Above the incredible noise, an excited man is screaming into my ear:
“This is Nikasi! NI! KA! SI! Indian wedding procession!”.
What’s happening all around us is hard to describe. In one moment I can see:
- A horse decorated with flashing LEDs and a sequinned harness;
- The groom, wearing a gold knee-length coat (achkan), turban and sword, riding the horse;
- On the groom’s lap, a toddler, wearing eyeliner, inside a fluffy orange and white jumpsuit that resembles a Santa outfit;
- A kind of bejewelled disco wagon pushed along the road by half a dozen men, another stood on top playing a keyboard that blares ear-splittingly out of giant speaker cones;
- In white and gold marching uniform, a small band of men playing brass instruments and drums;
- A handful of teenage boys – the Nikasi kids – holding umbrellas, strung one to another with live electrical wire and rigged with dangling lightbulbs;
- A man pushing a heavy mobile power generator which sputters black smoke into the street, providing power for the lightbulbs;
- The wedding guests, ring-fenced by the electrical wire and umbrellas, bhangra dancing in the street;
- A young man at the head of the procession intermittently setting off handheld fireworks.
From the opposite direction, another Nikasi is about to meet us head on. Their variation on the umbrella lightbulb theme: handheld fluorescent tubes.
As the two processions merge, dancers weave in and out, wires tangle, sound systems clash. The excited man introduces himself as the brother of the groom, grabs me by the hand, and leads me into the chaos.