I never thought I would be with someone who is so deeply good; I didn't even know those kinds of people existed in the world. I was convinced that wasn't a real thing.
She's a look down at the Earth you're standing on before wanting to leave for the heavens type of person. And I think that's really beautiful because I spend most of my life wishing I was a bird. It's nice to love someone who's so comfortable being barefoot on the ground.
She's fun and quirky, especially after two glasses of wine, and she's weird as hell. I love weird as hell.
"You're an Indian guy doing medicine in New York. My best friend from college is an Indian girl who wants to do medicine. You guys are perfect for each other."
Vanessa [a future bridesmaid at our wedding] said this within six minutes of meeting me and started showing me all these Facebook photos saying, "look, she's so attractive. You need to message her now!"
The idea of messaging some random girl was really weird to me. Indian girls in the United States experience this weird phenomenom where random Indian guys from all over will send weird messages like, "Hi, will you be girlfriend of me?", and it's just spam. If I sent her a message I'd just look like one of those.
I like to say she made the first move.
She was a radiation oncology research coordinator at Einstein. I was actually doing radiation oncology research and there was this really nerdy research conference in San Antonio [Texas] a few months away. I thought, what are the chances -- those are real world chances, not just two Indian people in medicine, but medicine in a field that is only a couple thousand practicioners.
Even if Vanessa hadn't introduced us we could have run into each other in San Antonio. I asked Juhi if we could grab a drink or something and meet up. She said we could meet in the city because she needed some advice on applying to Columbia. I wasn't sure if that meant she acutally wanted to go on a date or not. I polled all my groomsmen -- they still make fun of me for it now -- and all of them said, without a doubt, absolutely no way that she wanted to go on a date. She only wants advice, she's way out of your league.
I showed up at a really nice bar, very fancy. I thought we were just going to have a coffee; I was totally under dressed.
I couldn't even find the bar. I was really lost. I thought I was at the right place becuase there's this tall, charming guy looking in a button-down and a tie...oh my God he was so cute. I knew I was in the right place. I was searching and searching for this bar, but I think I was searching for him. When I found the bar, I found my man.
We talked about medical school for probably 10 minutes, then it was so much more than that. We just clicked about our families and our childhood and our friends; we got each other's weird humor that most other people aren't receptive to. He's dark and cynical and I have my dark and twisty jokes that I make.
We really clicked. I didn't know if it was a date or not; I wasn't complaining.
I had this little plan in my head. I picked this nice place in Grand Central called Campbell Apartments. If you're ever in New York again you should check it out, they just reopened. It used to be this really rich guys' apartment and he had his own subway car with its own tunnel. It's very nice. Very Gothic, very old; like a little speakeasy. I put the button-down on for show. I'd been in sweatpants just before.
My plan was to pick a nice place that has a bit of a dress code only because if she shows up in the attire that's appropriate for the bar -- having come from work -- it means she looked up the where we were going and thinks its a date.
He thought too much about this, right? I just showed up and meanwhile he's psycho analyzing his outfit and the bar.
In my defense, it clearly worked.
Well no. It wasn't a move. It was chemistry.
For anything to work you have to have the beakers and the ingredients and...
I disagree. I think we could have met at McDonald's and it would've been the same thing.
Yeah well, our second date was at McDonald's [laughs]. That was Juhi's idea.
Tavish is into these fancy bars and cocktails and I was a very simple person; probably a bit less now because he's exposed me to all these fancy New York things. My ideal date was our second date: breakfast at McDonald's.
We fell hard. Things happened really quickly. We immediately wanted to see each other. Within a few months I brought up the relationship because I just couldn't imagine myself with anyone else. Only a few months in and I knew this is where I want to be.
It's the feeling when you know the entire concept of what you were thinking was about to happen was going to be different. I had butterflies in my stomach because I just knew that things were not the way I thought they would be.
My perspective when dating is a bit different than what's projected here in America. A lot of times with these romcoms and movies, the parents always want something [for their kids] and the kids want something else. They fight to be independent and free.
Maybe it's an Indian thing but I really think the main goal of a kid is really to make your parents happy because they've sacrificed so much. I mean, to even have you around in the first place is remarkable. I think that feeling of sacrifice is probably more palatable in immigrants or first-generation families.
My family moved to San Francisco and had an Indian community, almost a bubble. I would argue the Indian communities in the United States are more traditional and more conservative than even some of the big cities in India. I think a lot of that just has to do with people trying to cling onto the feelings they have from home. Growing up in that you're always told, "Marry an Indian girl. Hindu. Smart and comes from a good family, preferably."
That was never the case for us. My parents never ever talked about who they would want us to date. My dad made a lot of sacrifices to immigrate here. I didn't have my dad for the first eight years of my life because he was here in America and we couldn't get a visa [my mom, my sister and me].
When we did move here, there was just so much sacrifice and so much struggle for us to even get here, the main focus for my sister and me growing up was just education and happiness.
I was born in Ghana, I had lived in India and then I was in Westchester -- we were really bullied for being Indian. Kids would say really horrible things like, "your house smells like curry" and "go back to India". So the big focus for us was education and family values.
We never talked about dating and love and marriage. My parents were in an arranged marriage, so the concept of choice was never really there. My mom said she didn't fall in love with my dad until seven years into their marriage; I wasn't thinking about immediate love, future or family. My focus had always been school and work and all the other stuff will come.
My parents had this idea they'd be happy for me no matter what, but the funny thing is, I told Tavish one night, that if my parents were to arrange my marriage I think they would choose you.
He said, "oh my God that's the nicest think you've ever said."