The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Match in mid-air, marriage in water

Mumbai, June 13: It can’t get any more cool.

Chandan Thakur and Dipti Pradhan will take the plunge and create history — they will get married under water from where they hope to land straight into the Guinness Book of World Records.

The adventure-loving couple — who are resting after the intensive training for their sub-marine marriage got over this evening — got engaged in an appropriate mid-air ceremony yesterday at a sports club at Vashi in Navi Mumbai. They slid down ropes from 50 feet above ground and halted mid-way to exchange rings.

For the marriage ceremony, which will take place on June 23 morning, they will perform a host of shuddh Marathi rituals — saat phera, Ganesh puja and mangal ashta, under water, on the floor of a swimming pool.

There will be the kanya daan ritual, too, for which Dipti’s father, who was not so keen with the idea to begin with, has also undergone training.

There will be no departure in dress either. Dipti will be wearing her bridal sari. The only difference will be weights attached to her legs and parts of the sari. The guests should be gracious enough to overlook the fact that instead of a bridal mukut, she will be wearing a head mask with an attached oxygen cylinder.

Ravi Kulkarni, diving teacher and a major inspiration behind the wedding, will play the purohit.

The sub-marine wedding was not easy to pull off. It all started with ex-navy man Kulkarni, who runs the Commando Adventure Academy at Vashi, wanting to do something different.

Kulkarni met Chandan, an outdoor sports freak, and convinced him to try the novel marriage. In this, Kulkarni had on his side Partha Das, who runs the Marine Commando, an adjoining sports complex.

The wedding became a joint venture of Das and Kulkarni, who are also bearing the expense of the equipment that had to be brought for the purpose to train so many people for so many days, but they are hopeful of getting sponsors for this “sensational” event.

Dipti, whom Chandan met on a trekking tour he was conducting to Ladakh, too, had no trouble with a watery nuptial.

But their families did. Now they seem to be won over. So not only will Dipti’s father be present, there will be five or six other guests too on the pool floor.

They have all taken rigorous training, like the bride and groom. It was almost a one-month training.

On June 19, there will be a full dress rehearsal, when the event will be timed perfectly according to a stopwatch.

“The first seven days were for fitness,” says Das. “The next 20 days or so, they were taught diving. Now they are all recuperating,” he adds.

But no one is ready to take a chance.

Not all the ceremonies, unfortunately, will be performed in water. There will be some crucial ones — the ones involving fire — which will force the couple to come up and finish the rituals on land.

“The rest of the guests will also be there, by the swimming pool. Another crucial part, the feast, will also be served on land,” reminds Das.

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