Deshani and Nikhil

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How We Met

So this lovely lass was introduced to me by a close friend, who happened to be her cousin, in February 2011. We both did not have any intention to enter into a relationship at that point. As time went on, we communicated occasionally…until one day…

As Deshani, my beautiful bride to be, is born and raised in Johannesburg South Africa, and I, on the east coast of South Africa in Durban, our relationship for the past 5 years has always been long distance. We thank the creators of FaceTime and Skype almost everyday as this has brought us closer.

Due to our careers, the past 2 years has allowed us to travel to and from our towns to spend time with each other.

How He Asked

Planning the proposal was one of the most enjoyable moments ever. I had started 3 months prior, and along the way, plans changed when new ideas were thought off. Initially, I wanted to have a flash mob proposal, but one day, whilst flipping the TV channels, I came across the famous reality show, The Amazing Race. An idea was born. Pen was put to paper, the search for service providers began, and most importantly, the date and venue!

It was rather ironic that the week my plan started to develop, Deshani hinted to me about a proposal after one of her friends recently had a bachelorette party. The discussion ensued and as much as I wanted to ask her, I had to hold it in until the big day in December.

As she had started work at a new company in February 2014, and always moving from department to department, it was a challenge to pin down who I could approach to assist in my plans.

From September 2014 until December that year, I waited for the perfect opportunity to set the date.

In the meantime, I had designed the clues for the challenges of the Amazing Race.

The idea was simple: as she had joined a new department, they were to have an initiation process that all new members had to participate in.

In early December 2014, once she had settled with a department, I made a call to one of her senior’s at the offices to ask for his assistance. I sent a detailed email to them on how the plan will play out.

In order to make it as realistic as possible, I had to get her company logos imprinted on the clues as well.

Down in Durban, I searched for the picturesque setting to make it a memorable one and stumbled upon the Zuluman gondola company at our theme park, Ushaka Marine World. The ever so friendly gondolier was ever so willing to go ahead with my idea.

A ladies best day of her life (until the wedding day) has to be captured on camera, in all angles.

I engaged with my good friends, Ravi and Rekha who have a videography and photography business to assist me. The idea was to capture every moment of the day, every expression and every feeling.

The clues? Well that was the fun part. As I know Deshani loves to dance, I had to get at least one challenge that allowed her to do so.

The second clue entailed her favourite pizza joint, Col’cacchios. A girl has to eat, right? Calls were made to the eatery and they were ever so willing to participate.

Once that “challenge” was over, the idea was she would catch a flight to Durban.

The week of the proposal was a rather anxious one. On the Tuesday, Deshani’s seniors informed her and her colleague that they had to keep their Friday open and free of appointments as there is a company event taking place. Deshani was not rather keen due to a family tragedy that took place the week before, however, her family played their part and encouraged her to attend.

Her company houses a beauty parlour as well, so on Tuesday I made a call to them to get their assistance. As Deshani visits them from time to time, I asked them to give her a call to inform her that she won a lucky draw for a free manicure and pedicure and it was only valid until Thursday. As soon as they called her, Deshani booked an appointment for Thursday itself.

On Thursday, her seniors informed Deshani and her colleague, Nicole, that they must arrive at work on Friday with an overnight bag as well as their identity document as they may need to travel for the initiation.

The next day at around 10am, Nicole and Deshani were called into one of the rooms. I had a handheld camera given to her colleagues at the company who recorded it. The challenge was to locate a song on google by a famous spanish group, Los del Río…the famous Macarena. And once the song was found, to dance to it. If the judge was satisfied, they would be given their next clue. As can be seen on the video, they thoroughly enjoyed it and the judges were more than satisfied.

On to challenge number two: locate a restaurant at the nearby shopping mall that had its exclusive celebrity menu.

Once they had located the eatery, the joy was evident on Deshani’s beautiful face. They could order any item of the menu with the money provided. Once they completed their meals, they would be handed the next clue.

The third challenge was a rather simple one: a flight number was given to them as well as two train tickets to the airport. The confusing part was that only one of the participants would be going onto the next challenge outside of Johannesburg.

Once at the airport, the ladies forgot to cross-check the flight number with the destination, and instead went to the South African Airways Counter. The lady at the counter played along. As she knew that only one was going through to the next round, she teased Deshani that she could either go to Mauritius- if she had her passport, or to Durban, if she had her identity document.

Deshani told the lady at the counter that she rather go to Durban. When quizzed as to why Durban instead of Mauritius, she replied, “my boyfriend is in Durban” (que awwwww moment).

While all this was happening, I was enjoying a pampering day, getting ready for the enjoyable moment of going down on one knee. With my good friend Prashil’s help, we recorded my “challenging” day.

Once she landed in Durban, she was met by Ravi at the airport, disguised as a colleague from her company. Ravi had his own  “clue” stating that he had to meet his new team member at the airport who was landing at 3pm and then to locate a Mercedes Benz with the Amazing Race flag in the parking lot. A name card was printed so she knew who she had to look out for.

Once they located the car, the driver handed them the final clue: locate The Sails in Durban and take a picture of it with a cellular phone. The picture was to be taken from the transport provided at the location of the Sails and shown to the gatekeeper in return for the next clue.

Now the Sails is a building at the waterfront overlooking the canal but Deshani did not know this. With the help of Ravi, they were able to direct the driver to the location.

As they neared the canal, we had placed 3 more photographers, disguised as tourists around the area.

I hired the robes from the local playhouse so that gondolier and I could not be distinguished.

As she entered, Ravi was told that he could not as only one could be on the gondola. He walked along the canal and as the Sails came into sight…

…Deshani turned around…the moment I was waiting for…words could not describe the feeling…

The "moment"

When we got back home that evening, a lovely blue dress and a heels awaited her…and we were then off to a lovely candlelit dinner at Harvey’s restaurant in Umhlanga Rocks…

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The video shows it all…and the song is ever so fitting from my favourite band, OneRepublic. It took me, along with some help from a few friends, a day to complete the video…

I hope everyone enjoys it and inspires them to love theirs truly like I love Deshani…

Our Video

Watch more proposal videos & follow @HowHeAsked on Instagram for more stories!

Special Thanks

Rekha Reddy
Lotus Photography