India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Verve People
September 24, 2009

Wed Time Stories

Text by Sona Bahadur

From sweet nothings to happily ever after, from soulful ‘I do’s’ to sleepless nappy nights, four much-in-love couples share their tales of togetherness with Verve. Woo, wed, grow, play…

Roopak Saluja, Actor-Producer, and Tara Sharma, Actor

The Courtship
Roopak met Tara across a couple of weddings. Sparks flew at the wedding of their friends, Asad and Pooja in Lucknow in December 2005 — dancing with each other, glances exchanged and all. “We then met at Kanpur at another wedding. We spent four days together and reached a level of closeness without all the awkwardness of first dates and ‘will he call?/will she text?’ moments. I knew that if Tara and I were to start something, it would be big and eternal.”

Tara recalls meeting Roopak at a common friend’s house before she met him in Lucknow in 2006. “But it was those four days that I really got to know him. It was instant attraction. Straight out of a movie.”

The Proposal
He knew they’d get married well before he popped the question. “We started dating in January 2006. By summer we were talking of marriage and our parents had met. My biggest challenge was how to propose in a way that still surprised Tara. On her birthday, I spontaneously planned an overnight getaway to the Neemrana Hotel at Matheran: Horses, moonlight, Dom Perignon 1998… and the proposal!”

She suspected something was fishy when she saw Roopak coming out of her parents’ room the night before her birthday. “Roopak had a brainwave to go out of town on my birthday. In Matheran two horses were waiting for us. We rode to Neemrana. In the moon light Roopak went down on his knees, produced a beautiful ring and proposed. I was thrilled and immediately texted my parents. We were engaged!”

The Ring
He decided it had to be his mother’s lovely South African solitaire. “She had bought it 20 years before for my future wife. It was set in a gold ring. But both Tara and I are much more partial to platinum/white gold/silver as a colour, so Mom and I had the solitaire re-set in platinum. I kept it away safely for a few weeks until the big day.”

She gifted him a platinum wedding band. “Since Roopak doesn’t wear rings, he insisted on choosing one.”

The Wedding
He loved that people had come from all over the world (her friends, his friends—they had people from 45 countries) to celebrate their wedding. “We had a blast. The Bombay reception at the Breach Candy Club became very tiring because we had to stand at our positions as 750 people came to congratulate us. Between my father and friends, my glass kept getting refilled during that time. By the end of it, I was seven vodkas down!”

She adored the way Roopak looked in his elaborate tailored sherwani. “I’m British–Punjabi while Roopak is Nepali–Sikh. So our wedding was an amalgamation of traditions. We ended up having four ceremonies across Delhi and Mumbai. The wedding happened at my parent’s garden at Breach Candy. We had our share of (mis)adventures. Roopak’s Man Friday forgot the outfit he was supposed to wear on the Anand Karaj ceremony!”

The Marriage
He considers communication, mutual respect and no egos as the ingredients of a happy marriage. “I have to give Tara much more credit than myself for the last bit. When we fight, I sit and sulk while she’s really quick to try and make up. That’s quite a big thing.”

She believes she has found her big love. “Far from a let down, marriage is many times better than I ever imagined. It gets better every day. ”

The Moments
He loves the little things they do together. “Around two weeks after we start seeing each other, we cooked a Valentine’s Day dinner together. Actually I cooked but I made Tara devein the prawns with me. It was a quirkily funny bonding experience.”

She still can’t get over the way he proposed. “Roopak also took me for a surprise honeymoon. I had no idea where we were going and after hopping three flights, we found ourselves in Borokay Islands in the Philippines!”

Vishesh Verma, Photographer, and Vipasha Agarwal Verma, Model

The Courtship
Vishesh found Vipasha extremely shy and quiet when he first met her on a shoot in Delhi. “But something intrigued me about her. We went on to work a lot together. It was on a shoot in Varanasi, her hometown, that I met her family. Being on home-turf, she really opened up on that trip. She hasn’t stop talking since then!”

Vipasha was attracted to Vishesh’s reserved demeanour. “I find people who don’t talk much kind of mysterious. Vishesh was the first one who made me realise I’m beautiful—through his pictures or by saying it. We dated for five years.”

The Moments
He was touched by the way she fussed over him. “Vipasha made my birthday that first year we met really special. Gifts, flowers, phone calls, dinner… the works.”

She remembers the time she was alone and homesick in Bombay shooting for her movie. “Vishesh had come to Mumbai to shoot in the morning and was leaving the same evening. I’d come to drop him off to the airport and was very low. On our way to the airport, he asked the driver to stop at a restaurant. I was surprised; he was getting late. Then he told me he had got his flight rescheduled so we could get some time together.”

The Proposal
He decided to propose to Vipasha while they were on a cover shoot in Egypt with Verve. “After a grueling day of shooting at the temples of Aswan, we told a very tired Vipasha that she had an extra shot after sunset on the upper deck of the cruise liner. She was furious but agreed. We had set up a candle-light dinner table under the African night sky atop the Nile. Vipasha looked like an Egyptian queen in her beautiful gown. I asked her…”

She wondered, “Where’s the set? What do I have to do?’ He played James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful on his iPod. “I sarcastically asked him why he was being so romantic. He said in a very nervous, sweet way: “I hope you marry a guy like me. So…why not me? I got really emotional. But he said, ‘Don’t cry. It’ll ruin your make-up!’ That made me laugh. We danced. It was very sweet.”

The Engagement
He loved the ceremony at Benaras. “Our families were meeting only for the second time. But everyone made it really special. The stage was set with flowers and all our relatives danced and performed. Around the same time my sister was also getting engaged so there was all-round festivity.”

She loved her look. “In Benaras there’s a tradition wherein the girl gets jewellery made of flowers in saawan and sits on a jhula while people sing and dance around her. Though it wasn’t saawan, I wore a necklace, earrings, waistband, maatha patti, anklet, all made of real flowers in white and orange to match my lehenga.”

The Wedding
He said: “I went through the wedding like a zombie. It was a nice, beautiful blur.”

She said: “Oh God, it was so elaborate. Haldi, bhaat, everything that happens in marwari weddings. In Benaras, the day after the wedding, we have a pooja on the boat on the ghat of the Ganges. That was something beautiful…and different.”

The Marriage
He believes life’s beautiful after marriage. “Vipasha turned out to be a very enthusiastic and efficient wife and I was happy to shoulder all that came with being a husband. Knowing we have each makes each day special. Vipasha is my best friend. That won’t change.”

She has grown to enjoy domesticity. “I have a library of cooking books! The secret of a good marriage is to keep feeding good food to your husband. Kidding! It’s about sacrifice, compromise and shared things between you and your partner. No secrets!”

Anshu Arora Sen and Jason Cheriyan, Fashion Designers

The Courtship
Jason recalls he was in Delhi on a short trip when he dropped into Anshu’s studio with a common friend. “That’s when I saw her for the first time. I loved the air about her as she went about casually making coffee. Soon after that we found ourselves in Calcutta for a week-long celebration of Sasha. This was a magic week. Love blossomed though we lived in two different cities.”

Anshu thought he was “cute and vague at the same time. Our relationship began. I was flooded with carnations, beautiful, thoughtful little things, letters. We took our time to decide on marriage; we don’t hold the institution in very high esteem. Finally, we did it to keep the peace.”

The Proposal
He proposed in Venice on a gondola. “All very unplanned though I was carrying the rings (which I found in a little craft village in Scotland) for two weeks, waiting for the perfect moment, and amidst the canals it just happened.”

She thought, “‘Ok, so we are ringed!’ Honestly, let me tell you those canals smell bad, but it does make the most beautiful visual space to say yes!”

The Wedding
He loved “the fact that the celebration was small and intimate. Anshu looked wonderful in her dreamy simple sari and flowers-in-hair look. With just our family and few friends, it all sat so beautifully and was yet so simple.”

She loved the ISKON temple ceremony. “The pandit assigned to us was called Love Kush. We thought that was so charming. ”

The Marriage  
He excels in “the art of lotus eating, while Anshu can be a curly-haired panic queen. But we inspire each other, the impossible seems possible.”

She likes that they share house work (so they have the luxury of spending more baby time). “It’s a bit like being in a band; we can play together! We share most interests except maybe he would love it if I got into election news or cricket scores… I’d marry him again if he could learn the lyrics of a song and belt them out! ”

The Moments
He treasures a love drawing by Anshu which captures an ‘I know moment.’ “I just enjoy being with her, the fact that we love to travel together, do some random thing like trying astral travel. I love music a lot more with Anshu around. Our current fixation is a mission to outscore each at an addictive game called bubble breaker!”

She’s mad about his quirkiness. “Ok, so Hampi in Karnataka is a spot for us. Jason is collector of pretty pebbles, but once when I refused to go, he sent me a rather large and beautiful rock, saying, ‘If Anshu won’t come to Hampi, Hampi will come to her!’”

Rajiv Saini, Architect-Designer, and Shilpa Gupta, Artist

The Courtship
Rajiv had known Shilpa for a long time. “She was my sister’s junior at JJ School of Arts and part of our extended circle of friends. In March 2006, we met at Bose-Pacia in New York where Shilpa was showing her work. We connected then. Later we returned to India and would go for walks at Carter Road in Bandra where we lived at the time.”

Shilpa recalls, “When I was in New York in 2006, R came to a dinner at the gallerist’s house. He was on an armchair and I was on a couch across the room (I call those life changing chairs) for somehow things took a turn at that very moment. We slowly became good friends. We’d go to openings in separate cars and come back in the same one. We’d go for dinners and long walks on Carter Road. We were together in Venice for the Art Biennale, then in Paris. We spent beautiful, romantic days in these two cities, seeing art, walking around flea markets, discovering new spaces together.”

The Proposal
He decided quite spontaneously to pop the question. “Shilpa was at the Venice Biennale in late June 2007. We were sitting by the canal in the evening and I brought up marriage. She didn’t respond at the time and conversation drifted to other things. Then we were in Paris for the weekend and doing the flea market rounds when Shilpa had her Eureka moment. She said, “We must get married this year,” and called her mum and brother!”

She always knew they would marry. “There was no one specific moment per se. All moments, big and small, just wove themselves into each and then at one time, we realised this was the way it was meant to be.”

The Wedding
He wanted a quiet ceremony. “But Shilpa’s family wanted a big wedding. A week before the wedding we mustered the courage to tell our parents how we felt. They understood. We went on a temple recce. Everywhere we were told we couldn’t get married inside the temple’s sanctum sanctorum. Then Shipa remembered this little temple in Powai she used to visit as a child. It was a beautiful place with a small temple on top of a hillock near the Chinmanay Ashram. Nine of us drove down there at 4.30 am — Shilpa, I, our immediate families and the priest. We were married by dawn. The sun came out. The birds were chirping. It was very romantic.”

She remembers “the sun rising early in the morning and the way it lit up the out little gathering around the fire in an ashram in Powai. Then enjoying simple idli sambhar at the ashram canteen in our full wedding attire!”

The Moments
He cherishes the birthday gift she gave him the year they got married. “I came back home and Shilpa had composed a long verse and had it embroidered on our pillows and sheets. The words are private but it was about memories and associations special to us. It was just a day before Shilpa had a big show. But she had taken great pains to get the linen embroidered by a special tailor.”

She loved that he “cooked a fridge full of food for me before returning to India from Paris while I had to stay back in Paris for work. (I was and am still a beginner with cooking!)”

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