AKOLA: A toilet stole the show at a traditional Maharashtrian marriage here.
The prefabricated toilet with a water closet, a wash-basin and mirror standing around one foot above the ground, was the considerate wedding gift on Friday evening from the bride's parents since the bridegroom's family did not have one in their home.
A few weeks ago, when Akola resident Chaitali D. Galakhe's marriage was fixed with Devendra Makhode of Yavatmal, she was alarmed to discover that her in-laws' home lacked a toilet and the family went in the open to attend their nature's call.
"At the time of finalising the marriage, I had no idea, but later I found that my in-laws home had no toilet. I discussed the issue with my parents and sisters in detail," Chaitali told mediapersons after her unique wedding present was unveiled before the invitees on Friday evening.
The farmer's daughter, used to a proper toilet at her home, made a one-point demand to her family: "I am not interested in a television, refrigerator or a washing machine or gold jewellery as a wedding gift... I only want a ready-made toilet which I can carry to my in-laws home."
Initially her father Dilip Galakhe found the demand ridiculous and thought she had gone bonkers, but soon he was convinced. It was decided to "make her happy" by fulfilling her wish before marriage.
A pre-fabricated toilet was ordered for Chaitali from a local manufacturer which would cost a hefty Rs.18,000 -- around the cost of a medium TV, fridge or washer.
When the manufacturer casually enquired the need for the pre-fabricated toilet, he was pleasantly surprised.
A local volunteer for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan, he decided to chip in -- "I have built it and given it to the family for only Rs.12,000 -- only recovering the actual costs," he told the media.
Though the Glakhes apprehended ridicule by the villagers and scorn from the in-laws' side, the 'toilet gift' turned out to be most admired present at the wedding with the guests 'oohing, aahing' after inspecting it inside out.
Local girls who attended the marriage ceremonies from both sides (the girl's and the boy's) said they were "hugely inspired" by Chaitali's courage in making the toilet demand.
"Several of us are planning to get married soon and we shall enquire whether the boy's side have proper toilet facilities... If not, then this idea will help us," said one girl.
Surrounded by the people congratulating them, the smiling bridegroom Devendra and the shy Chaitali along with their families, kept glancing at their coveted acquisition which would be a 'lifelong companion'.