In The Wedding Photographer by Sakshama Puri Dhariwal, when wedding photographer Risha Kohli sits next to handsome young tycoon Arjun Khanna on a flight, sparks fly. Buy this smart, sassy, sexy novel here.
Risha plugged her memory card into her laptop, grumbling to herself. Nidhi called this her ‘post-partum depression
phase’, sifting through thousands of photos for the first cut selection. Unlike traditional wedding photographers,
Risha didn’t believe in sending her clients thousands of photos to choose from. She spent a substantial amount of
time on a thorough quality check. She painstakingly looked through each image, discarding the ones with poor lighting or resolution, cluttered frames and, most importantly, the non-candid images or ‘posers’. Most clients had a regular photographer to cater to requests such as ‘Hamare kitty party group ki ek photo lena’; they didn’t need Risha for that. Risha gulped down her lukewarm coffee, and started with the obvious thumbnails.
Select, delete. Select, delete.
If Risha ever quit her job to do photography full time, the first thing she would do would be to hire an assistant
for this specific task. She loved taking photos and even enjoyed working on the album design, but the tedium of
going through each and every image was something she could do without.
One particular image caught her eye and she zoomed in on it. It was a photo of the bride’s father during the
vidaai. His eyes glimmered with unshed tears and his lips were pursed together to suppress the inevitable
breakdown. Just looking at the emotion captured in the image gave Risha goosebumps. It was photos like these
that made her love wedding photography so much.
Risha’s faraway smile was interrupted by an elbow jammed into her ribs.
‘He is your boyfriend, na?’ Bunty giggled.
She shot Bunty an angry glare that made him jump in his seat, knocking over his juice box and sending a spray of sticky orange juice all over her laptop.
Risha froze. Bunty’s mother stared at Risha in horror.
‘Behenji, I am raylee raylee sorry.’
She whacked Bunty on the head and said in a menacing tone, ‘Bunty, ab tu dekh what I will do with you. I will throw you out from this window and you will have to reach Delhi on your own!’ The threat sounded legit to Risha. A moment later, it was confirmed that Bunty had bought it too, because his fear-stricken bowels finally caved in. And just like that, Bunty went in his seat.
‘Are you kidding me, Kritika?’ Risha exploded. ‘A boy just pooped in the seat next to mine! Do you seriously expect me to spend the next twelve hours sitting there?’
‘I’m so sorry, love—’
‘Yes, I know. “The flight is full.” You have to do something. I’ve been sitting there patiently for the last two hours, but I just can’t take it any more. I’ll sit anywhere else. ANYWHERE!’ Risha said in exasperation. Whatever
happened to ‘ek Hindustani hi ek Hindustani ke kaam aa sakta hai’? Way to set false expectations, DDLJ.
Risha turned to Connor for help, but he just shrugged.
Kritika arched a perfectly shaped brow. ‘You’ll sit anywhere?’
‘Yes!’ Risha nodded.
‘Sure!’ Risha agreed with relief.
‘Next to the toilet?’ Kritika asked.
‘I’m already sitting next to the toilet. Get it?’ Risha winked.
Kritika gave her a blank look, then broke into trademark faux grin. ‘I’m so sorry, love. The flight is full.’ Then she whipped around and walked off.
Risha stared after Kritika, puzzled. Was this woman a robot trapped in a human’s body? Risha turned to Connor with a helpless look. ‘What just happened?’
‘What happened,’ Connor said, taking a step closer to her, ‘is that a seat just opened up in business class.’
Risha was caught off guard by his sudden proximity, but the words ‘business class’ made her ears perk up. She tossed her long brown hair behind her shoulder and tipped her head innocently. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Kritika is always a cow to girls who are prettier than her,’ he said with a flattering smile.
Risha giggled. Or she hoped it was a giggle. Nidhi always said Risha’s laugh was like a Punjabi man’s — loud, hearty and interspersed with snorts. Risha prayed this laugh had sounded more like Aishwarya Rai and less like Kangana Ranaut.
‘The airline has a strict guideline about broken TV screens,’ Connor explained, taking another step towards Risha. He was now standing a mere six inches from Risha and she was beginning to feel quite uneasy. Or maybe it was the garlic on his breath that was making her nauseated.
Risha considered herself fairly inept at the art of flirting, so she racked her brain for the contents of Kabir’s
latest weekly column titled ‘Flirt Your Way to Success: 5 Handy Tips’.
She had already done the hair-tossing and giggling, what else was left? Ah, the slouching! The article had mentioned that men like women who literally look up to them, because apparently it gives them a faux sense of power. At 5’8″, Risha was taller than most Indian men — and definitely this petite British man — so she bent
her knees to appear shorter. ‘Go on.’
Connor’s smile widened. ‘On any flight longer than four hours, if the TV screen is not working, the passenger
is entitled to a seat change. And if there is no seat available in the passenger’s class, the passenger is entitled to an upgrade.’
Risha looked puzzled. ‘But my TV screen—’
‘Isn’t working. I know, love. Give me a few minutes and I’ll arrange for you to move up a few seats.’ He winked. ‘Terms and conditions apply.’
Risha frowned. ‘What terms and conditions?’
He straightened and said nervously, ‘Uh, your phone number? So I can ring you in Delhi, and maybe we can get a drink?’
Wait, what? All she had to do was give this guy a fake number and she could get upgraded to business class? She had given out fake numbers to persistent guys at weddings more times than she could count. It was so much easier
than going through the whole ‘I’m not interested’ routine.
‘Of course,’ Risha said with a demure smile. ‘Why don’t you come by business class in a bit and I’ll feed it into your phone?’
Interested? Buy The Wedding Photographer by Sakshama Puri Dhariwal here.