Anuj and Shruthi met on December 31, 2011 when Anuj’s sister, Megha, invited Shruthi to their house for a New Year’s Eve Party. Anuj, thinking he was too cool for his sister’s friends, said hi to everyone, and went to go hang out with his own friends that night. When he returned later that night, he noticed Shruthi again, and looked at his friend Akhil and said “Dude, I think that girl is cute, what do you think?” After Akhil’s encouragement, Anuj got the courage to say hi to her. Her immediate response was “Hey Megha’s brother!” Anuj couldn’t handle such dejection and walked away, thus ending their first encounter.
Jumping to a few years later (circa Spring 2013), Anuj was now a young working professional while Shruthi was a hard working student at VCU. Finally making a salary, Anuj decided to drive down to Richmond and “make it rain” on a college campus. As anticipated, Megha couldn’t wait to see her loving, favorite brother, and decided to throw what was later coined as a “MeghaRager”. There, Anuj met Shruthi again, but thought too highly of himself and assumed Shruthi and everyone else would be worshiping the ground he walked on. Shruthi, similar to the first interaction, did not acknowledge his existence. Unlike the previous time, Anuj was having too good of a time to care, and again they went their separate ways.
Fast-forward to May 2015 when Anuj’s cousin, Ayesha, was graduating from VCU. Unbeknownst to Anuj, Shruthi was also graduating at this same time. At this point, Anuj had forgotten about Shruthi and moved on to bigger and better things (or so he convinced himself). Once the post-graduation celebrations began, Anuj met Shruthi’s sister, Laya. Being two of the older people in the group, they passed the time talking about how things have changed in college since they graduated. Once again, Shruthi and Anuj interacted very little, but like a gentleman he offered his jacket to her when she was cold, which she wore all night. Anuj hoped to see her again the next day, but she was gone and Shruthi had simply left the jacket on the railing of the staircase along with his crushed hopes and dreams. A few days later they began texting each other talking about the graduation weekend and Shruthi’s post-graduation plans. Shruthi thought it was just an innocent conversation… after all he was just Megha’s older brother at the time. As the conversation continued and progressed, she found it very easy to talk to him and found herself laughing at all of his jokes. Then, she suddenly started to get the feeling that there may be a spark between the two of them.
Our next time hop will only be a few weeks later to the end of May when Shruthi and Anuj (now both interested in each other but too afraid to say it directly) met at a mutual friend, Sunna’s, graduation party. Luckily for Anuj, this party was in Anuj’s 2nd home, Diya Restaurant (contact Rahul & Ajay Arora for all your catering needs). With the confidence of familiar terrain, Anuj wasn’t nearly as nervous as Shruthi. They awkwardly said hi while also doing their best to avoid each other; as the night progressed, they knew they couldn’t keep ignoring each other and finally gathered the courage to say something. Anuj, mustering up the confidence to make the first move (obviously with his mouth full of butter chicken), used his Diya connections to impress Shruthi with a plate of her favorite dessert, gulab jamun, adding casually that he liked her. Shruthi was taken aback at first, but eventually told Anuj that she liked him as well. A few weeks later, Anuj decided to make it official by surprising Shruthi with a glass Coke bottle (her favorite) that was personalized to say, “Be my girlfriend?” Shruthi, now having been swept her off her feet twice, excitingly said “Yes!” and so it began…
Since then, their relationship has gone through a lot of tests. Those challenges eventually grew as distance started to play a significant role with Shruthi moving from Virginia to New York City, back to Virginia, then Pittsburgh, and finally settling in Philadelphia. Let’s not forget Anuj’s equal sacrifice of going from DC to Tysons Corner. But as true of the connection between Anuj and Shruthi a few (hundred) miles haven’t gotten in the way of this blossoming love. They’ve stood by each other every day, successfully facing whatever life has thrown at them, and can’t wait to embark on their next chapter together as husband and wife!
For those of you still reading this novel, the couple owes you a drink or 2 (or 7).