Sameer and Shivika's Acapella Proposal in the Park
How we met
So, this is a very hotly debated topic – the “who liked whom” first issue. To be honest, it was probably both of us falling in love simultaneously but not wanting to admit it. Sameer and I met at our medical school orientation week. A few weeks earlier the school had requested we fill out a small questionnaire to get to know each other better and I remember being immediately drawn to Sameer’s responses. Our hobbies, interests, family background and college experiences sounded so similar, that I was sure we’d be instant best friends. However, when I finally met Sameer I was honestly slightly underwhelmed. He, alternatively, thought I was unfriendly and stuck up. We could not have been more wrong.
The year went on, and given all of our similar interests we ended up becoming close friends with a lot of the same people. We would study together, or go out dancing, or have potlucks with our friends, and Sameer and I became closer friends. As second year of medical school started we moved into the same apartment complex which led to helping each other move in, more studying, and dinners together. I started realizing that I really enjoyed spending time with him, and looked forward to it, though I couldn’t bring myself to admit it. We would laugh together, share college stories, watch youtube videos of our favorite artists or our previous acapella performances, go to the Farmer’s market together and share our love for good coffee. When Sameer finally asked me out, I couldn’t believe I was actually nervous. I bought a new dress and he came to the door with a bouquet of white lilies (I had casually mentioned that lilies were my favorite during one of our Farmer’s Market runs). It didn’t take long for both of us to know how special our relationship was, and to be convinced that we were each other’s forever-mates.
How he asked
In November of 2014, I was given one of the best birthday presents I could imagine: my parents gave Sameer and I their blessing. We were both so busy with residency that I never suspected anything. I knew Sameer was ring shopping but had no idea what he was looking at or what his timeline was. Given our unpredictable schedules, I had requested off for Sameer and I’s five year anniversary so that we could celebrate together. As usual, Sameer did not get that weekend off. He was on a particularly grueling rotation, staying in the OR until after midnight regularly. Since I knew Sameer had to work, I tried to pick up a call shift, but none of my co-residents were agreeable (because they were all in on the plan).
Earlier that week, our friends Meera and Laura called to see if I wanted to get my nails done – something not too out of the ordinary. As we were chatting, Laura informed me that some of her college friends were coming to town and she wanted us to all go out to brunch together. “Let’s get dressed up! It’ll be fun.” Having no plans, and knowing Sameer was working, I agreed. By the time Friday night rolled around, I wasn’t actually very excited about brunch because I was just too tired, but Sameer scolded me saying that if my friends were coming to town, you would expect your other friends to be excited. I knew he was right, so the next day, August 1, 2015, I rallied, got myself ready in a rush and Laura came to pick me up with our other friends Priya and Kat. We headed over to Piedmont Park where we were going to meet her friends but when we got there she said they had wandered into the park. Distracted by the ongoing farmer’s market, I stopped to get coffee, take pictures with my friends, and leisurely strolled to meet Laura’s friends, meanwhile having no idea that Laura and Sameer’s roomate, Mannie, were speedily texting location updates to each other. We strolled on and came upon a sign for a free acapella performance in the gazebo overlooking the lake.
As a former acapella performer I was very interested and my friends seemed agreeable to listening to the concert as well. Within seconds the huddle of men opened, and out stepped my Sameer! And my parents! And his parents! And our brothers! The acapella group, with Sameer as lead, sang a spectacular rendition of John Legend’s “All of You,” a song I always told Sameer was “our song.” About 1 verse into the song, when I was straight up ugly-crying, Sameer points behind me and I turned around to see 20 of our closest friends, including one of our best friends Dina & Tarik who came all the way from Dallas, all gathered for the proposal. I screamed like a little girl with excitement.
In true South-Asian fusion acapella fashion, the group transitioned to singing “Tum Hi Ho,” (Hindi for “You are the only one”) another song that always made me think of Sameer. As the song went into an interlude, Sameer stepped forward and knelt down. I was so caught off guard that I almost knelt down too. “The last 5 years have been amazing, will you spend the next 80 with me as my wife?” he asked. I was speechless. I vigorously nodded and he placed the most beautiful ring about 1/2 way down my ring finger and exclaimed “Great, that’ll work!” having been nervous about my ring size for several months. All our family and friends rushed in, congratulated us and took lots of pictures to never forget that moment.
The surprises weren’t finished however- Sameer had then arranged for all of our friends and family to head back to his apartment’s club house where he had a catered Southern brunch awaiting. That night our families went out for a celebratory dinner, and afterwards his younger brother threw us one of the best parties I have ever been to, with all of our closest friends!
It wasn’t until afterwards that I discovered all the minutia Sameer had accounted for, and how much he had coordinated with my friends and my mom specifically: knowing I would want my nails painted, he had my friends suggest we go and get manicures; knowing I would be too awestruck to remember anything, he hired a fantastic photographer to capture our moment; knowing that I wouldn’t ask him twice if he said he was stuck in the OR until late Friday night, and had to go in early Saturday morning, he was able to sneak away and practice with the acapella group; knowing that my family was planning on driving overnight and staying at my house, he convinced me to do some errands at his apartment while he stayed at work overnight so that I wouldn’t discover my family’s arrival to Atlanta; knowing I would want to look nice, he helped scheme an event with Laura that would force me to dress up… every detail was accounted for… it left me and still leaves me in disbelief about how I got so lucky to find a guy who knows me so well and loves me even more.