There are some weddings you never forget.
In the winter of 2015 -- or should we say during the peak of Chennai's unique monsoon cycle -- the city faced its most serious catastrophe ever. For over a week, it was inundated by the worst flood in a decade. Some parts of the city had over 20 feet of water, and stepping out of your house involved a fair amount of risk.
But for wedding photographers in Chennai, it was business as usual. There were interesting reports of couples traveling to the "mandapams" in boats, some of them rolling up their trousers to get married in knee-deep water.
Thankfully, my predicament wasn't half as bad.
Broken bridges and inaccessible water-filled roads meant I had to take a detour to get to ECR from my base in Pallikaranai. The location was the scenic Blue Bay Resort on the way to Mahabalipuram.
A beach wedding, finally! Or so I thought.
When I got there, half a dozen guys in shorts were working round the clock pumping out water from the far end of the resort. The beach end.
The bad news: there was going to be no beach wedding, unless the couple was prepared to move the muhurtham to another date. That wasn't an option!
The good news: there was going to be a wedding - rain or shine. Only that Arabian huts in the parking lot had replaced the far more attractive beach stage overlooking the horizon. We hoped there would be no more rain, because there was a sangeet planned for the evening and the Shamianas weren't good enough for a downpour -- the Arabian huts had barely enough cover for 10 people.
But there was rain. And lots of it. The 200-plus guest count quickly dwindled to 50. It took a lot out of the family to make the bride smile. This wasn't the dream wedding she had planned. But brave that she was, Shira decided that the show had to go on. So, with 50-odd people as the audience, the small bunch of cousins and uncles and aunties put on a show for more than an hour.
After the Sangeet, driving back in the night wasn't an option, so the team of photographers and cinematographers found a couple of spare rooms closer to the beach -- spare, because you had to wade through hip-high water to get to the rooms. We prayed for sun in the morning, before fatigue took over.
The morning after wasn't sunny -- a peep now and then, that's all. Thankfully, there was no rain. But the moisture made shooting difficult - haze was a constant problem. In spite of all that, I'm happy that the images turned out pretty good. Mostly because the couple decided the rain and the washout wasn't going to dampen their spirits. Glad they chose to be that way, on the most important day of their lives.
It was indeed a wedding I'll never forget.