If you live in India and you meet that one perfect person who sends your heart all aflutter, you'd better hope that the planet Mars doesn't have anything to say about it. Astrology is important to Indian Hindus, and if you or your partner happens to be born under the influence of Mars, there's a good chance your marriage will end in disharmony, failure, and death. None of those outcomes are mutually exclusive.
There is one exit strategy for those who are deemed Mars-influenced (or manglik) -- before you tie the knot with your significant other, you should first marry a tree.
"I'm a good suitor. Deep roots in the community, and I can put food on the table."
By that we mean a literal tree -- local custom dictates that it should be a banana tree, because when you're talking about marrying a tree to offset the fury of the Red Planet, it's best not to question the specific details. Alternatively, you can marry a statue of the god Vishnu, as long as it's made from silver or gold, but banana trees are presumably easier to come upon. Now, stick with us, because all of this makes a surprising amount of sense.
The reasoning behind all these tree nuptials is that if a manglik first gets married to a certain inanimate object (like a golden statue or a banana tree), then the wrath of Mars will be wrought upon that object rather than some poor bride's unfortunate husband. Mars' rage is apparently limited to your first wedding -- all subsequent marriages should be pretty much in the clear. That banana tree is taking one for the team.
"It's cool. But maybe you guys can leave the window open? I ... I like to watch."
It may sound like some superstitious claptrap, but it's a prevalent enough tradition that Bollywood actress and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai, who starred in The Pink Panther 2 and the internationally acclaimed Bride & Prejudice, married a tree before her actual, human wedding, after it was determined that she was a manglik. She has since come under fire for participating in a custom that is irrevocably linked to the illegal Indian practice of caste discrimination, but at least she can reasonably assume that Mars won't murder her husband. Though there's presumably a banana tree somewhere out there that was scorched from the Earth for the sake of her happiness.
Himanshu can be found blabbering stuff at the Internet on Twitter.
For more seemingly unusual rituals, check out 5 Cultures With the Most WTF Wedding Rituals. And then check out 24 Things Other Countries Suspect About Life in America.
Want to do some 'mating' yourself? We...can't promise that. But if you click the Facebook 'share' button below, maybe you'll have a talk on your wall that leads to finding the love of your life.