Bungee jumping was far down on Roshini’s list of favorite things to do. (In fact, it wasn’t even on the list!) So, as she and Vickram stood on the observation deck of the Seattle Space Needle, she was wondering if the man she had shared the last five years with really knew her at all.
The night had gone so well up until that point, she thought. They enjoyed a great filet mignon at the Metropolitan Grill and were taking a stroll afterward when he surprised her with tickets to the most recognized landmark in Seattle. Now Roshini doesn’t like heights, but she does like Vickram, so in the elevator she went.
As they traveled up to the deck of this 605 foot symbol of Seattle, Roshini’s mind flooded with thoughts about her relationship with Vickram and the hurdles they had overcome to be together in the United States. (It was certainly better than thinking about the view of the city from dizzying heights!)
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE CHARMINAR…
It all started at the Google offices in India in 2011. Roshini and a group of colleagues were sitting around the lunch table griping about the mysterious developer who had created a new system for tracking metrics. Although the system was a huge success, it made their jobs much more difficult, and, as they were verbally wishing him a bit of “ill will,” a voice at the end of the table spoke up. “I’m him… I’m the guy you’re talking about.”
Well, as you can imagine the air got sucked out of that room pretty fast. Roshini was undaunted, however, and she tried to engage Vickram in a conversation. As was his nature, Vickram chose to use as few words as possible to respond. (Perhaps that was a tactic learned through years in military school, or his time in the army? Perhaps he was shy? Or, just perhaps, he was none too happy that she had been bad-mouthing him a few minutes earlier?) Whatever the answer, Vickram’s monosyllabic responses were just the challenge Roshini liked.
Motorcycles, Music, and Masala Dosa
Time passed and, slowly but surely, Roshini found ways to converse with Vickram. She was even clever enough to ask him for dating advice so she could get to know him better! Eventually, they turned from friends into “more than friends,” as the pair spent their time together sharing a mutual love of delicious food and great music.
Roshini also supported Vickram’s love of motorcycles, and a year into the relationship he purchased his first bike. From that moment forward he set his sights on racing, and it was this passion that would eventually change the course of their relationship forever.
Cut to December 2015, on a BART train where yours truly is crammed in commuter congestion. As I attempt to take up as little space as possible, I notice a “manspreader” in the two seats reserved for the handicapped. Then, as the doors are about to close, a handsome young man breaks through the crowd and plops himself down on the semi-empty handicapped seat, accidentally touching the leg of the manspreader. “Hey, what do you think your doing?” the manspreader says angrily to his new seatmate, “you better watch yourself!” The handsome man pulls a crutch closer to his body and apologizes gracefully, “I’m partially blind in one eye and I didn’t see you,” he says through the din. It was painful to witness.
My mind started racing. What should I do? Should I call out the offender for his behavior? I wanted this young man to know that I felt for him, so I tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I’m sorry about that,” as I pointed to the inhumane human sitting next to him.
Well, I’m pretty sure that was at the Powell Street station, because by the time we arrived at El Cerrito I had heard all about Vickram’s career move to the United States and the motorcycle accident that had initially left him with over 40% vision loss, many broken bones, and serious brain damage. When I told him what I did for a living he looked quite surprised, and then smiled. It was fate, he said, as he was planning to propose to his girlfriend sometime in the next year. He asked for my card and said he’d call when it was time to create her ring. Then the train stopped and we went our separate ways.
Kismet in Action
Months passed and periodically I would think about Vickram and wonder how he was doing. Was the surgery he had after we met a success? Was Roshini able to get her Visa and permanently join him in the United States? Did his mom forgive him for finding out that he had a girlfriend of four years when she caught Roshini spoon-feeding him in the hospital? I found out this, and more, when my phone rang about six months later. “Do you remember me?” he asked. “Remember you? How could I forget you?!,” I responded. And within the week we began to plot out Roshini’s dream ring.
To Infinity and Beyond!
And now we return to 2016 and the Seattle Space Needle, where Vickram had said he was going to jump. Roshini knew he was a thrill seeker, and she was willing to watch him, but when he asked her to join in it was just too much to take. The look of alarm on her face necessitated an explanation, and he assured her it was only a metaphor. He took out the ring and asked if she would leap with him into the unknown and accept him as her husband. She said, “YES!” and extended her left hand (only to realize their bag of leftovers was still in it). Then they both laughed knowingly at themselves, each other, and the mystery of life as they had so many times before.
And THAT, my friends, is how Vickram met Roshini (and I met Vickram).