It's kind of a long one..so buckle up.
We come from two very different, very far-apart worlds. I’m a fashion blogger & CEO of an E-commerce brand Style Fiesta, born and brought up in Mumbai, India and Shailin’s a diamond merchant from Belgium, currently living between Belgium and India. Since Shailin has been using Mumbai only as a pitstop for frequent work and holiday, we've never really had the chance to be in the same city for a concrete stretch of time.
December 2011 - March 2012
We first got to know off each other through a random introduction (at this time, Shailin was studying at the University of Nottingham) and a couple of common friends and as unexpected encounters would have it, we had only seen each other once, for 15 minutes, before we fell in love over the phone over the span of 3 months. He called, I called, and looks like we never stopped calling each other. It just seemed so easy and effortless to be around him. On text ofcourse ;)
18th April 2012
As destiny would naturally have it written, I was scheduled to begin my fashion courses in London in April and on the very first day that I reached my favorite city in the world, Shailin flew in from Belgium to meet me. He came over to my apartment (he did all the dirty work in helping me find and book this apartment) to meet me for the very first time after having spent sleepless nights with each other over the phone. I was nervous as hell. What if he didn't turn out the way I had envisioned? Or worse, what if I didn't fit everything he expected me to be? In these 3 months, Skype had naturally played a pivotal role, but there's a magnanimous difference between a 13inch screen ad a 6ft life-sized human that made me go weak in my knees. Once he saw my apartment and was satisfied that everything was set up just right for when I would be living alone, we stepped down to go for a little walk, after which he was meant to go over to his friends and we were lined up to meet later for dinner. Little did I know about the plans he had secretly lined up. I walked up to my apartment hoping to catch up on some work for my classes and when I walked in..what do I find on my bed? A beautiful orange dress with a note that said 'Wear this & be ready in 15 Minutes, I’m taking you somewhere special'. I was speechless – it was like a story straight out of a romantic novel. While we had stepped down for our walk, he had one of his friends sneak into my flat and drop a surprise on my bed. Lets clear out any arising creepiness here - Shailin had spoken to my landlord (he knew him since the time of the apartment booking), let him in on his plans and procured a set of spare keys to set up this little jig.
I rushed into my dress and stepped down. The cab was waiting, with him in it, of course, and next thing I knew, we were driving all over London. I won't even deny begging him to let me in on the surprise, followed by a guessing game, which he obviously refused to give into. Suddenly, I saw a glimpse of the London Eye peeking out at me from the distance, and when I turned and looked at the slowly spreading smile on his face, I knew this was our destination. Shailin had booked our tickets a while ago and as I stepped out of the cab, he led me onto a gorgeous glass bubble. 15 minutes of the most spectacular views of London later, we were on top of the wheel, overlooking the entire city, and he held my hands and asked me to be his girlfriend.
I thought I was lucky, but really, that was just the beginning.
We were officially dating, it was a long-distance relationship so as expected, we had more than our share of bad days, but more importantly, we both knew from within that we wanted to make this work. We spoke everyday despite the woes of time difference and visited each other as often as we could. We didn’t see each other very often in these three and a half years but when we did, I’ve honestly never known a happier feeling.
25th October 2015
Shailin has been working in Surat for a couple of years after completing University and he was visiting his family and me in Mumbai one weekend. We were out with our friends on Saturday night and he told me he would be taking me out for lunch the next day. We went to a beautiful Japanese restaurant for an intimate lunch, following which I was expecting to run some errands and call it a day. All throughout our main course he was complaining about a stomach ache and as we were finishing off with desert he said, 'Why don’t we go for a walk after lunch…I’ll probably feel better.' I laughed it off because there was really not a chance in hell I was going to be walking under the glaring sun at 3pm in the afternoon. Mind you, this is October we're speaking of. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) he asked his driver to take us to Marine Drive and as the car halted and expected us to climb out, I, naturally, refused to get off in this heat. 10 mins of mindless persuasion later, I finally stepped out on the condition that we would walk only a very short distance.
We were strolling for about 5 minutes and as expected, I couldn’t stop complaining (although to be honest, it really wasn’t that hot at all) and a caricature artist approached us and asked if we would like him to sketch us. Knowing me and the collector of all things ‘love’ that I blatantly am, he knew I could never say no to this genre of request. On a usual basis in-fact I would have to convince him to sit through the long drawn minutes of having someone draw us, but this time he seemed rather ready so I was all ready to jump in at this chance. We sat on the seaside while we were being ‘sketched’ and the naive Instagrammer in me even managed to click a quick shoefie. The artist(?) claimed he was done and asked me to come see what he had painted of us. I looked at the paper he was holding and it had a beautiful painting of the London Eye and a boy kneeling with a ring in his hand in front of a girl. At the same second that I looked at the painting, a violinist and guitarist started playing Cheerleader by OMI (our song) two steps away from me. I turned to look at the road and there were 6 cars with windows rolled down and phones hanging out with live Snapchats. I turned towards Shailin and he was down on his knees, holding the most beautiful ring I had ever seen, asking me to spend the rest of my life with him.
He recreated the moment our love story began. Right from London’s biggest landmark to Mumbai’s monumental seaside walk. I loved that when I arrived at Marine Drive, the entire scene was set but it all came alive at that one precise moment. For us.
My engagement ring has an inscription that says - '18/04/2012 TO ∞'
My engagement ring has an inscription that says - '18/04/2012 TO ∞'
I had absolutely no idea about the photographer until I saw him almost 10 minutes after I was done being overwhelmed. But thank God I decided to dress up for lunch.
A week later, there was a small Roka ceremony held between both the families which I hope you attended through my #MissSFVirtualEngagement on my Snapchat and Insta accounts. Don't forget to follow #ShailinMasoom for more of US :)
The first time I 'officially/publicily' narrated this story was to WedMeGood which you can read here.