How Not to Arrive at an Indian Wedding

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Ah, the perils of oneupsmanship. Kanwar Singh Tanwar was hosting a reception to honor his son’s wedding this week, and the main event was to be the arrival of a helicopter, a thoughtful little wedding present from the bride’s parents. This was not just any helicopter—of the kind that nouveau-riche farmers might merely rent to arrive at their weddings in style. This chopper would belong to the Tanwars, who generously offered to share it with the less fortunate, according to the Times of India:

“I will talk to the medical establishments in the region, which have helipad facilities on their campus. I will share the contact number with them. Since I have a qualified doctor and team of medical staff, I’d like it to be used to rescue people in need.”

It’s not a bad idea. Ambulance services in India are notoriously slow, if available at all, even in its biggest cities. There are handful of efforts to change that, like the Dial 1298 emergency service featured recently in Harvard Business Review. But in Indian villages, an ambulance is about as rare as reliable electricity.

But first, the copter would have to meet the thousands of guests whom Tanwar had reportedly invited in his home village of Asola. They waited, but it was not to be. Bad weather in New Delhi (we’ve been having unseasonable cold and rain) prevented the chopper from landing, and so it will have to make its debut another day. I blame the big brown cloud.