Today, 14 July 2022, It’s almost three years into the incident.
Every newspaper around the world was making the same headlines. The most rich and beautiful princess MS Juno Vesta, the only heiress to the last monarchical dynasty of Scotland was to wed Peanut Charred, the affluent bachelor of Indian origin ,UK settled industrialist.
The date 14 July 2019, was fixed by the notable auger Mr.Minerva. The most exotic Eilean donan castle was the chosen venue. A five day celebration, two days prior and after the wedding was decided.
It was 6 months into the wedding, when I was hired, Deshi Flavors,The Indian Event Management Consultants. There was no need to be a Rajasthani ,Maharashtrian or Tamilian to observe the auspiciousness of an Indian wedding. It was just fun and funds. I offered my customer an International package ,with a bharatheeya touch.
Mehandi,palanquine,ghudsawari,antakshari ,saath phere and arundhati were included, along with the exchange of rings. Dhokla,Payasam,Thayir Sadam,Panipuri and Indian snacks were to be part of the menu along with french fries, chicken sixty five and continental non vegetarian dishes.
My first project in the UK. I address it as ‘ Don And Project 12’, My way of identifying each of my projects. Along with my partner Ponniyan, I made my first visit to the venue.
The Eilean Donan Castle was ancient yet novel. The lochs around were stunning. It was a special feeling of achievement and pride. Our planner mindset started working.
The first and last days would be the days of arrival and departure.Hence our itinerary included taking our guests around the castle, showing them a two hour video highlighting the history and the making of the castle , a hike in the highlands and local sightseeing .
It was decided, we have 3 cruise boats ,one at each loch. Our Desi events like mehandi and antakshari would be performed in these boats. That should help us divide the crowd as well. Along with mehandi and bangles , some traditional Indian and Japanese costumes to encourage photos and selfies were also considered.
I was a little skeptical about antakshari. So we decided to get our bands prepared for some top, evergreen Pop and other international hits. The likes of Elvis,Abba,Kenny Rogers and others.
We hired a few magicians as a backup.This program was finalized for the day after the wedding.
We could hear each other’s heart beat as we entered the castle. It was far too massive than the marriage mandaps, I have seen.Yet the guests would outnumber the size.
I had to engage more manpower, utensils, seating arrangements ,dining tables, decoration items… Oh! The list went on. Ponniyan was confident,we would manage the show. We heard a tot, tot,tot, sound,like that of a lizard. Other tourists and we were startled. On second thought ,it was a good omen.
Each guest must feel welcomed, not just invited.”It was this proposition that won us the contract.
We saw the castle well upgraded to 20th century ambience.
Electrical lighting,central heating system ,barrel vaulted ceilings, huge banquet hall,dining and ostentatiously rich bedrooms. Secret spy holes in ceilings were disseminating lights into the corridor.
There were large balconies facing the vast highlands. There were narrow pathways along the highlands. We decided upon the pathways and the directions for the ghudsawari and the bride on the palaquine to be brought.We would take them around the castle with beats and dance.The balcony would provide an excellent panorama..
Once again a tot,tot,tot.This time,we gave each other a high five.
We thought we would capture saptapadi,in the open, right in front of the main door.Guests can have a clear view from the balconies as well as the cruise.
The ring exchange was to happen in the church.
For Arundhati-Vasistaha, that is viewing of Mizar and Alcor we decided to hire a telescope.The terrace was considered ideal for this event.
We spoke to the local caretakers of the Castle,collected information like address means of transport,shops in the vicinity .In the evening we were back at our lodge. We made a list of support which we could expect from the caretakers and locals.
We decided to spend another day at Donan. We took a look at the nearby village. We made a note of all means of transport and their frequency available. An inventory of locally procurable items was made.
All our invitees were distinguished and renowned personalities. There were about Three hundred families .
We had to set a lot of things in place. Confusion and chaos needed to be avoided.So the work instruction for each and every employee was charted.An ISO9000 certification was assured if we had applied.
Locals from Rajasthan ,Maharashtra ,South India were signed up for respective performances and cooking. For Thair Sadam and Dokla, Ponniyan and myself roped in our close family members. Two birds in one stone.
The due date arrived. The marriage festivities began.
We had three large ships specially hired for the event , The Red Cruise at Loch Duich,The Green Cruise at Loch long and the Gray Cruise at Loch Alsh. Itinerary of events,dress code and gist of the event was shared with our guests.
Mehandi was now not just confined to our traditional designs, requests for Pokémon, Ash, Spider man, tigers, kangaroos to the Late princess were made. Some kids googled and got some new images.Some wanted their spouses face to be sketched ..My staff called this the Saif Prabhav. About 30 couples were under Saif Prabhav. The longer the green is retained ,the deeper the love,hahaha! We had a dozen staff to feed them water, drinks and snacks. Mehandi being painless, vibrant temporary Tattoo ,was very much embraced.
Many escorted the palanquin and ghudsawari.They were humming and rocking to paan banaraswala,bole chudiyan and kolaveri numbers. The guests were in full energy for Whole Lotta Love,originally from Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice , It’s alright .Even the highland meadows swayed to our melody. The song and dance went on for long hours.We repeated a few songs on request.
I had to convince my employees to put on a cheerful face, till the end. Actually this is an essential part of event management. If there can be a Business school for hotel and air hostess, why not Business school of Event Management? Will soon get the curriculum ready for Bachelors in Event Management.
All the celebrations of 13 th July concluded with satisfaction. The guests were pleased.
The next day around 10 am, the head priest solemnized the exchange of rings,amids cheers and laughter at the Plockton Church. The scenery around left everyone flabbergasted.
The purohit of saath phere ,performed the austerities to other willing couples as well. The men held their wives toe and made seven rounds,around the fire with mantras aloud.Our purohit chuckled when an unmarried pair was doing the rounds in a sneaky manner. He blessed them with an early marriage.I did get their invite a year back.
The evening program,Arundathi was viewed not just by the newly married couples ,but spinsters,bachelors and kids,in awe. My staff were fully engrossed, excited and voluntarily occupied with their customers.
But soon after, the Black event happened.The bride had adorned herself in her best jewelry,for the evening. After observing Arundathi, she walked down to the banquet hall to shake a leg with the groom and well wishers. Later she joined them for supper at the dinning. She was offered our exclusive menu of the moment , Pizza Sandwich .Three layers of thin crust pizza base with mayonnaise fillings in between and toppings of different combinations.This was the recipe. The wedding night was to be drinks and drinks unlimited,followed by a bash of Domino’s in Donan.
Just as she was about to take a bite,a lizard fell onto her pizza. She screamed and swooned. The crowd went helter-skelter. It took us about 20 minutes to come to our senses. The appearance and disappearance of the lizard became the main topic of discussion. People in panic were still looking left-right ,up and down for the lizard. Minutes later a seven year old girl pointed out that the bride’s exquisite diamond necklace was missing. 3000 miniature sized individually engraved diamonds went missing.The Scotland police showed up,within minutes . The celebrations came to a halt.
Search operations began , irrespective of position and cadre every one was being checked.My staff,including me were questioned again and again. We had no idea of the lizards or wizards. We came out clean.
Just one piece of evidence was there, an abandoned piece of log near the shore close to the bus station.We had about 8 drones taking photos and videos around the loch,highlands and the castle. All of them were handed over to the police.
All of us from event management were dressed in bright pink uniforms,so that we could be easily recognised and approached for assistance.There were about 7 of my employees at the theft site ,serving pizza and water.We had made dining arrangements at the 3 cruises as well. Ponniyan was also present in the vicinity busy checking the next day’s itinerary.I was in the store.My entry and exit was found recorded by the drones. A total in time and out time at the store room 12 minutes, hence a clean chit.
Our stay at Donan got extended by over a month. The Scotland police investigated us for almost two years . The Scotland police are known to be very out and out with their jobs.
Scotland police observation:
1) The lizard must have come through the spy openings at the ceiling ,the timing is just a coincidence.
2) If the thief had entered through the loch, he must have gotten wet when he came off shore. He would have got noticed.If we argue that clothes had been exchanged ,then wet abandoned clothes must have been discovered.
3) A few visitors to the site have confirmed saying some tot tot tot sound has been heard by them.Hence the lizard must have already been there.
4) The Monarch had proactively arranged a secret security service ,throughout the castle and nearby areas. The secret cameras installed to capture the entire segment of highland, showed no suspicious movement. Hence the thief’s entry and exit through highlands was ruled out.
5) The log was found at a distance of 4 miles from the crime scene,an hour’s swim., but all exits were closed by then,hence escape was ruled out.
6) After examining and cross examining, it is concluded that the theft involved more than one person.
After two years of wait ,
Case closed due to insufficient facts and figures and no trace of the necklace.
But then, A poor quality, easily dissolvable fabric which matched our event management uniform was procured. After fastening the jewel safely beneath the hull of the Red Cruise the log which was used as a shield was let go.
The uniform was drowned into the water after tying it to a stone.It shall ,anyways dissolve and not surface.
Some guts to hold and throw a lizard as if it were a ball.
Waited for the case to close,then collected the bounty.
As I say cheers, Tot tot tot, on the wall.
All 4 prompts used.
b.Place: Eilean Donan Castle,Scotland
d.Thing:A pizza slice
Bharateeya : Indian
Mehandi : a temporary henna tattoo
Ghudsawari : horse riding by the bridegroom
Palanquine : Covered wooden box,where one person can sit,and is carried by 4 men on their shoulders(normally the queen or bride sits inside)
Antakshar i :Musical game
Sath phere : circumambulating sacred fire ,seven times amidst chant of mantras
Arundhati viewing : observing the stars Alcor and Mizar
Dhokla, Payasam,Thayir Sadam,Panipuri : Indian vegetarian dishes.
Saif : A hindi actor ,who has a permanent tattoo of his wife