Five years ago, Varun, his sister and my brother and I were wandering lazily through a shopping mall in New Dehli. Varun and I were there to Meet the Parents, and my brother (who was then serving with the US Navy in the Middle East) had joined us for a weekend. I don’t know who called who, but somehow Varun ended up on the phone with my Dad. I guess I was overwhelmed by shiny objects or excited to be hanging out in the subcontinent with my brother, but I didn’t question the 20 minute phone call.
Varun hung up and we kept shopping.
The phone rang again: my Dad.
We’re three continents away and my Dad calls to casually chat with Varun. Why not, right? Colour me clueless.
The next day, we were at an outdoor market. (Look, there’s a lot of shopping to be done in Delhi. Don’t judge.) Varun bought me a pretty bangle and said, “You should wear this tomorrow. It might be the best day of your life.” He laughed and walked away.
To be fair, I was excited to see the Taj Mahal. But the best day of my life? Meh. I began to get suspicious. Was Varun going to propose?
The funny part about this story is Varun’s half. Since he hates writing and does.not.blog. I get to tell it to you. Basically—-there is no basically. I will tell you the long story. Pull up a chair.
Rewind 6 months. We had been dating for 6 months and were at my parent’s house for Thanksgiving. Somehow we ended up in a British tea room having lunch with my parents and brother. At that point, Varun and I were sure we wanted to get married, but there were a lot of in-betweens to figure out. Somewhere in the conversation, Varun said “When we get married–”
My parents exchanged looks, eyebrows raised.
Dad: So, are you asking permission to marry my daughter?
Me: (RED ALERT! PANIC!!!!)
Varun: (Never one to lose his cool) Um. Yes. Yes sir. I am. May I marry your daughter?
Me: (I’m pretty sure I should go to the washroom so they can negotiate about goats)
Dad: (I don’t remember what he said but it was something like yes-but-finish-school-first-please.)
It was all very official and non-awkward.
Back to Delhi. Unbeknownst to me Varun had a ring burning a hole in his pocket and decided to inform/check with/??? my Dad that this was Okay. The problem is, my Dad said No. Apparently, he thought that being in the middle of a 6 week trip wherein I was staying at my boyfriend’s parent’s house wouldn’t give me much space to decide. Very logical. Very loving.
Legend has it that when he shared this information with my Mom he was inspired to call Varun back and change his No to a YES! Hence the repeated phone calls at the mall.
The night before he was to propose at the Taj Mahal, Varun mentioned to my brother John that he was going to pop the question. Here’s something you need to know: John is serious about romantic gestures. So Varun tells John he’s going to propose. John asks something about ‘how’. Varun looks blank and says “Um. Tell her I love her, ask her to marry me and give her a ring?” John explains that the proposal is The Most Important Moment Ever for North American Girls. As Varun says, “And then John fell asleep and I laid in bed all night panicking”.
Morning dawned over the Taj Mahal, and by 7 am the marble stones were emanating intense heat and Varun popped the question. It was sweet and loving and hilarious–an apt reflection of my beloved Varun!
For us, our proposal was delightful blend of East and West—time alone together and time with family, a Western-style ring handmade in India, a simple invitation to love in front of a monument of commitment and affection.
Of course, when we called home to tell my parents, my Dad’s response was one of warmth and enthusiasm. It’s funny, ever since then I’ve always felt a bit suspicious when my Dad and Varun talk on the phone…
(Slighthly late but better than never–Happy 5 year engagement anniversary, Varun!
Best question you ever asked me!)