” said Nasreen.
“It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life, but it also became the scariest,” said Ashif, a mechanical engineer in Raghunathpur village, in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district.
Risky monsoon weddings
Nearly 60% of the population in Bihar, in northern India, is under 25, making it the state with the highest number of youths. It is also India’s most flood-prone state. Every year, almost 80% of the population in north Bihar is impacted by flooding during the monsoon months of July…