By Shireen Jamooji
In summer 2020, at the urging of friends, Shreyoshi downloaded Bumble. They were out for the night, so she decided to humour them by signing up for the app, but didn’t have much intention of actually using it. Shreyoshi considered herself in a full-time relationship with her work as a fashion designer and entrepreneur in the sustainable weaving space in Pune, India. Shreyoshi’s fierce independence often meant that she put her love life on the back burner. “I’d been single for six or seven years,” she says. “My only goal was to meet some decent people and maybe make some friends to go on trips with.”
When she came across Ritam, a biomedical engineer, Shreyoshi decided that he was worth a right swipe. She liked his goofy pictures and that he was well-travelled, which she thought was “a sign that he would be more open-minded than the men I’ve met in the past,” she says. Ritam was also excited about the match. He had joined Bumble in February of that year to meet new people. “I’m a very social person and was getting bored in lockdown,” he says. “I wanted good conversations that weren’t about work.” Still new to Bumble, Shreyoshi forgot that she had to initiate the conversation after they matched. But Ritam had faith and extended the match, giving her an extra 24 hours to respond. Luckily, she did!
After that, the conversation was electric. “We spoke to each other non-stop, including overnight calls from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.,” remembers Ritam. They found that in many ways, their personalities were polar opposites: “I can eat the same meal for a week; he needs something new every time,” Shreyoshi says. “He’s really passionate about techno; I don’t really care what genre music is as long as I like it. He likes dressing up; I’m more into comfort. But something still just felt right.” A week and countless messages later, they decided to meet.
Being the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown and the monsoon season, there were limited destinations for a date. But they both loved long drives, so on a Sunday afternoon, Shreyoshi borrowed her dad’s car, picked up Ritam, and together they headed out of the city in the direction of a nearby lake. Their long phone calls helped bypass any first date nerves. “By the time we met we had already talked about so much: our lives, our interests, our work, our dreams,” says Ritam. “Meeting in person after that just felt like meeting an old friend. We just found it easy to talk about anything.” They decided to go paddle boating, even though they were both scared of the water. It was as they paddled that Ritam felt the energy shifting, “I don’t know if it was because we were out there just the two of us, but that’s when it actually started feeling like a real date,” he says.
After their boat ride, they decided to keep the date going by driving through the hills around the lake. But things took a turn when the car got stuck. “The wheels were just spinning in the mud, and then the car started rolling down towards the lake!” says Shreyoshi. Fortunately, a well-placed boulder stopped the descent—but they realised they were stranded and had to wait three hours for help to arrive.
For both of them, this mishap revealed their true compatibility. “I remember she tried to insist on pushing the car while I steered,” laughs Ritam. “We both knew it was too heavy for her, but I loved how stubbornly she believed that she could.” Shreyoshi says, “I went through a whole spectrum of emotions that night—fear, anger, joy, excitement—but he kept me calm and made me feel safe.” Sitting together in the moonlight waiting for help, Ritam asked if Shreyoshi wanted to start dating for real. And so, sealed with a first kiss, they were officially a couple.
That whirlwind date was the first of many. A couple of days later, Shreyoshi needed to travel to Mumbai for work, and Ritam spontaneously joined her. It was a turning point in their relationship: “I already felt like I had a partner I could depend on,” says Shreyoshi. “And that trip was the first time he told me he loved me.” After that, they spent all their free time hanging out at her home together, and Ritam quickly became part of the family. “I really liked how much he genuinely cared for my family,” Shreyoshi says. “He once stayed at my home for two weeks, taking care of my mother when she was sick and I was busy with work.”
Neither came into the relationship with any expectations. “I had all but given up on the idea of marriage until I met Shreyoshi,” says Ritam. As for Shreyoshi, she never believed she could find a man who was comfortable with her independent nature. “It’s just not common in Indian culture for men to want to marry strong women,” she says. So when Ritam proposed just over a month after they first met, it was proof that their connection was special.
Trying to coordinate more than four hundred wedding guests during lockdown wasn’t possible, so Ritam and Shreyoshi decided to have a small engagement party in December 2020 with a larger wedding in 2021. But when the time came, both Ritam and Shreyoshi realised that they didn’t want to wait any longer, and tied the knot right there at the engagement ceremony with a handful of friends and family. They had a larger, second wedding in December 2021.
Along this journey, they’ve seen that their strength as a couple is in how they’ve complemented each other. “We’re completely different,” says Ritam, “but we understand each other.” Shreyoshi is thrilled to have found someone who lets her be her authentic self. “He’s so supportive and open-minded,” she says.
Today, they live with five cats and two dogs, and are looking forward to building a future where they chase their career goals and eventually set up an animal shelter together. But for now, the couple are happy to see where life takes them, and, as Ritam puts it: “The plan is to spend life with each other til death do us part. She is my best friend before anything, and all I want to do is hang out with her.”