Till Wedding Do Us Part

Till Wedding Do Us Part


My cousin, a hopeless romantic, was always fascinated with the idea of having a destination wedding. After a great deal of trial-and-error, courtesy of a colourful dating life, she felt she had met her soulmate when she met Akash. Serendipity or not, I could see why they exuded this feeling of being made for each other. They kept the romance alive by giving their inner child all the freedom to do things as they saw fit. The family grapevine fed me stories of their crazy adventures on a regular basis. So, when they decided to get hitched within a year of crossing each other’s paths, it wasn’t a bolt from the blue.

The wedding invite to Goa wasn’t a surprise either, as the beach paradise was their go-to destination whenever they needed a break from routine. But the kicker was the dress code for the wedding. The “ghost party” required all the invitees to attend the nuptials dressed up as ghosts. Frankenstein, the scary clown or the friendly Casper, I didn’t care about what floated their boat. I was only looking forward to chilling on the beach and downing every drink they had on the menu. Moreover, for a guy clueless about fashion and trends, this was another potential upside. I could pick any ghost costume and I was all set for the wedding.

As D-Day arrived, even a wedding cynic like me was excited. Dressed as Ghostface, I made my way to Acorn Beach Resort, the wedding venue. I was shocked to see that all the guests were decked up in their finest. Wondering whether I was the butt of an ill-timed joke, I inquired whether the plan had changed at the last minute or everyone was just oblivious to the wedding diktat. My aunt put my mind at ease when she informed me the reason to avoid the costumes was the penchant to look good in the photographs. Once the ceremony began, everyone would put on their ghost costumes. Looking around the room, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I preferred the ghostly avatars compared to the ghastly dresses some were wearing. Resigning myself to the fact that I was the odd one out once again, I made my way towards the bar. There is nothing better than a Bloody Mary to calm one’s nerves and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Enjoying the saltiness of my elixir and minding my own business, I was shaken out of my reverie when my loud-mouthed cousin sprouted a stream of expletives in my direction. Knowing fully well that any resistance would be futile, I got up to greet him but all I got was a bear hug that crushed my insides. Unsure whether to take offence or laugh at his histrionics, I made a futile attempt to weaken his chokehold. Talking about life and how it was treating us, I returned to my drink while he ordered a Jack Daniels. After a few moments of exchanging pleasantries regularly punctuated by his favorite obscenities, I shifted my gaze towards the other guests in the party. What I encountered was a weird spectacle indeed. My uncle was greeting everyone by shouting at the top of his lungs. Whether it was due to intoxication or just getting carried away in the moment, I didn’t get much time to delve into the reasons. My attention, instead, shifted towards a group of youngsters sprinkling water on all and sundry, recreating scenes reminiscent of Holi sans the colours.

As I wondered whether I was the only sane person in this gathering, my thoughts were interrupted by a couple of pot-bellied men who were channelling their inner Santa Clauses by belting out “HO HO HO!” It was in no way funny, unless one considered their rotund bellies trying to break free from the clothing that had kept a lid on them. Having a swig of my drink gave me some momentary respite until I was forced to acknowledge a group of elders greeting me with a Wakanda salute. As I debated internally whether I was punch drunk already, the sense of confusion writ large on my face was quite evident. Even my self-absorbed cousin noticed the same and asked me about it. When I mentioned what was bothering me, he let out a hearty laugh and slapped me on my back with such force that I almost smashed my face into a bowl of peanuts lying at the bar counter. Without the slightest pause to check if I was okay, he told me that this ghost wedding had just two rules—dressing up as a ghost and greeting each other in a way one saw fit. Well, that explained a lot of things!

Breathing normally, I returned to the form of greeting I loved—cheers—before enjoying my drink. I had just ordered my third glass when the bride and groom made their grand entry to the theme song of The Exorcist. My cousin was absolutely killing it in her Harley Quinn outfit while Akash was looking dapper in a Dracula suit. As they hobnobbed with the guests, the greetings became louder and weirder by the minute. A direct result of rising alcohol levels in the blood stream coupled with celebrations reaching a fever pitch, it was an experience not too different from the other Indian weddings I had attended. After what seemed like an eternity, the couple made their way to the stage which was erected in a remote corner of the resort. In a setting that Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud of, they waited excitedly to exchange their vows and move the great Indian wedding show further down the road.

As Akash adjusted the microphone, there was an eerie silence which attacked my senses in an altogether different way. His words boomed loud and clear, “Sukanya, of all the people you’ve met and places you’ve visited, you ended up here—with me. It is a surreal feeling, to be honest. From the moment I met you, I knew you were the one. I am glad to have you by my side through all the ups and downs I have faced in life. Our relationship has been built on the strong pillars of honesty and trust from Day 1. I give you, my love. I give you myself, the good, the bad, and the yet to come. If I had to live my life all over again, I would ask God for only one thing—that I had met you a lot sooner!”

The oohs and aahs from the crowd were the icing on the cake. By the looks of it, he was clearly enjoying the attention. Without any warning the sound system burst into Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie”, shattering the romantic interlude into pieces. I don’t know if it was the DJ’s wicked sense of humour or one of the many exes exacting their revenge but the special moment was lost. There was an awkward silence and confusion among the guests. The suffocating atmosphere was further poisoned by the rising decibel levels and fraying tempers of the family members.

As a torrent of abuse drenched the air, Sukanya took control of the microphone and asked everyone to settle down. Thankfully, the DJ had managed to regain control of his console by now but an uncomfortable silence lingered in the air. Trying to keep her emotions in check and her voice from quavering, she began her vows: “Because of you, I laugh, I smile, and I dream more than I ever have. You are, and always will be, the love of my life, my soulmate, my person. I will laugh with you in times of joy and comfort you in times of sorrow. Who knew our chance encounter in Goa would lead to this? I have never loved anyone the way I love you. I promise to keep myself open to you, to let you into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets, and dreams. Let us be partners, friends, and lovers, today and all of the days that follow.

The family members were moved to tears as she bared her soul and let the world be a part of her inner sanctum. As the emotional melodrama played out, tragedy struck once again in the form of Beyonce’s “Beautiful Liar”, which started playing on the new and shiny JBL speakers. Sukanya was overcome by bouts of uncertainty and gasped as Beyonce and Shakira went about their heartfelt rendition. I had a tough time keeping a straight face as I found the sudden developments hilarious even though a sea of perplexed faces reigned supreme.

Much to my relief, the party was not over yet, not even close! Akash’s friend Anant came running down the aisle, shouting Sukku at the top of his voice. He stopped right in front of the couple and took a moment or two to catch his breath. Regaining his composure, he calmly asked my cousin, How could you do this to me? All the time we have been together, was it all a joke to you? We promised to live, love and die together. Ever since our Goa trip last year, you have changed so much. Now, I know why! You were planning to marry Akash and I was destined to be just a lover boy. I was never enough for you, right? It was always about money, right?

What happened thereafter will go down as one of the most iconic moments of my life. Akash jumping from the stage trying to punch Anant in the face, Sukanya screaming in horror as things turned violent, the relatives at each other’s throats blaming each other for the debacle, the Wakanda army ready to move in for the kill. There was non-stop action everywhere! I took a moment to reflect on everything that had happened since evening. The ghost wedding with a plethora of eye-watering costumes, the whacky greetings which made no sense whatsoever, the over-the-top tugging at heartstrings, the emotional vows, the lies and duplicity which formed the fabric of every relationship, and whatnot! For the umpteenth time in my life, I thanked my lucky stars for being single.

As the tsunami of deceit and madness struck the manmade structures of love we had erected, the island I inhabited was a picture of calm. While things turned bloody, I motioned the bartender for yet another refill of Bloody Mary. I put my feet up, got comfortable, raised my glass to the scenes unfolding before my eyes and said “Cheers” to no one in particular


Ganesh Rajgopal


I love to travel and explore the world. If it were up to me, I would spend my whole life visiting new places, meeting strangers and experiencing different cultures. When I am not traveling, I am dreaming about it and trying to save enough money for my next adventure! I believe that words, when used effectively, are a very powerful medium. I am constantly on the lookout for stories that are worth sharing with the world

My work has been published in Tell Me Your Story (www.tellmeyourstory.biz) and J. A. Books (Book | Jimi Alan Books | Novels). I am grateful to them for their support in providing a platform for my stories.

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