“Love Actually” celebrates the WeddingSutra community of couples in love who seek ideas and inspiration from our experts and enthusiasts. The series focuses on beautiful people at the start of their life’s journey together. We believe real love is a series of beginnings. Over coffee, a makeover and a photo shoot, we invite couples to tell us how they met, show us their platinum love bands and talk about their day of love.
Anand begins evocatively, “This is a story of love besting the challenges presented by chance, distance and disparate cultures. A pessimist would say it was impossible. An opportunist would say it has all the makings of a Bollywood blockbuster. But transcending three continents, four countries and five cities, this story will reaffirm the fact that love knows no boundaries. This is the story of our destiny.
I’ve never believed in eternal love stories. Seven years ago, if someone told me I’d meet the love of my life on an unusually balmy July evening in Mumbai, I’d have laughed.
I was always early at the offices of the Times of India – Westside Plus supplement where I worked. Komal Lakhani walked in, twenty minutes later. That day, as we walked to the local train station, the energy between us was palpable.
Our texts and quick calls over the next two years seemed to underscore my failure to impress her. Finally, in October 2009, I acted on impulse, deciding to surprise her on her birthday. Dragging two of my friends, we drove to her home in Bandra. Two things happened on the way there. First, we discovered how crash test dummies feel when a car crunches into a truck at 110 km/h. Secondly, I learned I’m an absolute natural at keeping a cake intact despite a high speed collision! It was Diwali and as fireworks went off, I thought it would be perfect but there was no spark between Komal and I. It strengthened our friendship though, a friendship that endures till today.
Komal left to study in Canada that year. I couldn’t stop talking about her to my friends. Why didn’t I say anything to her? I firmly believed Komal was someone you aspired to be with, but always fell short. Cue sad violin music, right?!
We met when she returned to Mumbai just as I was leaving for a post-graduate course in France. I put my feelings aside as we talked just ‘as friends’ and left for university in September 2011 without a second thought.
Distance ought to have let our friendship peter out. But we talked for longer and longer. We video-chatted, exchanging notes about our lives in different countries. I never dared tell Komal how I really felt, until January, 2012. She had been talking about this new friend she’d made on New Year’s Day and was spending a lot of time with him. Her latest update about him awoke something in me. Outwardly I showed interest, inwardly, I was aghast.
I decided to forget. I went to a raucous party that night and sought amnesia through inebriation. I stumbled out at 3am, the freezing wind hit my face like a knife. It was dark and foggy. White specks began to fall from the sky. It was the first snow of the season. It was uplifting! Alone, I danced in the middle of the square. I felt bliss. Insanely happy. I called Komal.
In the next thirty minutes I told her she was, is and always would be the love of my life, the woman of my dreams, my soul mate. Ever since she walked into my life, she lit it up, filling it with happiness and love.”
Another continent away, Komal tossed and turned. She says, “I was reeling! I was trying to decide how best to convey my feelings to him. No two words in the English language are more climactic than Yes and No. When I reciprocated my feelings for him a week later, I’m not sure I realized the gravity of my statements. But I was drunk with joy. Anand promised he’d spend the rest of his life with me and keep me happy.”
They met six months later in Mumbai. Anand continues, “I officially proposed to her by the sea on a rainy afternoon in August 2012. Needless to say, the journey from that day to today has been as eventful as the five years that preceded it. We spent the first year of our relationship relishing each other’s company.”
But distance would come between them again. Anand accepted a job at Deloitte in Hyderabad and Komal was off to Dubai to live with her family.
He says, “We never truly factored the depth our bond. We couldn’t live without one another. We spoke every day, on skype and over the phone. Met every six months. Each time it felt as if we were never apart. Our relationship blossomed but every moment seemed stolen. It was time for us to cross the most important bridge of our lives. Marriage.”
The cultural divide between Komal, an orthodox Sindhi and Keralite Anand would have been daunting to another couple. But Anand was sure the Universe would conspire favourably, “I couldn’t bear to be away from her any longer. I went about it traditionally, formally broaching the subject with our respective parents. Meanwhile, I was transferred to Beijing, China in early 2015. Our families finally met on July 4, 2015.”
The momentary culture shock, of his parents and brother walking in on a group of 15 members of Komal’s family waiting quickly faded as his parents officially asked for Komal’s hand. The day ended with laughter and the divide melted into a bond for life.
Anand summarizes his hopes for the future beautifully, “There are three things I look for: something to aspire to, someone to chase, and something to look forward to. At different times in my childhood, teenage and adult years these three tenets have given purpose to my life. I look up to my parents who’ve always provided for and supported me. The person I am chasing is me 15 years from now. And for the rest of my life- I look forward to providing for Komal and earning her affection and smiles every day.”
If you’re getting married in 2015 or 2016 and would like to be a part of ‘Love Actually’ write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the link to your FB profiles, wedding date and ‘How you met’ story. Selected couples will be invited for the shoots in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.
Photographs by- Pixelgaze Photography