How We Met – by the groom
Pooja and I were formally introduced by my cousin, Shweta. Shweta had seen something I posted on Facebook about doing a Tough Mudder. She texted me saying that her husband’s cousin was also planning on partaking in a Tough Mudder in Atlanta, and I should just do it there. I explained that I had already signed up with a team here in Ohio, so I couldn’t do it down there. After a little more chatting, she said the magic words that I’d been waiting to hear for so long, ‘Pooja is a nice girl.’ You see, I had known about Pooja, and in fact I had noticed her at my cousin’s wedding almost a decade prior. But I always assumed the worst: that she was probably taken, or probably too good for me, or her older cousin brother probably wouldn’t approve of me, etc.. I guess that was all in my head. Anyway, I proceeded to tell my cousin that I had a crush on Pooja for a while, and I was happy to pursue her, whether we went Muddering together or not. I ended up getting her number, and we talked, and texted and got to know each other a bit better.
Then, Pooja dropped a bomb on me, she was thinking about going to med school, and there was a good chance that would put her in the Caribbean for a couple of years. It was a little numbing, and tough to process. But I did have a connection with her, and we were already long distance anyway, so we owed it to ourselves to see if this was real. I went down to Atlanta to meet her, and in all honesty, I was thinking and almost hoping it wouldn’t work out. ‘Once she saw me in person she wouldn’t still be interested right? We’re just two fish in a vast sea, right?!?!’ As my head went through these iterations, my heart had other plans, especially when I first saw her. She was more beautiful than I remembered (which I didn’t think was possible) and so sweet and thoughtful. We had an incredible weekend, and I knew that this is what it should feel like when you really care about someone, and when someone really cares about you. When I embraced her as she dropped me off at the airport, I knew my life had changed forever.
how they asked – by the groom
We got to see each other a few more times before she left for school. We stayed connected while she was on the island by means of skype, whatsapp, snapchat, etc.. All the while, our feelings becoming deeper and more involved. We met on breaks and slowly began to involve our families. After our parents met each other, I had a heart to heart with myself, and decided I had no good reason not to be engaged, so I decided I was going to propose. I wanted it to be special, and I wanted to surprise her. I told my cousin, and she was excited and willing to do anything to help. I got a banquet room at the Westin, a decorator, a photographer, and videographer. The decorator helped put down a romantic Bollywood-ish type feel to the room (Pooja loves Bollywood).
For the actual proposal, since a large chunk of our relationship was digital, I thought about paying tribute to that. I had some custom life sized frames made, that sort of emulate the apps we used to communicate, as well as some props so I could mimic the silly Snapchats we send to each other, or acknowledge some special moments we’d had over time in Whatsapp and Skype. My cousin had her under the impression that they were going out for a girls night, and just had to make a pitstop at the hotel. Pooja even sent me a little selfie of herself all glammed up and ready to go out. As they were on their way to me, I got inside my head a little. I had spent so much effort in a small time frame focusing on the what, the where, the when, why, how…which I had all figured out. Now, I never really stopped to think ‘what if’? What if she doesn’t like it? What if I screw up? OMG, what if this was TOO much of a surprise and she says no!?!? Luckily, my team was awesome and really supportive, and offered me non-stop encouragement. “It’s really sweet what you’re doing” “She’s going to love this” “You’ve got a room full of people here to help.” The moment of clarity was when everyone left me alone in the room to rehearse my little routine by myself.
I just thought of the look on her face as I was doing it, and I remembered why I was doing this in the first place, and why she loved me, and that this was supposed to be a fun thing for both of us. When the time came, I was still nervous, but good nervous, and just excited to see her. Once Shweta and her husband (Amit, who is Pooja’s cousin) got her up and opened the door, they shoved Pooja in and let her walk. She was greeted with a candlelit path covered in rose petals, leading to a couple of tall tables I was hiding behind. I popped up as the music started playing.
The song is called ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ which translates to ‘I’ve found someone.’ Then I proceeded to pull up my frames and go through my little routine with them and the props. I think she was still in a state of shock, not even knowing I was in town until a few moments prior, but her face was lit up with her signature beautiful smile. Once I was done, I came around, let her know how much she meant to me, and dropped on one knee.
She said yes immediately, and I jumped up so quick to hug her I forgot to put the ring on first! We took some pictures outside and also going up the glass elevator in the Westin to have our celebration dinner at the Sundial. We giddily shared the news with our family and enjoyed our special night in permanent smiles. It was a magical evening, and one we’ll both remember forever.
how they asked – by the bride
The week leading up to the proposal was hard on me. I had just gotten back from spending the weekend with Rahul and the reality of going back to school was settling in. My cousin-in-law, Shweta, wanted to do a girls night out on Saturday and I willingly agreed. We decided to get our nails done and get all dressed up for a night out on the town. We had talked about doing this for a long time, so I didn’t think anything of it. As we approached the weekend my mom had a strange request for me. She told me that the lady that cuts my hair wanted to style my hair so that she could take some pictures for her portfolio book. Like any girly girly I was super excited to be a hair model. I even told Rahul about it, little did I know that this was all a plot. At this point we had the hair and nails taken care of and the only thing left was the dress. My mom took me to the store Friday night insisting that I buy a new dress. I must have spent like an hour arguing with her that I was going to back to school and there would be no use for a new dress there. After a lot of convincing she finally got me to agree on buying a new dress. Saturday morning came and I went about the day getting ready for our girls night out. Shweta had mentioned that she had to drop something off to a aunt that was staying at the Westin downtown and then we would go to dinner afterwards. I went to have my hair styled and photographed, and then to do nails.
As we were getting ready everyone seemed to be interested in how I looked, which I thought was strange but didn’t pay much attention to it. Right before I left I took a couple of selfies and sent them to Rahul. I was really missing him, little did I know that I would be seeing him shortly. My cousin, Amit, was going to be our chauffeur that evening and he drove us to the Westin. During the car ride Shweta kept asking me if I was okay, or needed water or food. I thought it was strange since we were going to dinner, but again, I didn’t think anything of it. In hindsight I should have probably eaten something because I wasn’t able to eat anything that night from all the excitement. We got to the Westin and went up to “meet this aunty”. We get off the elevators and it was the level where all the conference rooms are. At this point I was beginning to feel like something was going on but I just hung to the back and followed them . We get to this room and Amit and Shweta are just looking at each other with the, what do we do face. They knock on the door and slowly open it while simultaneously pushing me in. I reluctantly move forward and as I’m inside I hear music and see the flash of a camera. I turn around to see them closing the door behind me. When I look back I notice the rose petals and candles. I’m still not sure what is happening and then from behind the tables comes Rahul and my heart stops.
I was so excited to see him that I wanted to talk with him. I’m pretty sure I even asked him what he was doing. As he started performing his skit I finally understood that he was proposing. Seeing him recreate some of our moments through Skype, WhatsApp and Snapchat melted my heart. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh as I watched him and remembered all those memories. When he came around and asked me to marry me I couldn’t wait to say YES! That night we were the stars of our own Bollywood movie and I couldn’t have asked for anything more!