Together with Melina and Abhinav

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1.) How did you meet each other?

M: We met through an app called Bumble in October 2016 whilst I was a medical student in Birmingham and Abs was working in London. I clearly recall thinking he looked like ‘marriage material’ after seeing a family photo of him with his cousin. He was so charismatic, and our conversations flowed instantly. As it turned out, his parents lived locally and soon he had more than one reason to visit home more regularly. We worked through a long-distance relationship for the first two years until I finished medical school and we moved in together. 


2.) What is the most beautiful thing about your partner?

A: I fell for Mel because she is the warmest person I have ever come across. It is genuine warmth that is rare to find in a world where I feel that people are increasingly struggling to be themselves. Mel is incredibly good at connecting with people and building relationships and I remember thinking early on that not only does she do this in a completely different way to me, she regularly does it better than me. To keep it short, I respect and value Mel’s perspective, her way of analyzing situations and performing tasks. There are so many times I have benefited from taking Mel’s approach rather than my own, I think we make an excellent team.


3.) You both come from different cultures. What has helped your relationship to continuously grow more understanding of each other’s backgrounds?

M: To clarify, I’m of Persian origin and Abs is Indian. We were immersed in each other’s cultures and the core similarities in our family values from the very beginning. Our respect and understanding of our colorful cultures and insight into living as first generation British-Asians has deepened our connection. We both feel a level of responsibility to honor the hard work and commitment our parents exerted to build our strong foundations in this country. Having subscribed to weekly language classes we have both started learning Farsi and Hindi colloquially. Admittedly, planning a fusion wedding has helped us learn more about our culture, traditions and family’s expectations more than any other experience so far!

4.) How did you know he/she was the one?

A: I don’t think there is such a thing as the one, rather someone who fulfills the majority/all the qualities you think you want in a life partner and therefore is the person you are willing to make a commitment to and continuously work on building a life together. I realized Mel was that person probably a year into our relationship. She shares the same values as me specifically around families and relationships. She wants to have kids (three for her, two for me so we will probably compromise and have three I always joke). She is career driven, ambitious but also prioritizes balance. She wants to get the most out of life and is far better than me at appreciating the little things.

M: I realized Abs was ‘The One’ very early on. Within the first three months of our relationship he had met my immediate family and he was referred to as the damad (son-in law) before we were even engaged. Our lives fit together like jigsaw pieces. Abs is so consistent in his temperament; he’s incredibly reliable, loyal and thoughtful. As you may have guessed from his answers, he’s emotionally intelligent and incredibly eloquent at expressing himself. The art to evolving any relationship is communication, and we work at this every day. 


5.) What was it like to buy an engagement ring?

A: I am of the view that the person wearing the engagement ring should choose what they want the ring to look like, especially as it isn’t a cheap purchase! They’re going to be stuck with it for life after all. Also, I think ring shopping is a uniquely enjoyable experience, I am sure Mel will vouch for that. 

Mel and I went shopping where she tried on rings from a number of well-known brands and also at a few independent stores in London’s jeweler quarter. This gave us an idea of what Mel liked, what was within the budget etc. I would very much recommend doing some basic research on diamonds beforehand. The information is readily available and will allow you to sanity check any purchase you’re considering.

Then the wonderful Anar popped into my life, introduced to me by a good friend. Initially, this mutual friend only expected me to use Anar as a guide. However, it quickly became apparent that I would be much better off getting the ring designed by Anar. The overall process was super straightforward and most importantly transparent. Anar was always honest, gave good advice and made sure I understood what was going on and got what I wanted. Mel of course loved the final product.


6.) How did you propose?

A: This was months in the making. I considered doing it abroad on a lavish holiday but then I realized it made more sense to focus on what’s truly important to us, our first home together, our friends and our family. I initially sent Mel out to brunch with her friends. Whilst she was there I sent her a video which was an amalgamation of our first conversations on Bumble with an invitation to return home. I had decorated our flat with the help of a friend; candles, rose petals, 200 tulips etc. I remember giving a 15 minute speech about how wonderful Mel is before asking her to marry me in 3 languages: Hindi, Farsi and English. It’s important to be absolutely clear about big decisions like this! I then whisked her off for an Italian dinner, her favorite, after which we rocked up to a bar I’d rented out for the evening for a surprise party with 60 of our friends present. The party had been planned 3 months before the proposal to make sure everyone could attend so whatever happened we were getting engaged that day! The next day was supposed to be a surprise lunch with my and Mel’s family. Unfortunately Mel’s mum, in her excitement, gave away the surprise a day early. Ended up being a lovely lunch nonetheless!


7.) What's one lesson you have learned that you would like to share with others in love?

A: One thing I have learned is to take a step back when you find yourself getting annoyed/frustrated with your partner and remind yourself of the reasons why you fell for them in the first place and about the qualities you saw in them initially along with the ones you see in them today. I wouldn’t say I am easily annoyed but there were times during the pandemic where we spent a lot more time together than we normally would and this automatically leads to an increase in tiny annoyances such as differences in how you approach chores, tasks, activities for the day etc. I would say that every time I have found myself frustrated by anything, taking this step back has helped because it has reminded me how insignificant my current thoughts are. 


8.) You are planning to get married in 2021 - how do you envision the wedding?

M: We embraced the idea of a long engagement and only started planning our wedding 12 months after he popped the question. I’ve used the word ‘fusion’ more in the last six months than my entire life! Planning a large-scale wedding to incorporate our traditional Persian/Indian ceremonies has been an adventure so far. We envision a weekend of festivities in a destination-style wedding venue in the Cotswolds near my hometown in Summer 2021 followed by a reception in India in the Winter. 


9.) What are you both looking forward to as a soon to be newlywed couple?

A: Living together for more than 2 years now means that being newlywed won’t really change anything for us. We will hopefully continue to enjoy each other’s company for a year or so, our honeymoon will likely be our first holiday in close to 2 years so that will be nice. We both want to have kids relatively young so I can see at least one coming along within a couple of years of being married!