Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

With the news of former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta feeding on his long time friend and hedge fund galleon co-founder Raj Rajaratnam doing the rounds, I find this post rich in photographs of the gupta’s weddings would be quite interesting.  most of the photographs were taken in the 5-acre estate Westport, Connecticut. Rajat Gupta, the father of Geetanjali is a brilliant man, and holds many directorships in top companies and universities including Mckensy and co., Procter and Gamble, American Airlines. 

nwanze 8.jpg a beautifully bound and expensive wedding card in gold trimmings formally invited the guests to grace the occassion.

Although you can’t judge a book by its cover, the wedding card told me that this Indian is not from a poor family, and though Vincent is noble, certainly you can’t classify him as rich.  The rich, expensive card told me that the Indian family must be rich.  the mansion formerly owned by the JC Pennesy clan, which a neighbor said millions have been spent in renovating.

chukwuemeka being accompanied by mother-in-law to the temple after she welcomed him.

Vincent called again to say that the couple said they hadn’t received our return card about our attending, I quickly told him that yes we definitely were attending.  So, it came to pass that on Saturday, June 21, my wife dressed to the hilt in her African queen outfit, I know this because at the wedding, a lot of white people and some blacks, came to ask her about her Gele (head tie) and her matching dress, to the extent I became embarrassed at all the compliments she was getting.  As a double chief, I dressed appropriately myself, though nobody paid me the same compliments like my wife except initially when we got into the shuttle bus, a beautiful Indian woman asked whether I was the father of the bridegroom, my outfit she said looked rich.  I thanked her, but observed that the father of the bridegroom wouldn’t be riding the shuttle bus with us, and everybody laughed.

Armed with the new gadget that my family gave me during father’s day, the Sprint Mogul, which I understand is better than the blackberry, don’t take my word for it, okay take my word for it.  It has all kinds of things I don’t even understand or know how to use it – a GPS, a cam corder, a camera, you name it it has it.  My nephew plugged the address to where we were going in Connecticut, or by the way did I mention that when I found out from the card that the area in Connecticut was “Westport” I certainly knew it was for the ‘OKEOZUS”, ha ha go translate that.  Piam, piam, piam, the GPS led us to the place and we got there at 5:45 pm and were directed to park our car at a designated place, where we would be picked up by a shuttle bus.  There were like 10 shuttle buses there.  Confirmation, confirmation of OKEOZU.  Everybody in the shuttle bus with us were Indians.  Here, I am thinking what are these people thinking about their daughter marrying a black African.  The women were in their beautiful saris, and the men in their designer suits, not like those ill-fitting suits I talked about in Capitalist Nigger.

By the way just exiting on Exit 18 on the Connecticut Turnpike (95 North), you already know that only the rich live there.  The bus drove about half a mile to this lavish mansion, which I understand was originally built by the mogul J C Penney, on an five acre estate.  When we alighted from the bus, a beautiful African music was wafting and booming, and the escorting group for the bridegroom had just left the gate leading him in.  We quickly joined in, and already I am impressed with the high life beat that we are adulating to.  I am decked out in my chieftaincy out, rich dress, red necklace beads on my neck, my staff of office, the well-carved and heavy walking stick.  The first person to recognize me was former Nigerian Consul General in New York, Charles Awani, then former Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Segun Apata.  I looked across and there was the other heavyweight of Nigerian society, the noted hall of fame plastic surgeon Dr. Ferdinand Ofodile and his beautiful wife; the ubiquitous George Nwabukwu, now a CPA, decked out in his rich agbada and now practicing from Hyattasville, who shouted as soon as he saw me, “the big publisher himself,” and then somebody I didn’t know a Dr. Austin Chike Monu, (it didn’t say, M.D.) who is based in Charlotte, NC.  Of course, I couldn’t miss Michael Nwanze, who I had always thought was the younger of the Nwanze brothers, and I was rudely corrected to my own shame, when after Vincent made his fatherly speech, and I turned around where all of us were seated – the Onyeanis, the Ofodiles, the Nwanzes, Nwabukwu and the Monus, I turned around and said to Michael, “aren’t you just proud of your senior brother.” Everybody descended me and shouted that’s his younger brother.  It was an embarrassment to say the least.
The Nigerian contingent leading the bridegroom to the mansion

nwanze 4.jpg

The dancing drew the whole Indian crowd and a lot of them were rocking with us.  But most were merely intrigued.  At the front of the magnificent mansion, the music stopped and from the back where we were, we couldn’t see what was going on in the front.  But according to the information provided, it said that “When Chukwuemeka’s party reaches the doorsteps of Geetanjali’s house, the guests are given a warm welcome by Geetanjali’s family and close relatives.  The arrival of the marriage procession is declared by blowing a conch shell.  Geetanjali’s mother welcomes Chukwuemeka by placing a Kumkum Tilak (red colored power) on his forehead.  The Priest then leads the families into the Mandap (canopy) where the ceremony will be held.”A while later, there was a loud applause, signaling that whatever rites had been performed were performed well for the bridegroom.  After that, the priest led the procession to the magnificent and imposing Hindu Temple (the Mandap).  On the front left side were three rows of seats reserved for the bridegroom’s families, and we sat there as Chukwuemeka and his parents-in-law were accompanied into the temple.  It was there that I first greeted Vincent, and his wife let him know that I was the one greeting him, but I know he recognized my voice.  We sat in the front with them and his brother Michael and his wife.  The first thing I noticed was that no cameras or cameramen allowed into the temple, and you must shoeless when you go in there.

nwanze 5.jpgThe imposing temple where the Indian ceremony took place

nwanze 6.jpgGeetanjali being accompanied by her uncles into the temple

nwanze 7.jpgThe Hindu Priest conducting the ceremony in Sanskrit

The Priest chanted in Sanskrit, and the ceremony involved rice and water.  The Priest informed us that “Lord Ganesh is the symbol of auspicious beginnings happiness and prosperity.  The priest beins the ceremony with an invocation to Lord Ganesh so that his divine grace, power, love and spiritual strength may remove all obstacles for Geetanjali and Chukwuemeka and bless those taking part.  Geetanjali’s father gives high honor to Chukwuemeka by offering him a decorated seat, water to wash his feet and honey water in a bowl to sip.  All these were performed, and then the bride was accompanied into the temple by her uncle.  There were more blessings and Chukwuemeka’s sister was asked to tie them up with Geetanjali’s sari and Emeka’s scarf to signify togetherness.  Let me just say it was a beautiful ceremony that took almost two hours.  After the ceremony, we were asked to get our seat assignments, and after that it was onto cocktail hour where liquor flew like water and hot hors d’oeuvres were served in abundance. And to cut this part shorter, everything was magnificent during the dinner, the father was very proud of Emeka, and Vincent was proud of Geetanjali and thanked his in-laws for a magnificent evening.

nwanze 9.jpgGeetanjali and Emeka exit from temple to greet his parents

nwanze 10.jpgThe bride is certainly very happy as she and Emeka greet guests

nwanze 11.jpgFinally caught the father of the bride Rajat Gupta (right)

So, you are asking who are these people then?  As I noted already, Geetanjali must be strong-willed to persuade his parents to allow her to marry Emeka, but from the story the father told during dinner, it was really a non-issue.  She made up her mind and the parents agreed.  Both Geetanjali and Emeka met at Harvard University.  According to her father, after three years at Harvard, she decided she was tired and wanted to do something different, yes become a chef.  Her father said they agreed, but after a year, she got tired of that and returned to Harvard to finish her Bachelors, and then proceeded to do her MBA and JD (law) all at Harvard.  Emeka himself also finished his Bachelors at Harvard, but proceeded to Yale where he did his MBA and MD (physician) and he is specializing in ophthalmology, which his dad said might be because of his blindness now.  That’s really a great love and tribute to a father.  Geetanjali is one of the managers of the huge Harvard endowment fund, I believe amounting to over $28 billion, which is the highest of all universities.

nwanze 12.jpgThere is Mr. Gupta again (left) talking to some guests

nwanze 14.jpgSome other parts of the estate

Again, I am sure you want to know who is this guy with the over-accomplished daughter, with the 5-acre estate with a mansion to boot in toney Westport, Connecticut. Rajat Gupta, the father of Geetanjali is a brilliant man, and holds many directorships in top companies and universities.  He is the Managing Director of that ivy league of consulting companies, McKinsey and Company, if you don’t know about the company, look it up.  He is the first outsider, not born in America, to hold that post.  Like his daughter he graduated from Harvard with MBA and is on the board of Harvard, MIT and University of Chicago, Proctor and Gamble, etc, etc.  For me, the most important thing is he contributes heavily to the Democratic Party, e.g. contributing $25,000 to the Kerry campaign in 2004.  He has contributed well over $80,000 to the Democrats and the Democratic Party.  The wife, Anita is a big Hillary Clinton fan, if you know what I mean – big contributions. By the way, she is a woman of timber and caliber in her own right.  Anita Gupta graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, like her husband and did post graduate work at Columbia University. She worked as an electrical engineer in the satellite division of Bell Laboratories.

nwanze 15.jpgThe Ofodiles and myself, Chika Onyeani

nwanze 16.jpgThe Nwanzes (Michael and wife)

nwanze 17.jpgNwabukwu and the Monus

That’s the Guptas, now let’s come to the Nwanzes.  Vincent Nwanze is no slouch himself.  He graduated from a university in Ontario, Canada, and then did his Masters at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies where he graduated in 1973, was interviewed in Washington, DC by the Nigerian Federal Public Service Commission, offered a position in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, went home to Nigeria in October, was transferred to Nigeria’s diplomatic office in November the next month.  He served in places like, Hamburg, Cote d’Ivoire. Kenya, and of course New York.  Listen, don’t tell him what I said about him in the first paragraph.  Actually, he is a great guy.  He’s very appreciative of the sacrifice his wife made on his behalf, that’s putting all her dreams behind because of his position as a diplomat.  But he says he is very fortunate, she raised high achieving children, the girl has a Bachelors and Masters, the second boy has a Masters and Ph.D. in electrical engineering, and the last born has B.Sc in economics.

nwanze 18.jpgThe newly wed walks into the dining area

nwanze 20.jpgNewly wed or not, they still have to eat

Why did I devote this amount of keyboard to this wedding?  Well, if you don’t think it is worth it, you must be a louse.  Congratulations, Geetanjali and Chukwuemeka.  My wife and I had a great time.
As an aside, mind you, I am not a tribalist, but the Igbo culture is dying fast, linguistically and apparel-wise, when it comes to our men.  When we joined these people, before I realized who they were, I was wondering where were the Igbo as I thought they were rich Hausa or Yoruba invitees there, including Prof. Michael Nwanze, Nwabukwu, and this is the only bad thing I will say here, including the bridegroom himself.  I wondered why the father who was appropriately dressed didn’t deck him out in rich Asaba ogbuefi outfit.  I feel saddened that these people have lost their ways.  Let me say this, Igbo men are really very stupid culturally; they dress like idiots!! But our women I honor them every time I see them!!  Okay, I said that, go sue me.

nwanze 19.jpg
Why do you think I wouldn’t get my picture with the bride and groom!!

(By the way, don’t expect this kind of coverage because it would burn your pocket to the tune of $2,500, an economy class ticket or limousine service in the NY region, a room in a first class hotel, but you want to go high class, moi, oh oh, business class ticket, suite in a five-star hotel, stretch limousine, 5000 greenbacks.  Take it or leave, who gives a damn).

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