how we met
Ours is a story of college sweethearts who met at University of Arkansas 7 years ago. Coming from two different continents, it is a pure coincidence that our paths crossed in US. Our story starts during international students’ orientation at UofA, travels through 4 states before it finally transitions to a new chapter: our marriage.
how they asked
The proposal was a surprise for Olivera… especially since we already had plans to go to Puerto Rico in April, and we had just come back from a trip to India. Tushar knows Olivera very well, her weaknesses and her preferences, so he was very successful in organizing everything without giving a hint. About two weeks before the ‘pre-planned’ trip to New Orleans, Tushar told Olivera: “a colleague of mine has booked a hotel room in New Orleans for the weekend of March 7-8 but he is unable to go, and he was giving away his room”. At this time, Tushar had already started with the plan and it was just a matter of getting Olivera to New Orleans on that fateful weekend…Olivera agreed to come. The plan was ON.
One week before the trip, Tushar sets up a scenario where he asked our dear friend Jijo to suggest that when in New Orleans we should meet up with Andrea (a friend), since she is into photography like Tushar. Later on, subtly Tushar introduces the idea that he has gotten in touch with Andrea and that she has agreed to spend some time teaching him portrait photography. Tushar suggests Olivera to be the subject saying: “Who knows, maybe you can get a nice picture and maybe one of ours together too.” Olivera, who loves being in front of the camera, agrees, especially if there is a chance Tushar will pose in a couple’s picture. Hence, the photoshoot was planned for 8AM.
Now, Tushar reached one of the most difficult challenges…. How to make sure that Olivera wears nice and appropriate clothes in her ‘surprise engagement photoshoot’ without giving away a hint. He suggests (based on Andrea’s advice) that portrait photographs come out best if the subject(s) wear solid color clothing. Then again he subtly introduces the idea to go shopping for himself and uses Olivera’s weakness for buying dresses, lots of them! (In case Olivera did not buy a dress or maybe she bought a bad one, Tushar had already asked her sister, Daniela, to ship a dress as a surprise gift to her.) Oh, so much effort to make Olivera look pretty at 8am on a Saturday!
Friday afternoon, March 7 th , we went to New Orleans. That evening we enjoyed amazing jazz music and dancing in “Maison” on Frenchman street. Tushar had asked Olivera multiple times that evening if she liked the jazz band playing there. She did, she loved it. Completely random, but that night we saw the sax player from “Maison” multiple times, whom Olivera called “Dr. House” because he looked like him.
March 8 th , 2014, 6.45am the alarm went off. The portrait photography meeting was scheduled early in the morning because the morning light made pictures come out better, also the streets won’t be crowded. Olivera got up, straightened her hair (not a usual thing) and wore her beautiful peach color dress. Tushar wore a nice blue linen shirt and khaki linen pants.
Walking, we approached Jackson Square where we were supposed to meet Andrea. As we got closer, all of a sudden Olivera notices the sax players (along with a guitar player) from last night, standing at the street, ready to start a performance. Olivera has no clue of what is going on… She exclaims: “Look Tushar, the musicians from last night! They work so hard! They played until 2am last night and now they are up to play so early! You must tip them!” At this point, we had reached ‘the spot’… Tushar was irresponsive and sort of looked scared. (Later on, he admitted that he was rehearsing his proposal speech.) Olivera suggests she is going to tip the musicians, but Tushar stops her, saying: “relax, they are tipped…”
All of a sudden, they start playing “La vie en rose” and that is the moment Olivera begins to realize what is going on. Tushar started his proposal lines and got down on his knees, but Olivera was in a shock, unable to focus or remember what he was saying… The ring was beautiful! It is something she has never seen or dreamt of.
The jazz music continued while we danced on the street. At one point, I saw the photographer, Andrea, revealing herself from behind the building bolster. She was there to capture ‘the’ moment! And she did great, our engagement pictures are real and candid, moments preserved forever. Even when we are 90 and we can barely remember anything, we can look at these photos and remember every detail from our engagement. A story finishes with “the end”, however we would like to finish this story with “the beginning”, because this is just the first step of many celebrations to come spread across three continents.