- A couple from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, rent a SpiceJet flight to get married in an effort to get around Covid restrictions. Social media doesn't take it too kindly.
Moneyed Indians have been known to pull off the most extravagant and elaborate stunts on their wedding day, from the groom skydiving on his wedding altar, to India’s richest family hiring Beyoncé to perform at a pre-wedding event. But as India deals with the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, severe curbs have been placed on public gatherings, including weddings ceremonies, to avoid the spread of the virus.
So, an entrepreneurial couple from Madurai, decided to circumvent the newly-placed Covid restrictions, by getting married mid-air! Rakesh and Dakshina reportedly chartered a plane and held a mid-air wedding with more than 160 guests in an effort to escape coronavirus restrictions.The 7-second clip shared by user @DonthuRamesh that has now gone viral on social media, shows the couple getting married on a plane packed with their friends and relatives around them, dressed in their wedding finery, sans masks or any social-distancing. Reportedly, the couple had booked a SpiceJet flight during which they flew from Madurai to Bengaluru. The wedding was solemnized during the flight.
However, the staff of SpiceJet can be seen masked up, wearing PPE, smiling with the happy couple. Since being shared online, the couple has received mixed reactions on social media. While some find the idea ingenious or simply bizarre, others were quick to call out the insensitivity and the risk involved in holding such an event, even as India recorded the world’s highest daily death toll.
Tweeted netizen Prashant Kumar on hearing the news, “Just read a news that a Madurai couple married onboard a flight. Why? Because there was a limitation in the number of guests back in town. The marriage had around 120 plus guests. All on board the chartered flight. Matlab, jugaad ka level dekho bhaiya! Adbhut.”
However, not everyone was so enamored. Tweeted a netizen in response to Kumar, “Seriously? Only Indians can get these loopholes to use for their advantage.” Similarly, tweets Netizen Anindya, “This is the utter mockery of rules imposed by Govt.”
Dr. Zaidi in turn tweeted, “The government only knows how to oppress the poor. These are rich people. Whatever they do is forgiven.”
Netizen Ruchee took to social media to point out, “Whom are they fooling? The govt. Or themselves? This mindset is far deadly than any virus. It’s a shame & such ppl don’t deserve to taken care of by our frontline workers who put their lives at risk everyday. #COVID19India.”
Others like Prashant Kanha, congratulating the couple, tweeted, “Marriage in a plane to duck covid social gathering restrictions: SOCIALLY; smart and innovative, but, LEGALLY; a mischief and illegal act. Section 188 IPC and 51 NDMA is applicable. Albeit, Congratulations to the couple.” He further asked for answers from the airlines. “@flyspicejet how could you allow that.It’s ridiculous.@DGCAIndia @MoCA_GoI must take action against @flyspicejet forletting its plane used as wedding destination and violating the covid norms.”
Some went so far as to tweet, “So you people are mesmerized by money, rule flouting or sheer lawlessness? Seems more by Chartered flight! These 120 people should be investigated and if confirmed book for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.”
And then there were others like Koushik Chakrabarti who found the humor in the seriousness of the matter when he tweeted, “Just find one of them positive and then make all 160 passengers spend their 14 days isolation in this flight itself, probably mid-air.”
Tamil Nadu, where the flight was said to have originated, recently imposed tougher restrictions, limiting weddings to 50 guests. India’s aviation authority has launched an investigation, news reports said.
An official from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told the Times of India that the SpiceJet staff aboard the flight had been taken off duty. A SpiceJet spokesperson told the Indian Express that the Boeing 737 was booked from Madurai to Bangalore by a travel agent for a trip after a wedding. The spokesperson said the client was “clearly briefed on Covid guidelines to be followed and denied permission for any activity to be performed on board.”
India is suffering a devastating second wave of coronavirus that has killed at least 300,000 people, according to official figures. Experts estimate that the real death toll is far higher.