By Shireen Jamooji
While on holiday in the idyllic district of Coorg, India in 2019, UX designer Chaitra came across Parth’s profile. She hadn’t been looking to connect with anyone since she was only in the area for a short time, but while scrolling Bumble with her friends, Parth’s cute smile caught her eye. Then she saw a quote from her favorite TV show on his profile, and it was the only sign she needed. She swiped right, dropping him a casual ‘Hi!’ to open the conversation.
In another part of Coorg, on a company retreat, Parth was looking to pass some time and decided to open up Bumble. He was thrilled to see Chaitra’s profile pop up. “Her confidence beamed out to me through her photos,” he says. More importantly, she also had a quote in her bio of his favorite TV show. He wasted no time replying, but for three days, there was radio silence. He wasn’t discouraged, and his software engineer sense of humor kicked in. He dropped Chaitra a simple message, “Error 404: Chaitra Not Found.” The quip did its job, and she replied soon after. “Honestly, I had just got caught up with my holiday—I wasn’t ignoring him,” Chaitra explains. “But it helped that I now knew he was funny too!”
They began chatting and soon discovered that despite matching in Coorg, they both lived in Bangalore. But despite their shared home city, their worlds were very different. Parth was analytical, pragmatic, and organized, while Chaitra was emotional, artistic, and adventurous. Their contrasting personalities gave them plenty to learn from each other, and after texting for a few weeks, they made a plan to meet back home in Bangalore.
On the day of the date, Chaitra arrived on time, but Parth was nowhere to be seen. Since they lived 25 km apart at opposite ends of the city, he had fallen prey to Bangalore’s infamous traffic jams and had to admit to her that he’d be late. Not wanting to wait at the bar alone, Chaitra sat at a nearby doughnut shop. “It took him over an hour, but I felt he might be worth waiting for,” she says. “When he arrived, he came up behind me and hugged me. I was surprised, but it was so cute!” They headed in together and had a few drinks, but Parth had a secret plan in store. Before the night was over, he whisked her away to the rooftop terrace of his house, where he had set up a date night inspired by their favorite TV show. “He had brought wine and fries, and we sat and watched a few episodes together,” says Chaitra. “It was so perfect! It just melted my heart. After that, we were inseparable.”
They started meeting every weekend, but the distance proved challenging even within the city. “Bangalore traffic is like a Wi-Fi connection that doesn’t have internet,” jokes Parth. “You’re connected, but it isn’t going anywhere.” As a solution, he learned how to ride a bike to be able to visit her more often. They started discovering how compatible they were, even though they had different interests. “I don’t like dancing,” admits Chaitra, “but he made me comfortable dancing and pushed me to be more outgoing.” Similarly, Parth hated traveling because he always felt stuck doing activities that he wasn’t interested in, but with Chaitra, it was different. “She made space for things that both of us wanted to do and allowed us time just to chill and do nothing,” he says. “Our trip to [the resort town] Ooty was the first time I enjoyed traveling!”
They grew steadily closer until Parth had to leave the city on business one day and realized he didn’t want to go. “I just wanted to return to Bangalore the whole time, even as the plane was departing for Delhi,” he says. “That made me realize I love her.” That very day when he got off the plane, he texted her, saying, ‘I love you’ for the first time.
When COVID-19 hit in March 2020 and India went into lockdown, they described it as the “worst time ever.” “We had video calls and all-day chats, but not being able to meet sucked,” says Parth. By July 2020, Parth realized how much he depended on Chaitra. “I don’t trust a lot of people,” he says, “People naturally tend to put themselves first. But Chaitra puts my needs at the same level as her own. I knew I could trust her with my life more than I could trust even myself with it.” This realization only left one course of action in his mind, and he acted on it spontaneously one day when they were just hanging out together at his house. He took a wire cable tie, twisted it into a makeshift ring, and proposed. Overwhelmed by this heartfelt gesture, Chaitra happily agreed.
Along with their kitten Coco, they became a little family unit, and in July 2021, they had a formal engagement ceremony with their families. Their initial plan was to get engaged and then wait a couple of years before getting married. “We wanted time to work on ourselves,” says Chaitra, “to be independently stable and not rush into things.” But life had other plans for them. Parth got a job in the U.K., and since they couldn’t bear the idea of being apart until Chaitra’s visa was approved, they decided to get married. “It was easier for her to get a visa as my spouse, and so we planned the wedding in five days, got married, and began our new life together.”
Today they live together in Bristol, U.K., and are planning for a future full of travel, success, and more cats. They believe that the core of their relationship has been a willingness to learn from each other. Whether he’s teaching her about engineering and gaming or she’s taking him out to the roller rink, they’re focused on growing together. “We’re stable and solid, but at the same time we’re also fun and spontaneous,” says Parth. Chaitra adds: “In the end, it’s all about making each other happy!”