‘You have to be at the right place, at the right time’. How true is that? In this day and age where people continue to bond over social media sometimes mistaking it for true love, these heart-warming and unique stories of how couples first met will surely bring a smile onto your face.
Love in the time of slow Internet
It was the year 1998 when the internet had just arrived in India. To ‘dial- in ‘and get connected was a herculean task and finding someone who owned a regular net connection was very rare. Dr. Raji Ajwani Ramchandani was working in Standard Chartered Bank in Mumbai when her family brought Harish Ramchandani’s proposal to her. Both of them couldn’t meet yet as Harish was based out of U.S and Raji in Mumbai. Then how could they bridge the gap? The internet came to their rescue! Thanks to Raji’s friend who had an unused MTNL connection. “My friend told me to use his connection as it was left unused and he was anyway paying a monthly amount for it. I then sent an e-mail to Harish and told him to get a hotmail account as that would make the exchange of e-mails faster.
We soon found out that this was the best mode of communication. I had a lot of time to think over and write. None of our thoughts were a result of an impulsive reaction. Time went by and we wrote to each other for 3 to 4 months. Within this time, we had discussed all the fundamentals of marriage, our thoughts and views regarding the same.” says Raji.
It was not till Harish was going to visit India that the couple spoke over the phone.
“To date Harish says that phone call was his most expensive one!” says Raji with a chuckle. “As he landed in Mumbai, we met the very next day and I was given 24 hrs to make a decision. He even called me on my office number the following day to ask me about my decision. I was caught up with some work and told him it can wait. We spoke in the evening. I honestly thought we agreed on fundamental things and so we decided to tie the knot.”
Both Raji and her husband believe in simplicity and wanted the wedding to be a modest affair. “I remember we met at Church gate station and noted down what we needed for the wedding on a scrap of paper. Three saris for me. Harish already had a suit that he hadn’t worn yet, few basic things for a wedding, that’s all. The rest of the money we decided to give for a good cause. It all happened in a week’s time and before we knew it, we were married and settled in the U.S.”
Left ( Raji, Harish, Amit and Tarini) Right ( Raji and Harish- 20 years ago)
Dr. Raji and Harish returned from the U.S when their son turned two. They currently stay in Pune with their son Amit and daughter Tarini.
iPhone to I do
While Raji Ajwani’s and Harish’s story revolves around a time when technology had yet to pick up, Sharath Nair and Gayatri Maskai can thank Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg for inventing the iPhone and Facebook. Sharath and Gayatri who happened to be working in the same office only interacted via chat earlier. “Before meeting Sharath face to face I thought he must be a very senior guy, somewhere in his 50s sipping a cup of coffee in his cabin. Everyone around seemed to have this unusual urgency to get work delivered to him! The minute my boss introduced me to him I was so surprised and bluttered right onto his face ‘Oh so u are Sharath!’ I found him to be really good looking, but he seldom smiled even if I smiled the biggest smile.”
Sharath says, “It just happened that I was walking along thinking about an upcoming deadline, when I realised, oh! That was Gayatri and she just smiled at me! But then, she had already gotten into a lift and I couldn’t catch up and apologise.”
Well, destiny had other plans and it was not Whatsapp, but imessage that brought them closer. Says Gayatri, “I was wondering, this guy continues to ping me on iMessage, and I can’t find him on Whatsapp. How does he live? and finally asked him; he said oh sorry my Whatsapp is on another number! In the middle of all this, I once stalked him on facebook and saw his most recent photo with his sister in Maldives. I was disappointed upon seeing the same surnames and thought he was married! Later I somehow brought up the topic of Maldives and he himself said, it is beautiful I had gone there with my parents and sis last year! Cmon, who goes to Maldives with their family???”
The couple have been married since 4 years now and continue to share hilarious instances together.
All is fair in love and war
Shweta Sanjeev and Patrik’s story is what one reads in novels. Fighting differences such as age gap, ethnicity, work and family hurdles, both of them didn’t have it easy.
“We met in 2012. The meeting was very scary. It was my first interview for an internship. He asked me a couple of questions. I saw a man who reflected a perfect balance of intelligence and kindness. I interned from 2012 to 2014 and landed the full time job as his employee. During these years our relationship grew from a boss employee role to great friends. We shared our joys and troubles. Two years went by. 2016 was the magical year. We revealed our love for each other at the magical Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. With an age gap of 37 years it was hard to convince anybody. Our closest friends stood by us. The society glared and mocked at us. Family disowned us (temporarily of course!). There was love and drama in the air.
We took the plunge and eloped in September 2017. Our wedding was magical at the Cliffs of Moher. Our cultural differences make our lives rich and beautiful. He is British and I am Indian. Our relationship represents every aspect of life: Parent -child, Best Friends, Teacher- student, Husband -Wife, and the best of all, we are two children looking at life as an adventure.” says Shweta.
Chai pe charcha
Dr. Javed and Sabiha Sultana met in IISc ( Indian Institute of Science) where Dr. Javed was a Ph.D student and Sabiha was still a Senior Facility Technologist, Process Integration at Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE). It was after several meetings over chaai (including the couple as well as Javed’s parents ) that the couple decided to tie the knot.
Sabhiha says, “Javed brought his parents for the IISc open day. Javed’s dad’s friend had recently joined the nano science department as COO. So they decided to visit that department first which is where I work. We usually organize a quick tour of our nano fabrication facility for open day and I like doing the introduction part. I was doing the same that day. They saw me and liked me. However I was kept under the radar.
Once, during another event in IISC where Kavita Krishnamurthy had visited the campus, Javed invited me to come along with him. I was totally excited! He came there with his parents whom I didn’t notice at first and went and sat right next to him! After the event during the snacks session, his dad started asking me the regular ice breaking questions. He asked me where I was from and I said Andhra. That caught his interest. Where in Andhra? -Guntakal. Voila! That’s sort of his dad’s native as well. He had spent a part of his childhood there so he was really excited to meet somebody with the same roots. Anyways that meeting was short as they were closing the auditorium.
Slowly me and Javed started meeting for our regular cups of tea in the campus cafe. During one such meeting, I arrived there while it was raining. I saw his parents sitting there. His mom had recently undergone a surgery so I went over to check how she was doing. She asked me to join them. It started raining cats and dogs and Javed was stuck in the hostel. So I got to spend more than 2 hours with them. We had back to back cups of tea along with a detailed Q and A session.
All this while I kept wondering why had they asked me all this. When I informed my mom about it she said ‘maybe they like you’. Well that was a little hard for me to digest. He is a PhD. Our family thinks very highly of anybody with basic graduation, so relatively this was huge!
After several such chaai pe charchas later, Javed’s parents invited me one day to the cafe and asked ‘would you like to marry my son?!’ and the rest as they say is history.”
All boxes are ticked!
We all have a fair idea of how we would like our partner to be, but who gets it all right at one go?!
Steffi Mathai , an Associate Editor in a Media House says,” I can easily say that I had all my boxes ticked when I met Anil. Just that it took me a while to realise it. I wanted someone who is 6 ft tall, dark, not clean- shaven, not a doctor nor a businessman and also a marthomite. Now don’t ask me why I choose these. I myself don’t know!”
It all started during a train journey from Delhi to Kerala. I was just 20 years old and had not even thought about marriage. I wanted to try my hand at civil services. Anil happened to travel in the same compartment as I was in. As he entered, he asked me, ‘Malayali aano? (Are you a malayali) I thought to myself- What kind of a person asks are you a malayali and that too in Malayalam? As we started to talk I realised he had just given his civil service exams. That got me interested and we had several conversations henceforth during our three day long train journey. All this while I addressed him as Achachan, meaning brother. We exchanged numbers but never spoke or messaged each other. Then one day he gave me a call informing that he had cleared his exams. Later he messaged me on orkut and told me that he would like to marry me. I immediately cut him off. However he called me later and said that he was serious.”
Anil adds his bit. “During our train conversations, the topic of what we would look for in a life partner came up and I was ticking off qualities as she told me. I told her later that I exactly fit the bill, then why would you reject me? She wanted me to speak to her parents. I immediately did the same and everything went on well. After three years of a long distance relationship we got married.”
Steffi and Anil have been married for 4 years now and have two lovely daughters.
Well, these couples sure had some stories worth mentioning, for several centuries to come!
These stories are a part of Chaaipani’s Valentine’s Day series.
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