The glinting stars stood as silent spectators to witness the coming together of Manini Ojha and Apurv Swarup in a glamorous ‘casa’ in Arriate, nestled in southern Spain. No wonder, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Apurv got down on his knees to produce a thoughtfully designed Princess cut ring which was to become a symbol of the love they carry for each other for years after their engagement.
Manini’s pursuit for a doctorate in Economics led her to move to the United States while Apurv started his own healthcare company in India. Periodic bouts of longing as a result of residing in different time zones urged them to meet halfway across the world while the ring became a constant companion and a reminder of the promises that were made for eternity.
How did you two meet? What was your first impression of your partner?
Manini Ojha: I was invited to a party on Apurv’s terrace by a common friend during the FIFA World Cup of 2010. We were practically neighbours and had never met despite having a fair number of common connections! I remember his affinity for gooey chocolate cake – my first memory of him is that of him sitting on the terrace alone at his own party, eating a whole chocolate cake (guffaws), during a heavy downpour while everyone scampered for cover!
Apurv Swarup: When I first met Manini, I was instantly drawn to her fun-loving personality. There’s no denying that she looked beautiful, but more importantly, the way we clicked was surprising yet comforting. Her fluent diction in Hindi made me look up to her even more. Although one shouldn’t dwell on first impressions (laughs), I knew there was an unmistakable positive vibe.
When did you realize you wanted to spend the rest of your lives together?
MO: It wasn’t a particular moment for me. I had left for the US and he was in India. But his confidence in the relationship instilled confidence in me. It was inspiring. I think it was a gradual process for me. When he proposed, I had no doubt in my mind (smiles).
AS: I was in B-School and Manini had come to visit me after having taken her qualifying exams for her PhD. That moment when she got news of her results and hugged me in celebration of having cleared the exams, the joy, the love and her sheer passion convinced me that this was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
What was long-distance marriage/relationship like?
MO: Tough initially, but we sort of fell into a system soon. After that it was quite fun, we used to travel as often as we could, meet somewhere midway in the world. Lots of video calls, sleepy conversations, days of utter frustration but all worth it in the end. Our marriage was long-distance for 3 years!
To be honest, I think marrying Apurv made things much simpler for us. We would yearn to spend more time with each other whenever I visited during summer or winter vacations. But our time together would never be enough. There were family shenanigans, people to visit, places to go to.
Also, PhD is a long commitment (thoughtfully). We always had the option of waiting till I finish my PhD. But I guess we wanted to continue to live and enjoy life together. I believe you can’t pause some things in life so that other things can happen. Life doesn’t work that way. You can’t wait and let life pass by! Once he proposed, we decided why not get married that winter.
Why do you prefer natural diamonds? Has the ring held some personal meaning to both of you?
MO: The strength and brilliance of natural diamonds make me feel indestructible (confidently). Natural diamonds have an aura; a resilience that indicates the years of pressure they have weathered. They are also versatile and tend to make a statement with anything you wear.
AS: I vividly remember Manini walking to the mandap, resplendent in sparklers. Her finger bore my diamond ring, gleaming in the sun. The sparkle was emblematic of how she brightened my life, day after day.
Do you believe that your relationship has matured with time?
MO: We believe that true love helps people brave all challenges headstrong, and shines through bleak times – like a diamond.
AS: Yes definitely, from different continents for almost 5 long years to living together, it has been quite a journey of learning and growth through some really trying times and sitting back to revisit the moments spent together. Being away from each other for long periods of time made us resilient. We challenge each other every day – motivate each other to be more productive, it keeps us going.