Just hours before the ceremony on 6 December, in the the western Indian state of Rajasthan, the bride-to-be was diagnosed with coronavirus. But instead of cancelling the event, the ceremony went ahead.
“Not in my wildest dream I could have thought we would have to wear a PPE (personal protective equipment) kit at our wedding and medic team will shower flowers on us,” Shyam Sharma, the 26 year old groom, told The Independent. “I am happy we were able to get married despite difficulties but I am worried about the health of my wife.”
Wearing hazmat suits from head to toe, Mr Sharma and Ankita exchanged garlands while the priest, also looking like an astronaut in a blue PPE, recited mantras.
The two got married at a covid centre before the fire, considered sacred in the ceremony, lit under the red canopy. There were just four people allowed at the wedding - the bride, groom, priest and bride’s father.
The videos and pictures of the wedding went viral on social media in India.
Mr Sharma said he had been planning the wedding for over a year and had already been postponed due to lockdown in March. The families had planned a low key wedding due to pandemic with limited guests.
Many of the guests had arrived to attend the wedding while others returned after knowing the bride has tested positive for the virus.
“Ankita was also heartbroken when the results came out but I asked her to be patient. Like any girl, it was Ankita’s dream as well to get married in a traditional red attire surrounded by her family,” Mr Sharma said.
Traditional weddings in India are known for their extravaganza, fanfare spread over several days and elaborate wedding attires. Numerous couples are getting married in India amid the raging pandemic in the second worst-hit country, only behind the US, with over nine million cases.
Dr Arif Shaikh, who is the chief medical officer of the district, said the wedding went ahead in accordance with local Covid protocol, as the family claimed that Hindu customs forbid cancelling a wedding once rituals are initiated.
The bride was tested for Covid-19 after two of her family members tested positive for coronavirus four days before the wedding. Her mother was also found to be infected on the morning of the wedding, Dr Shaikh told The Independent.
“The bride had already left for the wedding venue before the results came. When we got the information we tracked them and directly took them to Covid centre,” he said.
As the family insisted that the wedding could not be cancelled, the local administration decided that all other functions in the marriage would be cancelled and only the main wedding ritual would be allowed in the presence of four people.
Though Covid-19 played a spoilsport on their biggest day, Mr Sharma said he is happy they were finally able to get married.
At present, the bride, Ankita, and her mother are in isolation at their home and receiving treatment. Meanwhile, samples were taken from Mr Shyam after the wedding and he is awaiting the result.
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