Monday, July 14, 2008

Groom creates stir by wedding 'drop in'

By Sandeep Sahu
BBC News, Bhubanseswar

Shishir Mishra and comrades arrive for the wedding
Shishir Mishra arrived from the heavens to sweep his intended away

It was not only the bride who gasped when she saw her future husband arriving at their wedding in India.

So too did everyone who was invited and much of the population of Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern state of Orissa.

That is because the groom - Shishir Mishra, a top skydiver from India's air force - parachuted into his wedding.

Such stunts are unusual in India, where many people - especially in rural areas - have never seen a parachutist let alone a groom arriving by air.


Mr Mishra jumped at around 7,000 feet from a helicopter and landed in a crowded sports ground just a short distance away from his bride's home.

Shishir Mishra
The groom looked every inch the action man

He and three fellow skydivers freefell before opening their parachutes a few hundred feet from the ground.

As they neared the ground, a crowd of well over 1,000 loudly cheered them on. A beaming Mr Mishra shook hands with everybody.

The bride, Sweta Prusty, was there at the ground to receive her groom-to-be with a bouquet in hand.

"Not for a moment was I afraid... I knew he would pull it off without any hitch," she declared after her swashbuckling fiance landed smoothly on the ground.

Mr Mishra said that his novel way of arriving was not done solely to impress his future bride - he wanted to promote and popularise skydiving in the state.

"I have been thinking of a skydiving demonstration in Orissa for some time now. But the idea of doing something on the occasion of my marriage struck me after I read about a couple in Maharashtra getting married in a hot air balloon recently," he said.

He said that he did not know beforehand that his wife-to-be would be there at the ground to receive him.

"It was a pleasant surprise," he said.

Mr Mishra is one of India's top skydivers. His career spans over a decade and he has notched up more than 22,000 free fall jumps.

He has even entered the record books for freefalling from a height of 15,000 feet with the national flag in hand.

Mr Mishra, from the Nayagarh district of Orissa, has trained hundreds of skydivers from the air force, navy and the army.


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