Manali and Nikesh
how we met
I was a freshman in college when I met Nikesh. I was attending a cultural dance night at the UF O’Dome where I saw him for the first time. I could tell he was looking at me too from across the arena so I hopped in the group dance line he was in to get a little closer. I ended up taking his spot and kicking him out of the line. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to him afterwards. Later that night I went to a friend’s birthday party with my cousin, who was trying to “set me up” with a guy she knew. We arrived to the party and she pointed towards the guy; I was definitely not interested. As I looked around the room a smile came across my face. That cute guy I saw earlier was standing across the room. I told my cousin I thought he was much cuter than the guy she was trying to set me up with. It turned out my cousin’s boyfriend at the time knew Nikesh and wanted to introduce us at the party. I panicked and headed towards the exit. As I was approaching the door to leave I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and he was standing right in front of me with my cousin’s boyfriend. I was so nervous inside, but I didn’t let it show. They introduced us and Nikesh charmed me immediately. We ended up talking all night and exchanging numbers. I left the party thinking I might never talk to that guy again, but I hope I do because he was really cute. Within minutes of leaving the party I received a text from him, and we never stopped talking since.
how he asked
I had been wanting to go on a trip for months. When I realized I had two ticket vouchers from a canceled flight last year, I knew we had to take advantage of the opportunity before they expired. I started planning a trip eagerly asking Nikesh where we should go. We finally decided on NYC because I had never been. I booked the flight and we were set to go. I had no idea that the first day I even mentioned flying to NYC, he began planning the most wonderful day of my life. We made an extensive list of pizza and bagel places we wanted to try (I love to eat!), as well as all the tourist spots. He asked me to find a nice dress because we were going to go to an “upscale rooftop speakeasy” and then out to a nice dinner. With our busy schedules, we rarely have time to do those types of things so I was all for it! That night I got all dressed up, excited to go to a speakeasy for the first time. I was already thinking of all the delicious drinks I was going to order. We arrived at the building and something seemed off, but I figured it was a speakeasy so it wasn’t supposed to look like a bar. We took the elevator to the 7th floor and he told the receptionist we had a reservation for Patel.
The receptionist escorted us to the entrance of the rooftop. Nikesh asked me to hold his hand as he looked at me and smiled. He opened the door and my eyes filled with tears. Candles, rose petals, and strings of lights above my head surrounded me. My best friend was about to ask me to marry him.