Kangan saw Oli’s unfailing charm fail as her mother’s eyes narrowed and she asked him ‘what are your intentions?’ Six months later Oli was on a plane to Ludhiana to get to know Kangan’s parents better. When he arrived he was unceremoniously bundled into the house, out of sight. Kangan’s parents were still adjusting to their daughter’s relationship with a white man. A family road trip was planned. Oli optimistically considered the 1200 mile round trip to Rajestan an opportunity to bond. The journey was occasionally perilous, painted trucks honked their way down the highways, their horns doing less to alert drivers than their gaudy, hand-painted livery. The drive left everyone tired and parched so Kangan’s dad pulled off the road onto an unpaved track to look for a drink. He followed a series of discreet signs, taking half a dozen mis-turns until a building rose up to meet them. It stood incongruously, like an ornate wedding cake, in the shadow of a vast granite hill. Through no plan they had found the old hunting lodge of Jodhpur’s Royal family. It was now a beautiful hotel, its grounds studded with pink Bougainvillea and Frangipani trees. This, Oli and Kangan later decided, was where they would marry. The chief obstacle to getting their friends here was not the flight to India but the poor signage to the remote hotel. The solution was to commission Jally, one man from a whole industry of men dedicated to painting ‘Horn OK Please’ in loud, beautiful, coloured script on India’s trucks.   

10 Jan 2017