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Delhi smog: Masks and purifiers are ‘in’ this wedding season, a la Virushka

The Delhi wedding reception of Virat Kohli and Anushka had an interesting prop: air purifiers. Many couples in Delhi-NCR are also getting pollution-ready for their big day, and even using masks for couple albums.

delhi Updated: Dec 26, 2017 18:25 IST
Naina Arora
Naina Arora
Hindustan Times
Smog,Pollution,Air Purifiers
A pre-wedding shoot inspired by the rising pollution level in Delhi shows a couple wearing face masks. (Ashish Pareek)

At the recent wedding reception of Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and Bollywood actor Anushka Sharma, there was a high-profile guest list — and air purifiers to ensure that the toxic air of Delhi couldn’t invade the VIP lungs. In fact, Virushka isn’t the only couple whose wedding planner thought of this. Five- or four-star hotels in Delhi-NCR are all installing air purifiers in rooms and banquet halls to ensure that guests get clean air. Some couples are going a step further and shooting their pre-wedding albums with the anti-pollution mask as an accessory.

“It has always been our endeavour to ensure there’s no discomfort for guests visiting our hotels, regardless of the environmental conditions outside. We are engaging in additional efforts to monitor and enhance the air quality in guest rooms. At the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, we are controlling outdoor air intake mechanically by means of multi-layer pre-filters of 10 micron. This air is well filtered, through high-efficiency filters, before being distributed around the building. We have also placed natural oxygen emitters and air purifiers that have been suggested by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), namely areca palm and money plants inside the premises, as well as within 5km of the hotel radius,” says Gaurav Pokhariyal, area director, Taj Hotels and general manager, Taj Diplomatic Enclave, where Virat and Anushka recently had their reception gala.

Pokhariyal adds that though this is peak wedding season, the hotel has discontinued using diesel-powered generators following government directives.

Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma at their wedding reception in Delhi’s Taj Diplomatic Enclave, where air purifiers protected VIP lungs from foul air. ( Photo: Manoj Verma/HT )

The capital’s poor air quality has also led wedding planners in Delhi-NCR to suggest preventive measures to their clients such as distribution of anti-pollution masks to guests and installation of air purifiers at outdoor weddings. Shiv Srivastava, a wedding planner based in Gurgaon, says, “I suggested to a few of our clients that they keep anti-pollution masks at the venue. But, you know how the Indian market is... [people say] ‘sari aur zevar ke saath mask toh nahi chalta (a mask doesn’t go with sari and jewellery).’ People like to show off their jewellery and designer attire and a mask would spoil the look!”

Air purifiers, however, are the order of the day. Swati Pandya, a wedding decor stylist, says, “We’re very cautious these days and turn [any] outdoor arena into an enclosure by using fabric, and [then] install air purifiers that give off different aromas. We tell the clients that since the pollution is too much, we ought to keep air purifiers [at the venue], considering it’s not good for our team, too.”

Designer and wedding planner Nida Mahmood tells us, “When we’re offering A-quality services to the client, we also suggest air purifiers. The reaction we get from them is mixed.”

While some Delhiites have moved their outdoor wedding to an indoor venue, Shweta Acharya, a Delhi-based wedding planner says that some of her clients are being eco-friendly by “not bursting crackers in the barat (wedding procession)”.

A couple poses for a photo shoot amid thick smog wearing anti-pollution masks at India Gate, Delhi. ( Photo: Ashish Pareek )

Some creative couples are turning the smog and anti-pollution masks into artistic elements for their pre-wedding album. The expected picturesque background was replaced by a smoggy day at India Gate in an album shot by photographer Ashish Pareek, from Banjara Studios. He says, “Smog and pollution are serious issues that affect everyone. People are talking about the smog, and I was struck by the idea of a shoot with a couple showcasing the adverse effects of Delhi’s poor air quality. The couple readily agreed. We shot at India Gate near Connaught Place.”

The photographer adds, “We wanted to shoot at more places, but our eyes were burning, throats were itchy, and we had such difficulty in breathing that we decided to cut short the time of the shoot.”

Meanwhile, hotels such as ITC Maurya have planned to put up a board displaying real-time air quality both inside and outside the hotel, before people usher in the new year. “Various social events take place at the hotel, and since our sustainable practices are embedded in the day-to-day functioning of the hotel, guests will certainly benefit from the enhanced air quality. This is the first hotel in India to enrich indoor air quality, benchmarked against WHO standards,” says Dipak Haksar, chief executive, ITC Hotels and WelcomHotel.

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First Published: Dec 26, 2017 13:54 IST