Narmada is a river that runs through central India. Quite a while ago, way back when she was of a marriageable age, the elders had organised a wedding for her. The groom was one of the big and bulky male rivers, Sone. Sone flew quite close to the Narmada but their paths had never crossed so the two had never really met. But when the marriage was set and a date was arrived at, both were very excited.

Narmada was happy with all the preparations but the waiting was getting to be too long for her. She was desperate to know what her husband to be looked like. She asked her close friend, Jwala to go take a look at him for her. Jwala was the village barber’s daughter and the two had grown up together so she readily agreed to help her friend out.

Sone, meanwhile, was growing impatient for the wedding. And he too was desperate was a glimpse of his bride to be. When he saw Jwala rushing towards him from a distance, he thought that this was Narmada. This was the wife he had been promised and he raised a din all around him as he set his friends and family to get the wedding organised. He did not want to waste even a minute.

When word of her husband’s impatience reached Narmada she was so offended that she turned her back on Sone. She refused to even go towards him and ever since has flowed in a direction away from him. Sone, meanwhile, flung himself over the cliff, dejected at the rejection.

Story collected by: Arundhuti Dasgupta

Source: A sacred geography by Diana Eck

Location: Madhya Pradesh