“So, let’s do this?” he asked.

I tried acting I was shy but didn’t work. “Do what?”

“Marriage, let’s just do it no. What say?”
(exact words: Karni hai Shaadi toh kar lete hai, bol?)

It wasn’t the marriage proposal I dreamt of all my life, read along to know why.

After spending 26 years of my life waiting for a guy to come and stop me at the airport (or even at the railway station) and propose to me, or at least someone who could play DDLJ tunes on a mandolin. I also fantasized about having my dupatta or saree pallu get tangled in his watch but I don’t usually wear that attire so it was out of the question.

It took me 26 years to realize, nothing of this sort was going to happen, and I asked mom to find a suitable man for me.

I was registered in our Gujarati community matrimony with Rs. 500 as registration fee (after Yash and I got married they doubled the fee!! No kidding). It was old school, no website, but one had to go down to their office in Vile Parle, browse through a library of files with various tags like NRI, Divorce, Widow, etc. categorized as per sub casts, age, gender, etc. It was fascinating how many people used to actually go down there and browse through thousands of bio-data every day. Some with pictures with their friends where you cannot even make out who the candidate is, some with a passport-sized, some with low-res printed pictures clicked from a phone. My favourite category was the guys who took the efforts off doing makeup, wore new shinny clothes and went to the nearby photo booth and posed for pictures in front of the typical floral background.

I had received quite a few rishta’s from our mutual relatives and friends but I had rejected it all. My parents were fed up and complained of how I couldn’t even find a guy for myself.

Freshly waxed, I stepped out of a parlor in Thakur Village, with an extremely low battery, as usual, I got a call.

“Hello, Parul ben chhe?” (Hello, can I talk to Parul?)
I knew this call was for my mom, from someone who saw my bio-data at the matrimony. I was so excited that someone liked me!

“Aunty, I am her daughter. Is this call regarding my marriage?” in an extremely chirpy tone I replied.

I informed her that this was my number and that I will text her my mom’s contact right away. I didn’t know if it was the excitement of getting the first call that rushed me up to send my number or that my phone had a 2% battery. (It was the excitement, it was!)

My number was passed on to Yash, who was in Michigan, USA. We were supposed to talk for a few days and see if we got interested. It’s amusing to see how the same parents would freak out if I spoke to a stranger as friends without meeting him, but now they wanted me to speak to someone who along with his family were strangers, for spending the rest of our lives together.

July, 2017. Monday:

Vi Said Yas – The story - Vishakha Sodha

It was a busy Monday morning where I had to present a weekly report. I saw the message pop up on my screen but I thought of reverting once I was done (didn’t want to risk that first impression).

But his text after 25 mins was so adorable; I couldn’t wait but reply instantly. On one hand, we showed off how busy we are in lives, we don’t chit chat so much, yet, we spoke non-stop for a week, day and night. A week later, on a weekend, we were supposed to see each other on Facetime. We did see pictures, but who believes them anyway with the innumerable editing apps, which I don’t use (maybe, sometimes).

9pm IST, I wore the ugliest night suit, messed up my hair, didn’t wear any makeup and smiled away to get rejected. He came online, and I had the first glimpse of him on the video call and I disconnected the call in a second, ran to the mirror to fix my hair.

Got a text message “you had seen my pictures already; I know I am not handsome but did you disconnect seeing me on video?” Little did he know it was love at first sight. He was not the prince out of my dreams, not from the movies, nor the fairytales but there was something!

He was the same mad person who matched my crazy over our conversation, he did not pronounce “cool” as “kool” and did not even have workout pictures across social media. Chuck workout pictures, he did not have pictures on social media, did not know how to even upload an Instagram story. And me on the other hand, well, all over the social media, all the time!

We spoke for a year as long-distance couples but we had never met. Our families realized something is cooking and their arranged marriage plan might work out, just then they made plans to send me to the US to stay with him for 15 days and decide. Two Gujarati families, agreeing for their kids to meet in a faraway land and tour the US for 15 days? Not happening in a Karan Johar movie too!

3rd June, Landed at JFK Airport.

I wore heels to not have the “short girl” first impression, concealed my under eye and did a quick ‘no-makeup-makeup-look’.

Yash entered in a casual Under Armor T-shirt, loose jeans, a cap, and a backpack. I did see him, but I turned around so he couldn’t see me. 1 year of talking, and after exchanging numerous “I love you” I suddenly felt like a fool. I mean who flies all the way to the USA from India just to meet a guy for an arranged marriage. I felt like I made a huge mistake and it did not even feel like the movies, looking at him, for the first time did not ring bells in my heart, nor did the violins play.

On the other side, nothing of this sort happened with Yash either. Both of us were a little ‘eh! okay!’

We waited for a cab outside to take us to our hotel in New York and our hands touched. It felt like some current flowed up my spine and we held our hands.

8 June, 2018 Las Vegas

Vi Said Yas – The story - Vishakha Sodha

Yash’s birthday night, it wasn’t a proposal that I dreamt of all my life, it was better, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

People go to Vegas for one-night stands, we decided on a lifetime together. The 15 days we spent together, travelling around the USA, New York – Vegas – Michigan, were easily the best 15 days I have ever spent in these 26 years of my lifetime.

My parents met him 10 days before the wedding, but their nervousness about not seeing their daughter’s husband is altogether a different story!

December 18th, 2018.
On this day, last year, Yash and Vishakha tied a knot.

Vi Said Yas – The story - Vishakha Sodha
Vi Said Yas – The story - Vishakha Sodha

Until next time,
Much love,
Vi Said Yas – The story - Vishakha Sodha

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