Shilpi and Chaitanya
How We Met
I did my undergrad at UC Berkeley and loved my time there so much that I decided to apply for another year to do a 1 year masters in the master of engineering program. I was thrilled when I was accepted, and a Facebook group was created for people joining the program from all over the world to ask questions and get to know each other. I am generally an eager person, so I looked up people who were listed in the directory as our new starting class to see who I would be meeting come August when school started. One person piqued my interest– his name was Chaitanya. On the first day of class, I happened to brush by him and he stopped me and asked a single question, “How does GPA work here in the US?”
He was from India and generally curious about this, and I was slightly disappointed that this was our first encounter! The next day, groups of people were forming friends, and I decided that since I had been to Berkeley for the last 4 years, I would show some people around campus. We started by meeting at the Campanile, the central clock tower on campus, and introduced ourselves to one another. This is the first time I “officially” met Chaitanya. Friendships were forming fast, and Chaitanya and I become very close friends over the course of a few weeks. It was about a month into school that he asked me out, and we’ve been going out ever since.
How He Asked
I traveled on a trip to Spain with my family, but my (now) fiance was unable to come with us since he wasn’t able to take off from work. Little did I know, he used that time to plan out an elaborate proposal for me for when I would return from my trip. The weekend I came back from the trip, I was eager to tell my girlfriends all about the trip and share photos. We went to UC Berkeley together and also decided that we hadn’t visited in a while, so we would catch up over lunch in Berkeley at one of our old favorite restaurants.
I was very excited by this and didn’t think too much of it. One of the traditions we usually follow is to sit on the Memorial Glade lawn after eating to sit and chat and share stories. After lunch, we walked up to do just that. As we walked there, one of my friends suggested we keep walking and go sit by the clock tower in the center of campus, the Campanile, since it was such a nice day.
So we kept walking, and when we arrived at the clock tower I noticed that there were pink balloons, my favorite color, lining the courtyard. I was looking at them when suddenly, music started playing! It was one of my favorite songs, and my best guy friends jumped out and started dancing in a flashmob! Shortly into the song, some more of my girlfriends joined the flashmob.
Two verses later, my entire family popped from behind the bushes and joined the song as well!! Everyone I loved was dancing for me in the center of UC Berkeley campus; I was so surprised!! At the end of the song, my boyfriend (now fiance) Chaitanya walked out and ended the song with a pose pointing directly at me. He’s a dancer himself, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that his proposal would include some form of dancing.
He walked right up to me, told me he loved me,and bent down on one knee to propose. This was the same exact spot where we had first introduced each other when we started our Master’s of Engineering program at Berkeley 3 years before. I was absolutely ecstatic and of course said yes!