Made in heaven, postponed by polls
Marriages may be made in heaven but unfortunately for many couples in Bihar they need to be performed on earth, where elections happen to clash with auspicious days.
And earthly elections have won over the imponderables of planetary positions determining the auspicious hour and the gods, resulting in hundreds of weddings being postponed in the state.
In a cruel twist, Bihar's elections are spread over three days - April 20, April 26 and May 5 -- and all clash with auspicious dates for weddings.
"Several parents have already postponed the marriages of their sons and daughters in view of the non-availability of vehicles, the fear of violence or the possibility that a close family member is involved in the election," said Pandit Kunal of Jehanabad district.
Most parents have fixed fresh dates after May 13, the date when the election results will be declared.
"We were forced to arrange for new dates until after the elections," said Sujay Kumar Sinha, a government employee.
Things have been bad even in the run-up to the first round of polling Tuesday.
The state government requisitioned over 25,000 buses and small vehicles for election duty, leading to fears that wedding parties would have no way of travelling from one place to another.
Besides, the fear of violence in Maoist guerrilla strongholds like Jehanabad, Gaya and Aurangabad and the election boycott call also led to people deferring wedding dates.
The postponement has affected business, with entrepreneurs, particularly jewellers and consumer retailers, reporting dull sales.