'Shaadi in Jaipur'
See India through the eyes of International Consultant Bradley Carter as he works, lives and travels across India.
Brad awoke to a loud car horn. The morning doodhwala announced his delivery to the neighbours next door.
The neighbours must not have woken to receive their milk delivery. The horn blasted again, shattering the silence of the neighbourhood.
Brad was now awake.
He washed his face and headed out for a walk/jog in the nearby park.
He had been living in Jaipur for a few months. He had settled into the lifestyle with ease.
The ease was due to an extraordinary level of thought and planning from his one-of-a-kind colleague "BD."
In general, people in Jaipur appeared to go about their daily life with a minimum of fuss.
* * *
The park was immaculate. Brad saw some young girls modelling in the park.
They gave him a friendly wave, recognising a foreigner in the park.
Brad waved back and quickly moved away from the group, hoping not to become a part of the photoshoot.
He was frequently the centre of attention due to his striking appearance. It happened with almost every consultancy he took on around the world.
It is what it is, he thought. People are basically just curious and friendly.
* * *
He finished at the park an hour later and headed in an auto to meet his friend for chai.
People kept trying to drag him to Starbucks, and he kept trying to lure them back to the five rupee chai stand on the side of the road!
Brad was looking down at his phone when BD arrived.
"Hey BD, whats happenening?"
"What's got your attention?"
"Just a message from Sophie. She's in London.
"Ah, okay, got it. How was Hyderabad?"
"Really, really good, loved the place. I think I was in a good suburb, but the whole trip was worth it. Met a very knowledgeable tech advisor."
Brad and BD sat and sipped their tiny teas. The servings were like shots of tea.
They were both tall, so their legs were positioned at an awkward angle due to the low benches at the tea stall.
They ordered another 'round.'
"How's work? Did they end up going to Uttarakhand?"
"No, that was cancelled, luckily. I didn't have time to prepare the data anyway, so I am saved this time" BD laughed.
"I gotta ask you a favour, Brad."
"Sure, what do you need?"
"I need you to come to a wedding tonight. I need an excuse to leave early, and I need a distraction from the questions from the family." BD smiled.
"Ah. Okay, sure, no problems. I don't have an outfit, though?"
"That's fine, as we are the same size. I have too many of these outfits anyway!"
"Okay, done. I'll be there."
* * *
Brad was kindly invited to many weddings while working overseas.
A few years ago, he attended a wedding in Cyprus with 3000 guests.
He was happy to help out BD anyway. He was the reason Brad was able to work without stress. BD was part best friend and part spiritual guide.
BD was just Brad's colleague. And without any obligation, he went above and beyond to make Brad's stay seamless and see that he never wanted to leave India.
Brad had an unusual emptiness when they were apart. He was not used to missing anyone - Except for Snoop.
* * *
Both men entered the wedding hall. Both were over six feet tall. They looked like they represented the Indian and Australian cricket teams!
It was immediate - questions, smiles, selfies, cricket talk.
BD smiled at everyone and took Brad over to the side of the room.
"Okay, so here's the deal. I am thinking about getting re-married if anyone asks. Just be vague if anyone asks about me," BD wasn't laughing and looked a little stressed.
"No problems. I'll do my best."
"Okay, here comes the first one now. I'm going to get a drink. You want one?"
"Sure, whatever you're having."
BD left Brad, who stood with a hand in his pocket and looked toward the approaching Aunty.
"Hi! Where are you from?" she asked directly
"Australia, but working in Jaipur."
"Oh, that's great. My cousin is in Perth. What do you do?
Again, quite direct from Aunty. She didn't care about Brad's name.
"I'm working on disaster relief."
"Oh, how nice! Are you married?"
"No." Brad laughed.
"Oh. Well, you don't want to wait too long."
"Yes, you are right. My parents say the same."
Brad's parents did not say the same, but he sensed where this friendly interrogation was heading.
"So, are you with the bride or groom?" Brad deftly shifted the focus.
"He's my nephew, the groom."
"Well, congratulations! Do you have any other nephews or nieces?" Brad asked.
The Aunty looked a little puzzled at how she became the one answering questions.
"Just the one, dear. Just the one."
Aunty had become a little bored of the conversation and smiled and wandered off.
BD returned from the drinks table and handed Brad his drink.
His face gave way to the slyest of smiles. Brad smiled back.
They did not require words.
* * *