By Shireen Jamooji
As a writer in Mumbai’s bustling film industry, Aradhana didn’t feel like she had much time for love. “Anyone I dated would have to be able to adapt to my busy schedule and late hours,” she says. But still, she quietly hoped to meet someone to start a relationship with. She joined Bumble in January 2020, after her father saw an ad. “My parents worried that I was always working and never had time to date,” she says. “So I downloaded Bumble to find love and a real relationship.” She connected with a few people, and after four days on Bumble she came across Vinay.
Vinay, a Mumbai-based executive, had been on Bumble since October 2019. He had recently come out of a five-year relationship and was ready to get back into the dating world. “I wasn’t looking for something serious at the time, but I was open to it,” he says. Luckily for him, destiny intervened in the form of his teenage cousin sneakily updating the ‘Looking for’ section of his profile from ‘Don’t know yet’ to ‘Marriage.’ For Aradhana, seeing a man who actively wanted a commitment was a huge green flag. “That’s what caught my eye first,” she says. “It was the only thing our profiles had in common, and if it wasn’t for that, we might not be here today!”
When they matched, Vinay was in Dubai, and it wasn’t until he landed in India that he explored Aradhana’s profile in more detail. And while he was struck by her beauty and sweet-natured responses, he had some apprehensions. “It actually scared me a little bit that she had ‘looking for marriage’ on her profile because I was under the impression she wanted to get married right away,” he says. “I didn’t want to get married to someone in such a short time without properly connecting.”
They cleared the air when they started chatting, and Aradhana assured him that she was also looking to build a strong relationship before even considering the idea of marriage. Two days later, they planned a first date at a local coffee shop around 10pm since they both worked late hours. Even though they were worn out from the day, sparks began to fly from the moment they met. “He came to pick me up from my house, and when I laid eyes on him and saw his beautiful smile and innocent eyes, I knew something magical had started,” says Aradhana.
They chatted over drinks—a coffee for him, a green tea for her—and started getting to know each other. They found that for both of them, family was a high priority. Vinay especially was glad to hear this as his elderly mother lived with him—and it would’ve been a dealbreaker if a date had a big problem with the arrangement. Thankfully, Aradhana was completely on board with the situation, and for Vinay, “that was music to my ears and put me at ease from the start.” They went on to chat about work, their travels, and how they envisioned their futures for so long that an employee eventually had to come by and ask them to leave because the cafe was closing.
Not wanting the date to end, Vinay offered to walk Aradhana home. As they strolled the five long kilometers back to Aradhana’s house, they ran into a loud, barking stray dog. Scared, Aradhana grabbed Vinay’s hand. “In that moment, I completely forgot about the dog,” says Aradhana. “Instead, I felt butterflies in my stomach just from the touch of his hand. I sometimes think he planted that dog there on purpose!” At her gate, they said their farewells, both wishing for more time.
But soon enough, they had nothing but time. India’s COVID-19 lockdown hit just six weeks after their first meeting. Not wanting to be apart and unsure of where the situation would lead, Aradhana moved in with Vinay and his mother. She considered returning to her family home in Delhi, but the risk of accidentally infecting her parents and grandparents was too high. During those months together, their relationship deepened. “Our personalities complemented each other,” says Aradhana. “I’m quite a go-getter as a person, and I always knew that I needed a man who has a lot of patience and calmness. It didn’t take us long to realise that this is forever. It felt like we were already married, and life has been beautiful since then.”
Vinay, however, believes their destiny was written much earlier, “On January 27th 2020 when she told me she loves me for the first time and I said it back it was a special moment, and at that time we both knew that we are heading towards a life together.” And that’s exactly what they did.
A few months into their relationship, they began planning their wedding. Vinay didn’t officially propose; he just knew that the answer was yes. Even though they agreed to keep things simple due to pandemic restrictions, Vinay knew that Aradhana had always wanted a grand proposal. “I think he noticed me tearing up at all those engagement videos on the internet,” she laughs. So just before the day of the wedding in December 2020, at a rooftop dinner where their families were set to meet for the first time, he arranged for a romantic surprise. “Vinay asked me for a dance, and as we were lost in each other’s eyes, he swayed me towards a beautifully decorated corner with lights and flowers and a neon board which read, ‘It was always you,’” says Aradhana. “He took out placards and asked me to marry him, then got down on one knee and produced a ring from his pocket!” Two days later, they made it official in a beautiful but intimate ceremony with friends and family from both sides coming together to celebrate their special day.
Today, they live together in Mumbai and are excited to keep learning and growing together. They say that their dream future together would be exactly like their present but with a few additions. They would love to travel more, start a family, become financially stable, and support their parents in their old age. “But we don’t look too far ahead,” says Vinay. “Whatever life throws at us, we’ll be able to face it together because of the love that we share.”
Main photo credit: Prashant Paka