Oct 31, 2012:
It’s exactly 3 years today since my niece Divya got married to Vipin. I have learned about Vipin first time on April 16, 2009 around 9PM. I was in Chicago on business on that day, when my elder brother Seenu called me and said Divya is in love with someone who is currently in US and his name is Vipin Reddy. It was quite a baffling call to me, and I haven’t seen that coming. Below blog traces events from that night to one of amazing wedding events (Divya’s wedding to Vipin) that I ever witnessed in my life. As I contemplated to write Divya and Vipin’s story as I saw it, I had asked Divya to tell me in detail how she met Vipin and complete insight into their love story. Divya shared complete story to me over the last few weeks. I have put in this blog in Divya’s own words, never before told story of her love story (be sure to scroll down in the blog, if you are not reading full story) and what Vipin has to say for the first time. I found it to be an amazing story. Divya and Vipin just exchanged few glances for the first time during a French class in 2004 in Hyderabad. Their friendship and bond for each other strengthened over the period of next 5 years, completely over the emails & phone calls, as Vipin was in US & Canada, and Divya was in India/Australia.
Chicago, April 16, 2009, 10PM EST:
I received a call from my brother (Seenu) saying, “Divya met someone from US, and says she will not marry anyone else other than him”. It was little shocking news for me, given the reasonably conservative family of ours. I was afraid to even think about what’s going on in Seenu’s mind, and specially my Dad and Mom’s mindset. Divya is the first granddaughter (and Barbie Girl) of the Chintala clan. So I am well aware that my dad was looking for an ultra grand ‘daughter’ first wedding in the family, and have her wed to someone from one of the well-known families within the community
During that time, I was in Chicago on a business trip for 3 weeks and was scheduled to return to Hyderabad on the very next day via late evening flight from Ohare (ORD) airport. Seenu asked me to meet Vipin Reddy, the person Divya insisted on marrying. Seenu wanted me to speak to Vipin so that he and my Dad (and extended clan) can take an informed decision on GO / NO GO. So next day, I just had 8 business hours to see Vipin before taking the next flight back home to Hyderabad.
My brother abandoned his college prematurely to join the family textile business in order to support my Dad. My Dad and my brother played a key role in me completing my Masters in US by fully funding my education, without having me to work at any gas stations or in a dorm canteen or in the campus (like many of my friends in US did). So, I am always eager to do something for them, whenever they seek my support, which rarely they do. So this was an opportunity for me to extend my help to both of them.
So, I instantly booked a ticket on NorthWest Airlines to meet Vipin at his home in Detroit. As any eager techie would do, I instantly Googled Vipin and searched entire net for his photo or some references. I just found 2 references, which gave his partial address, and a membership forum that he was registered in. Divya called me later in the night and told me that Vipin is a certified PT (Physical Therapist). Until a month later, I did not realize PT is a lucrative profession (and wondered why many Desi’s didn’t jump the PT bandwagon). Divya shared a photograph of Vipin (shown below) to the family during the process.
I took the morning flight to Detroit. Vipin came to DTW airport to pick me up. He met me outside the airport, and instantly bowed and touched my feet. A young kid doing traditional bowing and taking blessings from someone not so very old is a rare phenomenon even in India. I was completely startled and also wondered if he was trying to flatter me. But later I did learn that it is in Vipin’s DNA to give utmost respect to elders. I found him to be quite charming and in Radhika’s language, felt ‘positive’ vibrations from him at the instance I met him. He spoke in proper and clear Telugu as he drove me to his home
I spent an hour at his house (he was staying at friend’s house) while he made Dosa for me. As Vipin was serving breakfast for me, he narrated his LOVE for Divya, and all that he would do to take care of her. He gave an elaborate career plan for Divya. He also softly challenged what does he lack from our own “undocumented” wish list of attributes of an ideal husband for Divya. According to me he was good looking, well educated, earning rock solid, super disciplined, comes from a wealthy family, his dad and his siblings were in senior Police cadre, etc. Only point in the contest was that he is from a Reddy family and we are not. This one word called ‘caste’ was holding us back from saying a yes to him.
Vipin then asked me softly, is there such a difference from being a Reddy or a Vysya. Coincidently he was a vegetarian too. Frankly, I did not find any concern to flag my parents, my brother and/or Divya. I was thinking in my mind, though LOVE IS BLIND, Divya was both lucky and smart in finding her prince charming, and someone who is likely to be accepted by everyone in the family
Later Vipin took me to nearby mall, where he shopped expensive gifts for Divya to send them along with me. I have learned that buying gifts for his loved ones is his additional quality. I am sure; Divya will not have any problem with this fine habit. He got most of the gifts from his and Divya’s favorite brands Ralph Lauren & Abercrombie and Fitch. While he was shopping, I sneaked out and started tweeting tidbits to my family in India (who were eagerly waiting for my verdict) and confirmed to them “Vipin is cool, nothing to worry”.
The Photographer in me somehow that day did not compel to take photos of my interactions with Vipin. I knew that Divya hasn’t seen him in years, and most of their love is CYBER LOVE. Divya told me that she met him in French Class over a period of few months, and then she went to Australia for her MBA, while Vipin went to Canada for completing PT. After which, she said most of their love was via emails and phone calls.
I flew back to Chicago at 5PM and started to Hyderabad the same evening. All my folks in Hyderabad were eagerly waiting for my in-depth verdict. I did not have a single concern to flash, other than the possible cultural difference between the family backgrounds (if any at all). I was little worried that my sign-off will cause me problem if something will not work out later. But as always I was determined to give unbiased opinion
Divya was in a tough situation for next several weeks, answering tough questions from extended family. Everyone was upset with her, saying that she shattered her parents and grand parents’ plans and put them in a situation where they will be uncomfortable in their ecosystem. I was also one of them but rather in a soft way asked her “why” all this trouble. There were many in the family questioning her upbringing, not knowing that her mom and Dad did pretty well in making her open minded and well disciplined. It was easy for everyone to assume and question several aspects of her decision without understanding their love for each other.
Divya was stubborn and adamant about the issue and said, “We will wait until everyone decides. We are not in a hurry. We both will stay single until everyone agrees”. Finally Divya won her stance and everyone decided to move one step ahead. My parents, Seenu and Vadina met Vipin’s parents. It was comforting to find that they were well educated, connected, funded, respected, and grounded (which is not too easy to find these days). Both families liked each other. Given that they are from police background, they must have done their background research on Chintala clan too.
It was still a mystery to me and many others, on How Divya and Vipin found each other and details of their love story. I didn’t know the entire story until few days ago, till I asked Divya to tell me her story while I interview her on the phone or send it offline. Before I had a chance to talk to her in details, she wrote a real heart-warming LOVE STORY and asked me to use the data points from that. As it was so well written, I really could not edit it and weave my blog into her story. So, I have decided to leave it as it is and have you (the reader) read her story in her own words. It is difficult not to smile or have a tear in the eye as you read the story of her love. Look at her write-up at the end of this blog
Vipin returned to India after few months, and here is the scene from the time he landed. Vipin instantly connected with everyone. Vipin along with his family came to our house after a week to formalize the wedding plan. See the cute glimpses when Vipin and Divya saw each after their online love.
Then it was time for the engagement, all the chintala kids (like I said in the previous blog, there are about a dozen) started preparing for dance sequence that they planned for the engagement. Not many of us in the family knew what exactly they were up to. They were preparing from a couple of weeks ahead of the engagement in my Dad’s house, creating a lot of background noise to everyone’s ire. But everyone later realized it was all worth it, after they saw their cool performance on D-Day.
Just see below photos and notice how happy everyone was and it also shows the overwhelming and wholehearted support that they were able to get. I would say that it is result of pure love that they have exhibited. It is quite rare to see the Bride and the Groom smiling so much during the entire process of Pre-Wedding and Wedding. You can easily understand from the pictures that it was two friends who are deeply and madly in love and happily getting married.
My brother spent a fortune for the wedding or seemed as if he did. I wondered if they ever tallied what was spent! Wedding was done in the open-air environment. They have redesigned the entire layout of the wedding area. Best of the breed vendors were brought in from every nook and corner of the country. Every small detail was done with utmost care. There was a LIVE soft symphony. The whole decoration was in bright gold with a blend of pretty flowers, it was so beautiful and breathtaking. The decoration seemed even more beautiful under the moon light and the dark sky. All of us were dressed in our best outfits in the most traditional way possible and were very excited. The groom was welcomed with a band of musicians and flowers, who was dressed royally in cream and gold attire and rode on a horse till the Pelli Mandapam and the bride was wearing a designer saree which was red and gold and was beautifully draped which made her look like a princess. She was carried till the Pelli Mandapam on a palanquin just like in the old en days. There were more than 100 items on the Dinner menu. Famous Laxmandosa was called for serving LIVE DOSAs. Dadu’s delivered sweets. Pan wala came from Jaipur. Flowers came from around the world. Wedding started at 7 30 PM. Last guest left the stage at 2am in the night. There were over 5000 guests from around the country (if you include me and few other cousins and friends, it’s around the world). We had a round table feast at 2:30AM with our close family. Each of us was pampered with samples of all the specialties cooked on that day. At the end of the night our joy turned to tears, as Divya left with Vipin.
It was definitely once in a lifetime event for Vipin, Divya, and the entire family. If there is one thing that I have learned from my brother and vadina is that, it is unconditional love & love bestowed on their kids. Once again silent hero behind the event is my Dad, who is the guiding light and inspiration force behind the entire clan.
I wish Divya and Vipin a long and happy married life 🙂
See below for Divya’s narration of how she met her prince charming, followed by what Vipin has to say about Divya and Chintala clan:
How I met my prince charming – Divya Chintala
It is very hard to define as to how and when we met the first time. I should say that I first heard his name when I used to attend the French classes. He was one of the many students in the class, who always used to hang around with his gang of friends and occupied the last row. On the contrary, I used to be a very sincere student occupying the seat in the first row J ha ha..That’s the truth 😉
I used to be very reserved and wasn’t so keen to know anyone in that gang of guys. Until one day when we had to attend the French show. Ok so this was not the day when I met Vipin, so I think u will get an idea of how things took place if I told u what happened in the class.
First week: Every single day, each one of us was assigned a topic and was asked to speak in French. So I exactly remember one day when the lecturer asked us to talk about all the countries that we have been to, I spoke a little about Malaysia and Singapore and once I finished all the other mates were talking about their experiences, and the last one to present was Vipin as he used to sit in the last row, and that was the moment when I actually saw his face (a quick glance)…the first and the last time after a week of class, as he left to Canada during the third week of class. I never actually looked at him or never got a chance to speak to him when in class.
3rd week of class- As usual we were given a topic and were asked to talk, then the lecturer noticed that Vipin was not in class and asked his friends as to where he was…and they said that he left to Canada two days ago. So it was just like another random guy from class who left to Canada, did not affect me much as I dint know him at all, and could vaguely remember his face
And the class continued as usual for the next 1.5 months
Last week of class- Now this is the big day…all of us in the class had to attend a French play at hari-hara kala Bhavan / I guess that is the one…so we were asked to travel in groups as it is easy to track us…and I had to join this “gang of guys (minus Vipin)”, you know whom I am referring to right…vipin’s friends…that was the first time I ever spoke to them..So after the show finished, we all went to Secunderabad club for dinner….and we had random conversations about all the random topics…sharing our contact info getting to know each other..and I actually realized that they are very well behaved and friendly …..Suddenly this guy from the gang asks me this:
Guy: “Divya will you mind if I ask you something…”
Guy: you know Vipin right?
I: yeah I think..he was in your group right…
Guy: ya but now he is in Canada
I: ya I heard that in class
Guy: ya Vipin was asking if it is ok to get your number..he wanna be friends
I: ya ok..but he is in Canada right
Guy: ya but still…
So I gave him my number…
We all became very good friends and since that was the last day of the class, we used to meet once in a while during the French shows…
The next day, I received a call from Vipin. It was the first time that we spoke to each other and I was very surprised to receive his call…from a long distance. Our first conversation was very formal, Introducing ourselves, and family. The duration of his calls only lasted 5 minutes each and every time for the first few months as he used to be busy working or studying and gradually the durations were normal depending on the conversations…
We became very good friends and in fact best friends as we used to help each other out to deal with any issues that we had….he used to inspire me a lot..he was very hard working, very smart and caring. We liked each other as friends until one fine day,
Jan 2007…After 3 years
After exactly 3 years, in 2007, Vipin visited India for a period of 2 weeks and when he told me that he was coming, we were very thrilled to meet each other as we never met in person. He called me around 1 am that he landed in Hyderabad and we planned to meet the following morning at the French class as we felt comfortable meeting at a familiar place. I still remember the way I felt when I first saw him in person…even though I knew him since the last 3 years…just through the conversations though….I felt as if it was somebody I did not know at all. I kept staring at him and he used to ask ‘why are u staring at me?’ …I just could not stop staring at him…he was very cute for the matter of fact, but then it was ..I don’t know hard to define the feeling I guess…I never had such an experience where I spoke to a person for 3 long years, who in fact becomes my best friend and did not know how he looks in person. We shared each other’s pictures in emails but never through a webcam or in person.
During those 2 weeks, we used to hang around a lot with all our friends and did not know how those 2 weeks passed by. The day before he was leaving, he invited me for dinner at 7 pm at ‘our place’ (it is one of his friend’s restaurant). ‘Our place’ is supposed to be famous for the candle light dinners in those days…so when I went there..the table was decorated with some champagne and roses and obviously candles. We sat down for dinner and were conversing on different topics, about his plans and my plans…etc and when I asked him that when his next trip to India was…he said that he was not sure…so during a random conversation…he asked me if I like him and if I wanted to be his girlfriend and he said that he loves me….i was very surprised and did not know what to say…I said that even I like him…but both of us were not sure that how the relationship would actually be because he was leaving to Canada and I had plans to study in Australia….so we decided on giving us a chance…
After the dinner we left seeing each other for the last time. He called me the next morning from the airport to say that he was leaving….
My parents knew all my friends, boys and girls…and always trusted me with whatever I asked for…and even I never forgot to stay in my limits…my sisters and brother also knew all my friends and in fact they also spoke to vipin couple of times…and he always used to ask them if they wanted anything from Canada…as u already know..he loves buying gifts for everyone…
So from the day he left…he used to call from Canada everyday to see how I was and he knew that I was trying to convince everyone at home to allow me to study in Australia…he used to support me a lot and whenever I used to cry saying that I am not able to convince my family…the only thing he used to say was that “your parents know ur capability and you should convince them that u are good enough to take care of ur self, know ur limits, aim for what u want, be strong and u will achieve what u want to achieve”…I always used to tell mom that I want a husband who has all the qualities that my dad has….and fortunately I found all those qualities in Vipin…mom used to always say that wish for everything except the short temper that your dad has..he he 🙂…and I used to laugh on that…but I should say that god did not want to take me away from my dad as I gradually found that Vipin is exactly like dad…”even with the short temper” he he 🙂…I have two best guys in my life, exactly alike, and a lot of short temper..and as usual I know that I am the only one who can handle them…he he 🙂
I miss dad and tata a lot..i can’t believe it has been an year already since my last visit to India
Ok so back to the story…Vipin left to Canada in Feb 2007( after 2 weeks) and I left to Australia in July 2007, and Vipin moved to USA in July 2007….we used to call each other often.. we know that we love each other but were not so sure of how things would turn and obviously did not decide on marriage as we wanted to reach our goals first… Vipin passed his Physical Therapy license exam during the same month that I graduated…in December 2008…he asked me if I wanted to marry him on the day of my graduation and I said yes…but we were very scared to face our families…
I was trying for a chance to tell this to dad once I came back from Australia but was very scared. I finally told him after 4 months in April, once my internship was approved. I waited until my internship was confirmed as I knew that there would be a lot of issues at home and it will be easy for me to divert myself and not get depressed if I was working on something else.
I and Vipin used to discuss a lot as to how to face our parents, but he was somehow sure that it was not going to be a lot of problem to convince mamayya and attamma, but he was majorly worried about all the people in our house, especially tata, dad and mom. We were hoping to convince everyone in approx. 1-2 yrs.…knowing the mindsets at home…and as I was the eldest daughter. And all that…
So on the night of march 31st…we finally decided to break the news…he said that he would tell his parents about it in the next two days and I told him that I would tell my parents the following morning….
April 1st 2009…approx. 9 am….my dad was sitting on his bed and was reading the morning news as usual…I took my laptop went up to him…opened the pictures of Vipin and started showing it to him…dad was calmly looking at the pictures and asked me who it was…so
I told him..” I told you right…Vipin, my friend from Canada…”
So dad said…”ok”
I: he is my boyfriend, did u like him
Dad: “what does he do, where does he live, what about his family, what do they do?”
I told him all the answers to the above questions and he says “ok”. So I asked him..”ok what”….he said ‘u just told me right…let me think about it, I am busy now’…I said ok….and I did not tell my mom yet..
I waited for his response for the next 4 days and he acted just normal as if I did not tell him anything at all….and after 3 days on April 4th, I went up to him and asked “ what happened to the question I asked u” what do u think about it” he said “what question, what r u saying” and then I said that “ I told u right about Vipin…I like him”
Dad said…u told me on April 1st I thought u were kidding…and that is how it all started….i then told my mom…she was very scared. The same day I told tata and nanamma…they were very shocked…and then all of u knew about it….
I was surprised with the fact that even with that issue going on….my parents never restricted me…they are so open minded and they knew I would not cross my limits….they had every right to question me and stop me from taking a wrong step and that was the only reason why I explained the same things over and over again for the next twenty days to each and everyone who questioned me…
When I think about it…I still can’t imagine how I got that courage to stand up to my decision (and never actually cried even once)..which affects my entire life…and now after 3 years of successful marriage, i am very sure that my decision was right…
The big day when my proposal was accepted….so it was regular day with continued debate…discussion went on all day and night…mom did not want to take any decision and completely left it to dad and tata….i somehow felt that dad and mom liked Vipin but were obviously not sure about anything that was going to happen…and I know that all parents go through the same thing….
That night of April 28rd… one of my mamas came to see me and he was trying to convince me that my decision was wrong..it was a long night…I think I lost my patience that day…I quit the ongoing discussion, ran upstairs to my room and started crying so badly…pinky was shocked to see me crying.. and was asking me to calm down…tata came running upstairs and was holding me and was trying to console me. Vipin was calling at the same time…pinky answered his call and told me that he wanted to talk and told him that I was crying….
I remember that I cried for quite a long time, taking out all my frustration and pain….tata was still holding me in his arms…and he said that,
“endukammaedusthunnavu…nenuunnanukada..maku bhayam avuthundikada ee decision thesukovali ante….Inni rojulu aedavaledu ippuduendukku ela edustunnavu…nuvvuedusthe mana intiki manchidikadu…nenu ninnu ila chudalenu….nenu chestanu nee pelli ok na…nenu seenu ku cheptha…nenu chesta nee pelli…and that took the phone from pinky and spoke to Vipin…the very first time and told him not to worry….”
The next morning….tata spoke to dad..he asked him to put an end to the discussion, speak to vipin’s parents and see how to go about it…
And spoke to Vipin….spoke to vipin’s parents, our family went to their house and invited them to see me…official pelli chupulu on may 5th….and u know from there on…
Coming to Vipin’s family….he sent them my picture (displayed below) and told them that he wants to marry me….they did not say anything but did not say a yes as well…they told him that they will look at the picture, think about it..and let him know….they gave their decision in a week saying yes…..but told him that, “first it is important that divya’s family is ok with the marriage…if they say yes then we do not have a problem, but do not create a problem for them..let them take their time…if they say yes well and good..but u should be able to handle a no from them as well. Without their parents acceptance we will not allow you to marry her in any circumstances.”
Before our marriage I did not have an opportunity to get to know my in-laws, but gradually as time passed and I started to know them, I realized that they were the best in-laws one could ever have. They treat me and support me not as their in law, but as their daughter. For the matter of fact, it is not only me that they consider as a part of their family and life, but they even consider my entire family as theirs. Whenever they call up Vipin, the first thing they ask is how is divya…take care of her…let her study and build her career…do not obstruct her from any goals that she has…and so on…they are always worried about me and call me each and everyday to ask me how I am doing and if I am able to manage everything fine or if I needed any help…it is never ending if I keep talking about them. They are the best parents and in-laws. I love them…
When I used to be in India for 6 long months leaving Vipin alone in US, they never raised any issues which involved “why are u leaving Vipin alone there and staying here for so long..it will be difficult for him to manage everything and all that…” instead, they used to sympathize with me saying that “ if you have to extend your stay don’t worry about Vipin, we will tell him if he does not allow you to stay in India and study…your career is important, Vipin will manage for a while…it is ok…don’t worry…u are a very hard worker, don’t drift away from your goals…and all that” …I should say that…they are very supportive and kind….have you heard of any daughter-in-law sleeping with their mother-in-law everyday while the father-in-law sleeps outside because the husband was away.. …they never let me sleep alone upstairs. They always asked me to come and sleep in their room..so attamma used to sleep beside me…mamayya used to sleep outside for all the days that I used to stay there….so sweet right !!
And she never used to wake me up in the morning to help her in the kitchen, but to be on time for the class…made me breakfast, pack lunch…pack for phani if I was going home…and mamayya used to get my favorite snacks and biryani every single day for me…cool kada…I can keep talking all day long if I have to talk about them.
Ok….So back to the events…you already know everything that happened from the day our proposal was accepted…and the next time I saw him was during our marriage after 3 long years in September 2009.
Finally I just want to say that, who ever I am today I owe to it my parents and especially tata….i love them…I cannot believe that I am stuck here when tata actually needs me…I miss him
I would like to convey this message to my grand-parents and parents: Tata, Dad and Mom:
My guide in every step of my Life
“Now that I’m older, I have a better idea of everything you did for me when I was growing up. You worked so hard to make sure I was happy and healthy and had everything I needed…I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you enough for all you’ve done for me and for believing in me, but, today and always, please know how truly grateful I am… and it is now my turn to take care of you, love you and give you all that I can. I truly, madly, deeply Love u all….”
Vipin sharing his feeling for the first time.
I always believed that I am the luckiest guy alive and my story proves it because of the wonderful parents I got from both sides. Even though I was very shy to say my version of the story to sai mamayya because I always had a sense of guilt in me for making them agree to love marriage outside their community. No matter how much I say about my Chintala family right from tata to youngest kid in the family will be less. All they did from day one was showering me with love, love, love and love. I can bet on the fact that I was and am being loved like crazy by all the members. If I talk about each one of the family it will be never ending and I won’t be doing any justice to the amount of support and love they have bestowed upon me. I have never seen a attamma and mamyya be so caring and loving as mine are. I consider mamayya my best friend after Divya because he is the person who no matter what from day one is like a pillar of rock behind me. No matter what happens in my life mamayya is always be there for us and that gives us all the courage we need. Divya always says that I am exactly like mamayya, but I can say now and in future that I can never be half the person he is and he will always be a true inspiration like my dad and a guiding force for the rest of our lives. Coming to Attamma, I always feel that she lives next door to us here in Michigan because she calls me and Divya everyday to make sure we are alright and if we are eating on time and to be honest I never realized that they live thousands of miles away from us because of the love they share with us each and every minute.
Coming to Sai mamayya, he is a true inspiration to me as well as the sole person responsible for my lifelong happiness. As It was mentioned in the blog, he was the first Chintala family to see me and talk to me and I would always be grateful to him for the input he gave to the family which ultimately resulted in wedding of two best friends, who never thought that they would spend the rest of their life in pure happiness. oh god this blog could be never ending ,but I would like to mention other family members like Tata, Amamma, Ramesh mamayya , Suresh mamayya, Sampath uncle and Padma aunty and both attammas who always treated me as their son and I never felt as a son in law in there company.
Coming to my happiness, one sentence – the best thing ever happened to me is Divya. She is not only my happiness but also my life. She was always by my side, from the time I had 4 dollars in my account, yeah seriously 4 dollars and till now she never left my side. Like any guy I have quite a few shortcomings which she not only bore with a smile but never complained about any of them. I had realized what unconditional love is from divya and I could not ask god for any better person than her in my life.
This is first time that I am actually writing about how I feel about my family. To be honest I am not a person who would like to put feelings on a paper so this blog is like a virgin territory to me. I apologize for any shortcomings.