Punit and his fiancee Dhara were all set for their big fat Indian wedding on May 25, 2020 until the lockdown threw their plans in disarray. A Jodhpur palace was booked for the festivities, the family and friends were packed and ready to fly across continents for a wedding to remember but the pandemic put everything on hold.
The couple may have missed out on a grand, royal Rajashtani wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic, but thanks to the video conferencing over the Airtel network, they have a unique tale to narrate for years to come. And when they look at their photos from the big day, as Punit remarks, “We both look so happy and are smiling throughout. It was a very intimate ceremony with all my favourite people in attendance, although virtually.”
But before that, there were a lot of challenges the couple had to overcome. The destination wedding had been planned almost six months ago. “Dhara is the eldest in her family and it was the first wedding for them,” shares Punit, 26, who works at a digital marketing startup as a Business Development Executive.
He was also looking forward to having his Melbourne-based brother and sister-in-law by his side during the ceremony. “I couldn’t imagine my brother not being present, besides my favourite aunt and uncle from Dubai, and my dearest cousin from Bengaluru,” he says. Dhara, a banking professional, was also disappointed that her best-friend from Canada was not able to fly down on her special day.
The Mumbai-based couple was sure that, despite the odds, they had to get married by June-end since the next auspicious date was six months later. Before locking in on the venue at Panvel, on the outskirts of the city, Punit’s first concern was how his loved ones would attend the wedding. Everyday life was already progressing through video calls so that was of course one option, but Panvel being Panvel, he wasn’t sure if one could even make a clear video call from there. Not wasting any time, he took a trip to Panvel with a few different mobile numbers just to check which network works best. He made a few video calls from there and to his relief, his Airtel connection offered seamless and good quality video calling. Turns out that was the only network that worked well there, so with this in mind the venue was decided.
However, there were other hurdles along the way. “Around June 11, Dhara’s parents’ society had a Covid case and it was locked down. But we were determined to get married by hook or by crook, even if it meant a court wedding.” On June 20, finally, the couple announced the date and venue to their families. The next task was pruning the guest list of nearly 200 down to almost 35. Punit recalls, “I finally had just three people on my list: my aunt, cousin sister and best-friend.”
When Dhara and Punit reached the pretty much empty venue, they weren’t sure how the wedding would go. However, everything changed when the guests started pulling up at the entrance, masks on faces and phones held up in their hands. People who had network coverage were all on video calls with others who couldn’t attend the wedding, live-streaming the event essentially.
From wondering, “Am I really not going to have anyone present at my wedding?” to having family and friends join over video conferencing was a tremendous joy for the couple. During the ceremony, in a stroke of serendipity, recalls Punit, “Everybody whipped out their phones and, in a coincidence, they all had an Airtel connection.”
“When we sat for the first puja, my cousin turned around the phone and it was my favourite uncle on the call, smiling and blessing us. My brother was present too and witnessed the pheras virtually,” he remarks. “Stable internet had definitely made work easier but I never thought it would make my wedding possible too.”
It was ultimately a wedding to remember, with everybody special to the couple in attendance, all because of the video conferencing made possible by a reliable Airtel network.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines