It all started with a phone call. I was being invited to a wedding. Sounded good. I’d finally make my debut in wedding photography.

I had it all planned. I wanted to spend a day each at the groom’s and the bride’s respectively. Now the only hiccup was I couldn’t interact with them. After all, they were no regular couple. They were monkeys.

Monkeys have an important place in Hindu mythology. They are worshiped as Lord Hanuman, the mighty ape that fought the devious Ravana alongside Lord Rama to create the epic Ramayana.

When I reached Talwas in the Indian state of Rajasthan, I went straight to the house of the ‘groom’, Raju. I immediately felt the excitement around the marriage. Many relatives of Raju’s caretaker Ramesh had come to attend the wedding. For them, it almost seemed they were attending the marriage ceremony of Ramesh’s son.

But very soon I sensed some apprehension in the air. Apparently the forest department officials had already warned Ramesh against the proposed marriage of his monkey. But like a stubborn father fighting for his son, he told me the wedding would happen as scheduled even if he had to go to jail for it.