On December 26th Sankat and I and our 30 closest friends set out to attend our wedding in Ahmadabad India. Getting married in India sounded like a great idea, I always wanted a destination wedding, Sankat always wanted his family to be able to attend the wedding. Simple right have the wedding in India they've got beaches right??
No, not so simple. . . but to make the storytelling easier I'll divide the major events up into smaller pieces.
Most of us were flying from Chicago O'Hare to Delhi on a direct Air India flight. The way we scheduled the flight we would arrive in Ahmadabad the night before the first event the Mendi program (henna painting). (My mother in-law warned me this was cutting it too close because "there is so much fog in Delhi, flights never on time") But, I wanted everyone to enjoy the Christmas Holiday as asking people to fly halfway around the world for my wedding was already too much, so hence the departure date was set for Dec 26th.
We arrived at the airport 3 hours before our scheduled departure and get in line to check luggage. On the monitor it shows that the flight is delayed 12 hrs. Oh yea a half a day behind schedule. Joy. I ask about the connecting flights to Ahmadabad and was assured that they would hold the planes as to all the passengers are on the flight we were getting on. There will be an Air India representative to guide us when we get off the plane. We take over the bar in the international departures and watch the Bears game. Some people check into the hotel to sleep others travel back to the city for forgotten possessions.
We get ready to board the flight at 11pm and take off for Delhi. A sigh of relief rushes over me we will get to India not the night before but at least the morning of the Mendi program. All is well.
Twelve hours later we arrive in Delhi international airport. As we disembark there is no Air Indian representative there to greet us. Sankat, his brother (Shalin) and I huddle together to talk about the best plan of action to get us and all of our friends to the next plane. Sankat is going to go ahead and talk to a airline personnel and Shalin and I are going to wait for all the luggage and then meet him. Sankat goes ahead with half the group that has luggage Shalin and I stay behind.
Once the rest of the luggage arrives Shalin and I keep following signs to the airline checkin. We go upstairs, around, downstairs, following the advice of signs and armed guards. We end up outside the airport. It's pitch dark as it is about 6 am in Delhi (and who the hell knows what time in my head). Shalin and I walk up to the doors to get into the airport. You can see the checkin counters through the glass.
A guard asks us for our itineraries (there are about 15 of us) we show him our paper print outs and tickets.
Guard- This flight yesterday
Selina- yea I know but our flight from Chicago was delayed
Guard- No enter without today's ticket
Shalin- I know but my brother and group is inside let us in.
Guard- No please step back
Shalin- No, let us talk to an airline representative
Guard- STAND DOWN
Where at this time the guard closes the glass doors and him and three other men get down in the attack position aiming their semi automatic weapons at us.
Selina- Shalin stand next to me so my mom doesn't see the guns. She'll freak out
Shalin- If I get F***in shot going to your wedding I'm never talking to you again
Selina- Fair point
We continue to stand till finally someone lets us in. We walk up to the counter which is swarmed with 100s of angry Indians. Our group being American with personal space appreciation gets shoved to the back. Everyone is waving their passports, itinerary. People are standing on top of the counters pushing and shoving. Some how some way half of us get on a flight to Ahmadabad. The other half must wait.
We clear security. Get on the plane. and of course we are the only people on the plane the rest is empty and the rest of our group sits in the airport. Oh the joy.
This is only the start of the Partel wedding adventure.