By Kahini Iyer Jun. 25, 2019
After the ₹200-crore double wedding of NRI businessmen Ajay and Atul Gupta’s sons, 4000 kg of garbage was left behind at Uttarakhand’s (formerly) picturesque Auli. That’s a power move — one that says, “I don’t have to give a shit about this planet, I have a first-class ticket on Elon Musk’s rocket to Mars.”
Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be a wedding to rival Isha Ambani’s extravaganza last year (let’s face it, her brother Akash’s nuptials in March came close, but failed to make the cut after they went with Maroon 5 over Beyoncé), the NRI billionaires have arrived on our shores to teach us country cousins a thing or two. I’m talking, of course, about the frankly insane double wedding of the South African Gupta scions: The two sons of Atul Gupta, and his brother Ajay, who was last year briefly declared a fugitive by the South African authorities.
Whoops! Turns out, in addition to building their business empire, the Guptas have taken the phrase “filthy rich” literally, and are notorious for their shady involvement with former South African President Jacob Zuma — so much so that this unholy alliance is referred to as “Zupta”. Clearly, we need to up our nickname game when it comes to Indian billionaires who get cosy with politicians.
But at least our homegrown industrialists are a good deal richer than the Guptas, whose most successful member, Atul, is only the seventh-richest guy in South Africa and a mere multimillionaire at that. However, Ajay, despite his legal scuffles, is presumably doing better than Anil Ambani. Along with his brother, he shelled out a cool ₹200 crore for the double wedding of his son Suryakant and his nephew Shashank last week in Uttarakhand’s (formerly) picturesque Auli.
The Guptas didn’t just pump cash into the community’s economy, they also invigorated the local flora and fauna by forcing them to fight for their lives. After the wedding wrapped up, 4000 kg of garbage was left strewn around the venue, ensuring that the Gupta family wedding had truly left its mark.
It’s a much-needed kick in the pants for an environment that, pre-Guptas, was almost too clean.
It’s a much-needed kick in the pants for an environment that, pre-Guptas, was almost too clean. Now, Auli, which had been feeling rather left out, can join its fellow hill stations in complaining about shitty tourists and litter. More importantly, the Guptas have set a new standard for the ameer log ke shaadi, without spending an extra dime besides the pocket change of ₹54,000, which they offered to help clean up their mess in Auli.
Although this particular function pales in comparison to the brace of next-level Ambani weddings — Isha’s alone came to an estimated ₹710 crore — this is still a proper destination wedding for the Guptas. Not only did they leave behind a lot more than footprints, they revelled in the local culture, inviting Baba Ramdev to conduct a two-hour yoga session at the wedding itself, and enjoying the musical stylings of Badshah and Abhijeet Sawant. A host of Bollywood stars and politicians, having worked tirelessly to bring us thought-provoking films and good governance, took the opportunity to let their hair down at the event. You’ve really got to give the Guptas props for being so committed to the authentic Indian wedding experience.
And we, too, have learned a great deal from their culture, like how to win the #ShaadiWars even if you don’t have the most money. Opulence is one thing, but hitting the headlines because of all the trash you left behind? That’s a power move — one that says, “I don’t have to give a shit about this planet, I have a first-class ticket on Elon Musk’s rocket to Mars.”
Mukeshbhai himself would have a hard time being so callous, if only because he would fear the inevitable backlash. He went through the PR trouble of feeding the poor during his children’s weddings, and donating to temples. But the Guptas are far above such petty concerns. Knowing that their image is already in the gutter, they are safely ensconced in their Johannesburg estate, waiting for Auli to send them an inconsequential bill for the clean-up that they will totally, definitely pay.
The Guptas’ trash mountain is sure to become a status symbol for the 2019 wedding season.
Talk about the ultimate flex. When your wedding is so massive that it can single-handedly destroy a whole hill station, you have nothing left to prove to anyone, however rich they may be. The Guptas’ trash mountain is sure to become a status symbol for the 2019 wedding season: A sign that you, like an oil magnate, are simply too wealthy to be bothered with hippie nonsense like the environment, especially when you can jet off to greener pastures and leave your trail of destruction behind. Never forget: Net worth is only a number, but entitlement lasts forever — just like the plastic waste currently festering atop the once-beautiful ski slopes of Auli.
Kahini spends an embarrassing amount of time eating Chinese food and watching Netflix. For proof that she is living her #bestlife, follow her on Instagram @kahinii.