July 16, 2015
When we first saw each other, it was probably the most filmy first meeting.
We met during his cousin's wedding festivities back in July 2015. It was a situation where he knew everyone our age in the room except me and I knew everyone except him. So when we first laid eyes on each other, the first thought that popped into both our heads was “Who is that?”.
At the Garba Night, we got in the raas line just to see each other and maybe even become each other’s partner. When we crossed paths, we smiled at each other. From my side, I knew I smiled at him for a few seconds too long.
And that's when our weekend long staring competition ensued - I could feel him slyly looking at me and I would try to glance at him every chance I got.
July 18, 2015 - July 19, 2015
The filminess continued during the wedding day, as well.
Our "first" meeting happened when I went to go light the candles that served as the center pieces at the lunch. The bride and groom asked a bunch of us friends to help out with certain tasks. As I finished my task to light the candles and was walking back, I heard someone say, "Hey!", and I turned around to see Puneet standing right there.
When I saw him, my heart started racing a little bit, but I tried my best to act cool. He came up to me, shook my hand, and introduced himself. There was a lot of noise around us, so he told me his name in my ear and when he did, I definitely felt my heart skip a beat.
He then proceeded to ask me if I knew where the groom's shoes were hidden. In Indian weddings, there is a game that's played between the bride's side and groom's side in which the bride's sisters and friends have to steal the groom's shoes. If the groom wants his shoes back, he has to pay the bride's side the amount of money that they demand.
So when Puneet asked me, I told him that even if I knew, I wouldn't tell him because he's on the opposing team.
July 2015 - May 2017
Puneet and I started talking right after the wedding - he friended me on Facebook and we talked on there for a few days and then exchanged numbers. We talked for a few months and stopped for a bit before he asked me out on our first date.
Fast forward to March 2017 - by this point, Puneet and I went through our fair share of ups and downs - we went on a few more dates and even decided not to pursue this relationship. But there was something that wouldn’t let us forget each other and move on. I guess it was destiny because even though we weren’t together, we weren’t able to be with other people either. For me, he was always in the back of my mind. I still can’t pinpoint why that was - I just felt that there was something special.
We gradually starting talking again, having deeper conversations about our dreams, how important our spiritual lives are to us, how important our families are to us, and what we want in a partner.
I remember talking to him about something which upset him. Fearing that we would end it again and realizing that I have nothing to lose, I expressed how much I cared for him. That was probably as close to I love you I got without actually saying it. It took some time, but I think our relationship grew stronger from that point on. We became good friends.
May 7, 2017
Holi DC in 2017 was special for us - I decided to go with a few of our mutual friends and asked Puneet if he was going to be there. When he told me he wasn't coming, I felt a little upset, but figured that he probably had other plans.
The next day, when the event was happening, I got a text from Puneet. Just a simple thing as seeing his name pop up on my phone got me excited. When I read the text, it said, "When I say Holi, you say Hai!" The minute I read that, my eyes widened because that was the chant that was going on in the background and I knew that he was around somewhere.
I kept searching for him in the crowd and the minute I saw him, I jumped on him and hugged him.
We spent almost the entire time together - we walked away from the crowd for a bit to talk. It was then that he expressed his feelings for me and told me he loved me. I can't describe how I felt at that moment; I had felt the same way for so long but always tried to conceal it until he expressed it first. So now when I heard those words, I felt assured because I knew he wouldn't say them to me unless he really meant it.
We started officially dating a few months later (after Puneet mustered up the courage to tell his mom - haha!).
October 13, 2018
The day we were waiting for had arrived...our roka!
'Rok' means to stop in Hindi and in this ceremony the bride's family goes to the groom's house and stops him from finding any other prospective matches. They do so by feeding him sweets and giving him gifts. The groom's family also welcomes their new daughter-in-law by feeding her sweets and giving her gifts, as well.
Our roka was really sweet - before the ceremony began, Puneet called me into his temple room and asked me if I could help him bring something outside. When I went in, he took my hands and started to smile. All of a sudden, I noticed our photographers came inside the room and they began to take photos. He then, handed me some papers and told me to read them.
When I looked down at what he'd given me, my eyes widened because I recognized what was in my hands. When I went to India that summer, Puneet had written me a letter everyday when I was gone. He gave me those letters and told me to read them again but a little more carefully.
When I reread them, I noticed something - the first letter of each letter was capitalized and when I put them together, they read, “I LOVE YOU WILL YOU MARRY ME?” When I saw that, all I could do was look at him and smile.
He then bent down on one knee and said, “You’ve had the question with you for a few months now, can you please give me your answer?” And that’s when I said yes and we hugged.
November 25, 2019
Although we had already had our roka ceremony, I wanted Manasvi to feel special and like a true ‘bride to be’.
Even though I had proposed to her, I had not bought her an engagement ring yet.
Occasionally, as we walked through the mall, I’d swing her by a few jewelry stores to get a feel for what she liked. The first time, however, she pointed out this ring she fell in love with. After that, no matter which ring she looked at, she couldn’t get the one she loved out of her mind.
Immediately, I knew I had to get that for her. I did my research, talked to a few vendors in NJ and got my plan to get her ring into motion. Unfortunately, work took me to Dallas and paused my plans for a little while. I used the extra time to tweak the ring and custom design it into the most perfect piece I could make it. I spoke with a friend of mine to put into motion a dance proposal. Over a few months of planning, for unforeseen reasons, the proposal had to be postponed and then it became difficult to match schedules to pull it off. I reached out to her friends for other ideas, since I wanted them to be there. In the meanwhile, I was constantly being questioned by Manasvi and her sister Anjali if I’d ever put a ring on her.
After many failed plannings, it dawned upon me that she would be in Vrindavan, India in November and the best thing I could do is meet her there, a place we always dreamed of traveling to together. Vrindavan is considered one of the holiest places in the world and the land where Lord Krishna created many divine pastimes. I spoke with Manasvi’s mother, and let her know that I planned to propose in India.
I nervously packed her ring, and took it to India. I reached out to photographers and was assisted by a dear friend in getting permission to shoot video in the temple room.
During a fiery kirtan, in front of the deities Sri Sri Krishna-Balaram, Radha-Shyamsundar and Gaura-Nitai, I approached Manasvi in the temple room. Her mother walked up to me from the side and took my ring and snuck it to the priest who put it in the feet of the deities for blessings. A few minutes later her mother approached me and snuck it back into my hands behind my back. I inched towards Manasvi nervously, my heart beating faster than ever, the kirtan speeding up intensifying the feeling. Over the volume of the kirtan, I made an attempt to read out a speech that I had spent so much time thoughtfully writing.
As I wrapped up, I could see the happiness on Manasvi’s face. I popped the question, with my eyes selfishly fixated on her face just to see her emotional reaction, knowing she would say yes regardless. I reached into my pocket for the ring and slid it into Manasvi’s finger, officially making her my fiancé.
Onwards to April 2020! See you there.
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