By Shireen Jamooji
In 2017, Deepti moved from Chennai to Bangalore in India for a general medicine residency. For her whole first year in Bangalore, Deepti’s life was centred around work. Her love life was practically non-existent, and she was absolutely fine with that—beyond her roommate and close friends, she was in no rush to expand her social circle. But Deepti’s friends had other plans. They’d all had a run of successful dates through Bumble, and to break Deepti out of her antisocial slump, they insisted on setting up a profile for her too. To ensure that Deepti actually used it, they came up with one rule: She had to go on at least three dates before she was allowed to delete Bumble.
She gave it a shot, and after two Bumble dates, she had almost fulfilled her promise. Swiping to find her third connection, she came across Kishan. The first thing that she noticed was his name. It happened to be the name of her grandfather, whom she’d never met but had heard great things about. The second was his dimples, which she thought were cute. Taking these as good omens, she swiped right.
Kishan, a Bangalore native, had recently moved back from the U.S. to work as the head of business at a local start-up. Leaving America and returning home meant breaking up with his girlfriend there. And although adjusting to the change was tough, he soon felt ready to put himself out there again, and decided to check out Bumble. Deepti’s profile was one of the first he came across, and he was immediately intrigued. “Deepti’s profile made me laugh,” he says. “It seemed simple and genuine, and I had to find out more.”
They decided to meet a week later, but the date didn’t get off to a great start. “We didn’t really know what to talk about so we kind of ended up discussing our ex-partners and complaining about toxic relationships,” says Deepti. They found what was supposed to be a casual date turning into a therapy session, which didn’t add to the romantic atmosphere. On a brighter note, Deepti was impressed that Kishan could speak Tamil, her mother tongue. It felt like a comfort, and a reminder of home.
They parted ways and fell out of touch. Deepti, having fulfilled her three date promise, didn’t open Bumble again. In the month that followed their date, Kishan’s ex visited Bangalore, and though there was no reconciliation, seeing her made Kishan reconsider his future. “I started thinking about the kind of people I wanted in my life, and smaller nuances of my date with Deepti just kept coming back to me,” he says. “She was a really nice person and I realised I should reach out. Maybe we could still be friends.”
Deepti was pleasantly surprised to hear from Kishan and decided that she was open to a friendship with him. Luckily, the second meeting was a huge improvement on the first and the conversation was easy. “It was like hanging out with an old friend,” says Deepti. This comfortable rapport convinced them they were destined to be friends, and soon they were meeting regularly. Kishan introduced Deepti to his circle, and though their relationship was platonic, his friends saw something more. “In the past, my friends never liked any of my dates,” he says, “But they warmed up to Deepti very quickly. They kept asking whether we were dating and many said she’d be the perfect match for me.”
Deepti began to feel something more than just friendship, and decided to throw caution to the wind and act on her crush when the two were at a concert together. “I kissed him, he kissed me back, and we found ourselves in a friends-with-benefits situation,” Deepti says. “We didn’t have a real plan but thought we’d figure it out eventually.”
They kept up a casual relationship while seeing other people, neither wanting to complicate the great thing they had going. But in March 2019, Kishan was out on a date with another girl, and since Deepti was nearby, he asked if she wanted to join them. “I had told my date about Deepti already and didn’t think twice about it,” admits Kishan. “That girl cracked a joke saying, ‘Why are we even on this date? The person you want to be with is right there.’” When Kishan got home that night, he called Deepti and said, “This isn’t the first time I’ve heard that, and I think we should date.” To which she replied, “I’ve been waiting for you to say that. Let’s make it happen!”
Now, as a couple, their contrasting personalities have become their biggest strength. “I was an introvert, and she’s helped me get out of the fear of awkwardness,” says Kishan. “She’s also taught me to be more caring to the world around me.” Deepti, on the other hand, found that Kishan’s calm and patient nature was the antidote to her restlessness. “The biggest green flag was when we went on a trip to Vietnam together,” she says. “I’m someone who likes to live in luxury some days and then stay in a little shack the next. He went along with all my weird ideas. That’s when I knew he could handle anything.”
In March 2020, on Kishan’s birthday and the cusp of the first COVID-19 lockdown, he rented out a private cinema and proposed. While Deepti was thrilled, there was a problem: Deepti had been hellbent on proposing first and disrupting India’s male-centric status quo. “My first thought was, ‘Oh my god, I was supposed to do this first.’ So the minute the first lockdown was lifted I grabbed my chance.” She took him to a small farm in the lush, hilly Coorg region in Karnataka, and led him to a scenic creek. “I was so nervous,” Deepti says. “I got down on the wrong knee and put the ring on the wrong hand and the first thing he said was, ‘You know that’s on the wrong hand, right?’”
In November 2021, they made it official in a small, intimate celebration with their closest friends and family in a rustic farmhouse in Bangalore. Today, they’re enjoying life as a married couple, but they still say they’re friends first and spouses second. For Deepti, the fact that she found her happy ending through Bumble has convinced her that this meeting was destined to be. She found her husband and her best friend in one person, and is grateful that she took a chance on Kishan. “We plan to keep this love we found going,” she says, “because we know it’s something special.”