Mridul and Dev

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How We Met

I met Mridul on August 6, 2007 when we were both in boarding school in India. I remember everything about that day as though it just happened. She was wearing a blue shirt and jogger pants, and was yelling at me about forgetting the speakers for dance practice. I’m sure I tuned out the yelling because there was this extremely cute girl talking to me (big deal for us nerds) and I just couldn’t take my eyes off of her. For the next two weeks, I used every excuse to meet her. We’d spend hours in the library talking about our home back in the US, about our friends, classes, and teachers, and anything and everything under the sun. It took about a week before I realized that not only did I have a new best friend, but I was crazy in love with her! My friends will tell you that once I’d start talking about her, I would not shut up for hours. I’d talk about what an amazing dancer she was, how she kicked butt in sports, how she was just like me and wouldn’t stop talking, and how every conversation of ours was always full of laughter. But no matter how bad the butterflies got, I just couldn’t find the courage to tell her how I felt.

Soon, school became a challenge. Other guys would ask me to set them up with her, but at the same time, we’d get in trouble with teachers who believed that we were dating (it’s a big deal in boarding school in India). We’d meet almost every day, write letters to each other and pass it through our classmates, and skip class just to spend a few minutes together. The entire school knew that I was in love with her! But she was oblivious and was convinced that we were only best friends.

Two years passed by and before I knew it, I was graduating. She still had a year left in school but planned to go back to the US whereas I’d stay back in India. I knew I had to tell her about how I felt in a special way before I left school. On my last day, just a few hours before my flight, I asked her to meet me. Mustering up every ounce of courage I could find, I sang ‘Fall for You’ by Secondhand Serenade to her and told her that I liked her! I was so nervous that I blacked out and forgot some of the words. I don’t remember her exact response, but she hugged me tightly and we said our goodbyes.

We didn’t get a chance to talk much over the next few weeks. But spending some time apart made us realize how much we wanted to be in each other’s lives. A few months later, on September 14, 2009, we were on the phone with each other at 3 o’clock in the morning. There was no doubt in my mind that she was my soulmate and the girl I want to marry. So for the first time, I told her that I loved her, and she told me that she loved me too! I can never forget those incredulous butterflies and how I felt like I was on top of the world! I was so happy that I didn’t sleep all night and I just couldn’t stop smiling.

The next time we met was a month later. With sweaty palms and a nervous disposition, I reached over and held her hand for the first time. I had dreamt of this moment for two and a half years! We spent three weeks together while she was on winter break – we’d go to the movies, go for lunch out, and explore the city together. On the last day, I decided to take a leap of faith. I bought a fake ring and when we had a moment alone, I told her that she made me the happiest guy in the world and I would love nothing more than to spend every day of my life making her the happiest girl in the world. And then I asked her to marry me. She cheekily responded with a ‘maybe’.

A few months later, she graduated as well and went back to the US, and we decided to do long distance. The time difference of 10 and a half hours was difficult, but we managed to get up at odd hours and Skype each and every day. And every few months, when the moment was just right, I’d ask her again and again, ‘will you marry me’? Every time I’d ask, she’d say ‘maybe’, and I’d fall one step deeper in love with her. We’d meet once a year (if we were lucky!) and spend a few days together. Those days were all I looked forward to. She’d visit me in India and I’d visit her in the US, and for the four years in long distance, my feelings only grew stronger.

So, after graduating in 2013, I moved back to the US and started working in Boston. She graduated from college a year later and got a job in New York. It was still long distance, but at least we were in the same time zone! We’ve been driving down on weekends to see each other for the past two years. And now that we’re closer, we’ve had some crazy adventures. We both love travelling so we went to Disney World and Las Vegas, and even stopped in Paris for a day. But no matter where we went, I never stopped asking her to marry me. My favorite “proposal” was in Paris. We were walking by Place de La Concorde and had a perfect view of the Louvre Museum behind us, the Eiffel Tower next to us, and the Arc de Triomphe in front of us. We had a box of macaroons with us, so I pulled her in, took out a macaroon, popped it open and asked her to marry me. I’ve wanted to propose to her in that spot since my first trip to Paris in 2009 and I finally got a chance to do a “macaroon proposal”!

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How We Met (as told by the bride): He’s from New York. I’m from Pennsylvania. We met in high school in a residential boarding school in India (think Hogwarts). We had an inter-house dance competition coming up, and I was selected to choreograph the juniors’ dance. The teachers had just switched him to the ‘Yellow House’ (mine!) and promoted him to Vice Captain, and it was his job to get me speakers. I had been waiting for 30 minutes, and he was nowhere to be seen (not that I had seen him before), so I was irritated. He finally came down the stairs, panting, introduced himself, and I (visibly annoyed) snapped at him because I only had an hour left and still no speakers. He had apparently already been searching for speakers for an hour, which is why he was late. After he finally found me speakers, he stayed for the dance choreography and lessons, and observed me from the side. Afterwards, we sat and talked for hours till our evening classes started. From that day on, he asked me to help with something or another related to the house every day, and we became best friends. He says he knew from the first day that he was in love with me, but never wanted to admit it.

Dev never told me that he had feelings for me, and soon he graduated and went off to college in a different state in India. On one of the two weekends that I’m allowed to leave school grounds, he came to visit so he could spend the day with me, and I still naively thought our relationship was completely platonic. After he dropped me off, we talked on the phone all night. I still remember that it was raining outside, and around 3 AM, his pre-paid phone ran out of balance. At 3 AM, he changed his SIM, called me from a different number just to tell me that hasn’t been able to stop thinking about me since the day we met and that he thinks this is what love is. I don’t think it ever hit me how important he was to me until he said that. We never made anything ‘official’ and over the next few months, we just slowly started talking more, and went from being best friends to something more.

A couple months later, I graduated and went back to Pennsylvania for college. We survived a year of long distance in India and three and a half years of India/USA long distance until he joined me in the USA. At which point, we decided to take a break so that we could focus on growing ourselves individually. That didn’t last very long.. we were only able to stay away from each other for about 3 months. He started working in Boston, and I finished up school in Pennsylvania and then moved to New York for work. We still continued talking and meeting up during our ‘break’ period, until we finally realized that we weren’t on a ‘break’ — we never really were. Our seven-year relationship has almost always been long distance, but when we’re together, it’s like we were never apart. We started this journey off as best friends, and that’s probably why we were able to survive the distance. One year of inter-state in India, three and a half years of inter-continental, one and half years of Pennsylvania to Boston, and another year of New York to Boston has brought us to today. Long distance was hard, but it made us resilient, as individuals and as a couple. It’s been such a roller coaster to get here, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m lucky to have fallen in love with my best friend.

How He Asked

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(As told by the groom): What she had no idea of is that I was planning a real proposal. She was the girl of every guy’s dreams; funny, drop dead beautiful, and the most intelligent person I know. Her radiance attracted everything around her, and I was just happy to be in her orbit. She had my heart from the day I met her 9 years ago.

I had been planning the perfect proposal and searching for the perfect ring for months. The plan I went with was a grand proposal in Central Park for August 14, a little over 9 years from the day we met. I had everything ready to go, but on August 10, I found out about the Perseid Meteor Shower happening on the night of the 11th. My intuition told me to propose to her under the starry skies of the shower, but I had less than 24 hours to prepare. Challenge accepted.

I got in touch with a ‘hidden photographer’ at 11 o’clock at night and started making a picnic ensemble. The plan was to have a picnic in the park at night, have her make a wish on a shooting star, and propose to her. I set off for NYC on the morning of the 11th. On my way to the city, I asked her to make dinner reservations (this threw her off since I’d never let her make reservations if I were proposing!). I picked her up and we had a wonderful dinner, but she brought up the meteor shower in the middle of the conversation. I didn’t get phased and asked her if she wanted to go to a park after dinner to see the stars. She took the bait and agreed!

When we got to Brooklyn Bridge Park, there was a lot of cloud cover. We parked about a mile away and strolled through the park. It was a long walk, so she took off her painful heels. After a while, we finally reached the spot where the photographer and my friend were set up and waiting, but as soon as I reached into my bag to set up the picnic, it started raining! I started to take out an umbrella, but we were both soaked by then. Mridul, being the crazy girl she is, pulled me in and we started to dance in the rain. In that moment, while dancing with the New York skyline behind us, we were complete. So I got down on one knee, but she thought it was one of my fake proposals and told me to stop joking around. So I got up, switched my position, and tried again – this time with a box. She still didn’t believe me and asked me to stop teasing her. And that’s when I opened the box.

Before I even got a chance to say anything, she started to move back in shock. I had to pull her in just so I could tell her how I feel! I was so excited that I blacked out, but she tells me that I told her the same words as the first time I proposed to her: that she made me the happiest guy in the world and I would love nothing more than to spend every day of my life making her the happiest girl in the world. And then, I asked her to marry me.

For the first time, after asking over 30 times during the past 9 years, SHE SAID YES! I picked her up and swung her around in my excitement, and she told me that she had never seen a more beautiful ring in her life.

We didn’t see a single star, I never took out the picnic blanket, and not a single thing went according to plan. But under the rain, against the magical skyline of New York, and with her in my arms, everything was just perfect.

And so, our adventure began on August 12, 2016.

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How He Asked (as told by the bride): We initially planned a touristy New York weekend starting Friday because I was moving out soon. On Thursday, he told me that his boss was going to let him work from home, so he was going to come down a day early. We always cook for each other when the other one travels, but since it was Restaurant Week in New York, he asked me to pick a restaurant and make reservations. During dinner, he said he has something else planned for after, and I thought he meant going clubbing, so I mentioned that I had seen something on Facebook about a meteor shower today, so we should try and see if we can see that since he had his car.

He laughed and said that that’s the plan anyways and that we’d probably have to figure out where to go so we can escape the city lights. In the car, I mentioned that we should’ve stopped to pick up a picnic blanket, but he said he already brought one. We walked the pier at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Since I didn’t realize we’d be walking over a mile, I had worn the most uncomfortable stilettos I owned. About five minutes into the walk, I took off my shoes and decided to wear barefoot. It was the most perfect weather as we strolled down the pier. When we finally decided to take out the picnic blanket, the lawn was blocked off, so we decided the concrete slab would be fine too.

There were a bunch of people around us, including two photographers. I thought nothing of it because I believed they were just there to take pictures of the Manhattan skyline. Dev even said ‘Hey look! They seem like they have a nice camera. Do you want to ask them if they can take a picture of us?’ to throw me off. Just as he started to take out the picnic blanket, it started to pour. He quickly pulled out an umbrella to keep us dry, but we were already soaked; so I ran out of the umbrella to enjoy the rain. He laughed and joined me and we played in the rain. At this point, there was no one else around us, as everyone left due to the rain. He then exclaimed ‘I have the waterproof speakers for the picnic, do you want to put music on?!’ He let me choose the music, and I put on Hip Hop/Pop, which is my go-to music. He laughed and said, ‘No, I’m changing the music’. So he put on ‘You and Me’ by Lifehouse (my ABSOLUTE favorite song) and more of ‘our’ songs, and we danced in the rain against the Manhattan skyline. He slowly dropped to one knee, and I thought he was joking, so I said ‘Stop it!

This is a perfect evening. Don’t ruin it!’ For the last month, he’d made a habit of trolling me by getting on one knee for silly things like ‘Your shoelaces are untied’ or ‘Look, it’s a cool rock.’. So I thought he was just joking again, and started walking away. He laughed, pulled me in closer, and bent down on the other knee, “What if I proposed like this?”, got up, moved around me, and got down on his other knee and pulled out a box. I STILL thought he was joking, so I kept asking him, “Is this a joke? Are you kidding? Are you being serious?”. He ignored all my questions and said, “I’ve loved you from the very first time I saw you. I didn’t know it then, but it was love.” The rest is a bit blurry, but he asked me to marry me. I pulled him and hugged him while asking, “Are you sure? Is this for real? Is this really happening?” and he replied, “You haven’t answered me! Is that a yes?!” And I said, “OF COURSE IT’S A YES!”. He then took me over to his backpack and told me that he had an entire picnic planned with mason jars filled with lights, a story book that he made that had our story and my favorite pasta that he had cooked and packed.

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He pointed to the photographers and informed me that they had been secretly taking photos of us the entire time. We went up to them (and his best friend, who’d also been hiding the entire time) and thanked for withstanding the rain and dealing with the unforeseen changes. We then took a mini after-proposal photo shoot, and I couldn’t stop beaming the entire time. I still can’t believe that I’m going to marry my high school sweetheart and my best friend! It’s so surreal! I couldn’t stop staring at the ring! Since I’m super indecisive, I was no help; one day I wanted a colored stone, platinum band and simple ring, the next day I wanted a colored band and a vintage look. He just stopped listening to me and decided the ring on his own, and it could not be more perfect. The night didn’t go as he had planned, but it couldn’t have been more perfect. It was our Bollywood moment like Karan Johar (Indian film director) was directing the whole thing.

Special Thanks

Vlad Leto
Photography/Videography
Tatiana Caicedo
Photography/Videography