This article originally appeared on VICE India.
Indian weddings are not only a way for couples to spend a fortune just so they can publicly promise to spend every possible waking hour of their life with another person, but also the best form of flexing to all your friends, family and that one selfie-taking uncle (you know who you are). While most people tend to go all out to mark the day society finally approves of their active sex life, some couples can’t help but go the extra mile. And while we’ve heard of grooms turning up in vintage cars, speedboats and even on moving DJ booths, one newly-wed guy just outdid them all.
27-year-old Akaash Yadav, an Indian-origin professional actor and dancer, was all set to marry Gaganpreet Singh in a traditional Indian wedding ceremony at a hotel in Mexico last week. But just before he could actually tie the knot, this guy made a leap of faith that has now made him famous. He skydived into his own wedding baraat.
A video of him whooshing through the sky as his baraat of guests waits and watches for glimpses of the airborne groom has now gone viral on Instagram, and become the subject of much bemusement. So, we decided to ask the groom to spill all the deets, from why he decided to do something so outrageously extreme to how people reacted to it. Here’s what he had to say.
VICE: Hey Akaash. First things first, tell us what inspired you to skydive into your own wedding?
Akaash: I actually wanted to come in a big boat with all my groomsmen and a dhol, and party all the way to the beach. But because of legal reasons, I couldn’t. Apparently, turtles lay eggs on parts of the beach, so I didn’t argue because… well, turtles.
So I said if I can’t come by sea then I want to come by air. Everyone laughed, then everyone stopped laughing, and then I said, “No I’m serious.” I had no idea if it was even possible. I just imagined skydiving into my baraat and the idea just stuck with me.
Gagan, my wife, was pretty supportive of me jumping out of a plane, although she was holding her breath the entire time, just like she’s usually supportive of my occasionally extremely extra behavior.
So how did the two of you meet and why did you decide to get married?
My wife and I actually met in college. We were on the same Bhangra team. I was the captain of the team (she says I was a mean captain but that’s okay). We were best friends for years, it was very Shah Rukh-Kajol from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai minus the other marriage and daughter thing. We would always laugh and play and fight and were 100 percent there for each other.
After I graduated, she came to California for my grad party and sparks just flew. We had a moment and we realised that this was something more.
Was coordinating with the rest of the baraat easy?
The baraat was originally supposed to be waiting and watching from a terrace at the hotel. That way we had more of a landing area and less chances to make a mistake. But at the last minute, my dad decided to have everyone waiting on the beach for us. To make matters worse, the winds were starting to pick up quite a lot and we were starting to see storm clouds in the distance. The pilot pulled the instructor aside and said in Spanish (I’m assuming he didn’t know that I speak Spanish), “We need to leave now or we’re fucked,” to which I responded, “Let’s fucking do it.”
Once we were airborne, the only way we could be updated on the baraat was what we could see from the sky. Trust me, they looked like ants and we could barely see anything. It was very much a moment of let’s-jump-and-figure-it-out-on-the-way-down.
So I jumped.
Were you afraid you wouldn’t land in the right place and just end up in some random area?
I was totally concerned about not landing in the right place. The three possibilities were on the beach, on a random rooftop, or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I joked that it’s okay because I could swim, but low key, it was a real concern.
The instructor joked that sharks like the taste of newlyweds, which, although hilarious, wasn’t in the best taste at the time.
What was your wife and family’s reaction when you first told them you were doing this?
The question of following traditions was a big one for this wedding. I’m Hindu and my wife is Sikh, so we tried to balance and respect both religions and cultures as best we could. But we also acknowledged that this was our wedding and ‘log kya kahenge?’ (what will people say?) didn’t matter to us. It took a little while for our family to come around, but eventually, they understood and we all walked away happy.
Would you say this is the wildest thing you’ve done in life so far?
This is pretty darn high on the list of wild things I’ve done. I’m generally kind of an adrenaline junkie. This is the second time I’ve skydived but I love extreme water and snow sports as well. But I’m also a performer. When I was around eight years old, I danced to Chaiyya Chaiyya with Shah Rukh Khan in San Francisco in front of thousands of people. After that experience, all bets were off. Now, I’ve even gone shark cage diving, among other extreme adventure sports.
What did you hope to achieve by skydiving into your own wedding? Was it for the social media fame?
It’s very much just my personality to push boundaries. My biggest pet peeve is being told I can’t do something. If it’s not possible, I go out of my way to make it possible. This was very much that kind of situation.
What kind of baraat did your parents want you to have?
My parents wanted the whole horse entrance or an elephant. But I’m pretty conscious of how the animals are treated and I didn’t want to promote something like that. So I decided to jump off from a plane instead.
What was more fun? The dive or the rest of the wedding?
Hahaha you’re going to get me in trouble. The dive was amazing, but it all led up to marrying my gorgeous bride.
If not skydiving or a speedboat, what other adventure sport would you have liked to incorporate into your wedding schedule?
Apparently riding in a shark wasn’t an option unfortunately, but that would’ve been incredible. But I truly don’t know how I could have topped this. I’m living my best life and I have zero regrets.
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