Front-page coverage on a number of Bali newspapers was dedicated recently to the sudden and very abrupt annulment of the marriage between Ketut Bud (30) and his wife, Ketut Nik (25) after only one month.
As best we can piece together this story of a honeymoon cut short, Bud and Nik first met as the result of a misdirected SMS that eventually led to a "date." Blame it on "love at first sight" or even "bad lighting," but poor Ketut Bud was instantly smitten with Ketut Nik, managing to even "stay over" one night at Nik's house where his ardour was only further fanned when the comely Ketut Nik refused the young man's amorous advances. Passions denied and loved spurned, Ketut Bud then re-doubled his resolve to pursue Ketut Nik, proposing marriage only three weeks later.
The groom - Ketut Bud, may have been initially surprised by the lack of the customary village officials at the traditional wedding ceremony held at his bride's house, but he quickly dismissed any misgivings, rationalizing that in any case there would be another ceremony when he got his new wife back to his hilltop village. It's not altogether clear if those in attendence at the second wedding at Ketut Bud's house in Kintamani were just too polite to remark that Ketut's new bride was, well, just a little different looking. Some suggest that because the young man was already 30 years old, his parent and friends kept silent, relieved that, any physical peculiarities on the part of the bride aside, Ketut Bud had finally settled down.
Not Tonight, Dear
But, in any case, alarm bells should have begun sounding for the bridegroom when a neighbor cynically enquired about the status of Ketut Nik, asking if a nyetana ceremony had been held. The question, while peculiar, foreshadowed circumstances soon the be "unveiled." The nyetana is a particularly Balinese ceremony used to adopt a male into a heirless Balinese household. In this uniquely Balinese ceremony the bride becomes a male heir and her husband a "nominal female" - exchanging their gender roles to permit the boy to be adopted as the male heir of his bride's household. This ceremony also allows a man to move into his bride's house where he official become a "son" and the male issue of the bride's family.
More snide and somewhat pointed enquiries from neighbors apparently also failed to move Bud to action and investigate further the background of his new wide, Ketut Nik.
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
Married for more than a month, the incredibly gullible Ketut Bud also reportedly took in stride his bride's continuing refusal to consummate their marriage, abjuring her husband's advances on a nightly basis; alternating excuses between extreme frigidity and a chronic migraine.
In the end, however, close proximity with the rest of the village and growing public knowledge of Ketut Bud's predicament in the bridal chamber brought matters to a boil. Village officials, took matters into their own hands, cornered the new bride and performed a physical examination that revealed Ketut Nik was, in fact, a fully equipped young man.
Chagrinned and embarrassed, Ketut Bud and his family quickly bundled off Ketut Nik, returning “her” to her home village of Rendang followed by an announcement that the marriage was null and void.
Villagers are reportedly still discussing what, if any, traditional ceremonies may be required to return balance and harmony to their corner of the universe.
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