The Ceremony Was Embargoed – The New York Times

The Ceremony Was Embargoed - The New York Times

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Late this summer, friends and family of R N Tharu and Rishi Vijay Gupta received a hefty package in the mail. Inside, wrapped in plastic, was a thick pack of papers marked with a request: “If you are reading this before September 27, 2020, we kindly request you to stop, put everything back into the package, and wait until September 27 to proceed.”

Suppose that the recipients’ curiosity got the better of them, and they opened the packet anyway. Inside, they would have found a bound yellow book titled “A Wedding of the Imagination,” written by Ms. Tharu and Mr. Gupta. If they had flipped a few pages in, they would have seen a table of contents outlining a “wedding play” spanning five acts and more than 150 pages. Its characters? Mr. Gupta, Ms. Tharu and their family and friends. Its themes? Love, family, friendship and commitment.

One might assume, learning this, that Ms. Tharu and Mr. Gupta are professional playwrights. But Ms. Tharu, 30, a product manager at Facebook in Menlo Park, Calif., and Mr. Gupta, 32, a software engineer at Airtable in San Francisco, are not. The idea for a play in place of a conventional wedding ceremony — originally conceived by Ms. Tharu, who, along with Mr. Gupta, is Indian American — came not from a passion for theater, but from a feeling of being between two cultures.

“In an Indian ceremony, you have the bride and groom in a corner, they’re doing stuff on their own and everyone kind of ignores them most of the time,” Ms. Tharu said. “The point is for them to talk to each other. Whereas, in an American ceremony, all eyes are on the bride and groom.”

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