Gems of Love: Where Serendipity and True Love Connect

A marriage of equal ideologies, Palak Shah and Avnish Chhabria’s this love story is one for the books. The promise of eternity shone even brighter with the thrilling chase for the perfect natural diamond.

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Palak & Avnish's diamond journey
A dreamy story etched in diamonds, where real love knows no bounds.

Sometimes, what is obvious to the world may not be to the protagonists. What’s real and rare is precious matter–carbon or in love. Palak Shah, CEO, Ekaya Benaras and Avnish Chhabria, founder of Wellbeing Nutrition on several occasions were told separately that they were just right for one another. Shah and Chhabria lived in different parts of the country, managed businesses at a leadership level and despite having common friends never crossed paths until their friends intervened.

Through a series of serendipitous incidents and some bullying on the part of their friends, the two met. And while their first date was nothing to write home about, the second one was when they truly connected–the rest as they say is history. But before they began living their ‘happily-ever-after’, there was the small question of marriage.

Chhabria had long held the dream of proposing with the perfect natural diamond ring–one that he was not willing to give up under any circumstances. Before the duo tied the knot at the Oberoi Sukhvilas, here’s what transpired.

What was it like when you first met one another?

Palak: Our friends were absolutely convinced we were meant to be together. Avnish’s best friend met me and told Avnish he was going to marry me someday, and Avnish at the time was meeting other women. One fine day in April, I was going to Bombay for a shoot, and I had two dates planned. Avnish’s friend’s wife gave me a call asking me to cancel my dates and instead meet him. Meanwhile, Avnish was flying off to Bangalore to meet another girl and she made him cancel his flight to meet me. We met at 7:30 pm and ended at 2:30 am when we were kicked out of the restaurant.

Avnish: Palak was coming to Bombay the week after again and we decided to meet again. That date ran very late, we went to Nariman point and it was a full moon night and we stared at the stars and the sea, we just spoke. That’s when it felt like, oh, there’s really something to this person, and we started dating long-distance.

Palak & Avnish's styling natural diamonds
The moment Palak and Avnish met for the very first time, they knew it was meant to be.

How did you introduce Avnish to your parents?

Palak: Over the course of time, my dad who I worked with very closely figured out that I was talking to someone, and I told him I was seeing Avnish. He showed up in Bombay during one of his business trips and insisted on meeting Avnish. We belong to a typical business family, so he didn’t really understand the idea of a start-up business and wasn’t convinced of our match, but eventually, my dad fell in love with him.

How did the proposal come about?

Palak: I really wanted to be proposed to in Paris near the Eiffel Tower and we had always talked about being with each other, but Avnish wanted to seek my dad’s permission before proposing. So, he came to Benaras, and I have a huge family. He met everyone and he went to my Grandad who approved of our match and then everyone in the family gave their approvals and it was really sweet and comical at once.

Avnish: We were planning to go to the Maldives for Palak’s birthday the week after and that’s when I decided to propose. I booked two different hotels thinking if I didn’t propose to her then we’d obviously go stay at another hotel. If I get the ring, we go to the Ritz Carlton, if not then we stay at the Hilton.

Diamonds in the love story of Palak & Avnish
Natural diamonds and true love

Avnish made his dreamy proposal to the love of his life while they were in the Maldives.

As soon as I got back from Benaras I went hunting for the diamond in diamond bourse. I called all my friends who work in the diamond trade asking for an old Victorian-style cushion cut natural diamond which is rare to come across. So, I called everyone, and they said, well there was one like you described but Tiffany & Co. has already placed an order for it. And when I went to that guy, he was like listen, this is already sold, but I’ll get you something similar. Mum and I were sitting there, and we ended up seeing about 40-50 diamonds, but my heart was set on just the one. My friend called a couple of brokers, and we greased a few palms; I was willing to pay more than the market price, just to get that gem and it finally arrived on Tuesday morning. We sent people from Bombay to Surat to get the cast made basis her sister’s size because their ring sizes were similar. It wasn’t so perfect, so I sent it back. I only got the ring at 9:30 am and we had a flight at noon, I was on the phone cancelling the Hilton reservations.

Tell us more about what happened at the surprise proposal.

Palak: My mum called to wish me on my birthday (August, 4) and she was upset I was in the Maldives with him, no sight of marriage. What is going on? I mentioned that his deal with Unilever is going on. I was coming back from Harvard in October, so we thought we would always do something around then. My phone was connected to the speakers, I didn’t realise it and Avnish heard the conversation inside. I was like, you know, mum’s just being mum, but don’t worry. We decided we would arrange for a meeting between our parents, and maybe start formalising things a bit.

Avnish: After her birthday dinner, we went for a walk to the beach where there’s this whole setup of a movie and we were watching Midnight in Paris which is her favourite movie, sipping wine. Palak was just resting her head on me, and my heart was beating out of my chest. We were walking back, and I made an excuse about having left my wallet behind. And then where the projector happened to be, there was a big ‘Will You Marry Me’ spelt out in 2000 candles. In all her nervousness she put out the wrong hand! There were no photographers, just us, it was so beautiful.

Palak: We went back and called our family and friends who were ecstatic. I remember a friend of mine pointing out how important this must have been for Avnish to have proposed during such a crucial point of his deal with Unilever. Due diligence is so rigorous sometimes marriages don’t survive and here he was whisking me off to the Maldives and chasing diamonds!

When the time came for me to propose, I knew it had to be with a vintage victorian-style cushion-cut natural diamond, engraved with “Mon Cherie” inside.

Vintage Victorian-style cushion-cut diamond proposal

Avnish proposed to Palak with a delicate natural diamond ring.

How does the diamond engagement ring
complement your style?

Palak: Avnish being the perfectionist he got the ring re-made because he wasn’t happy with the initial setting. It has ‘Mon Cherie’ engraved inside it. It’s a 3-carat clear VVS natural diamond and it’s simply perfect. I never take it off. It goes with everything, it’s not an ostentatious massive rock that you’re scared to walk around with. It’s just so beautiful and there’s so much meaning around it.

How did the wedding planning come about?

Avnish: We scoured multiple countries and hotels, but nothing felt right. We finally settled on The Oberoi Sukhvilas Spa Resort. We wanted to share this special day with a close-knit circle of friends and family, and not blow it up into another big fat Indian wedding. Our mood board was very minimal, and soulful, but we still wanted everyone to be a part of this dream that was very much coming true for us.

Palak and Avnish's wedding sealed with diamonds at Oberoi Sukhvilas
Palak and Avnish styling natural diamonds in their wedding

Palak and Avnish exchanged vows and tied the knot in 2023 at the picturesque Oberoi Sukhvilas.

How did you plan like the rest of your jewellery for your wedding?

Palak: I didn’t want to be an OTT bride. I didn’t want to buy jewellery that I would never be able to use again. My mother-in-law wanted to give me something and I asked for something smaller, that I’ll wear over and over. For both of us the idea was not to show off how much jewellery we have, or you know, how big our diamonds are. My dad’s like always told me that you’re known by your personality. She gifted me an amazing diamond necklace that I treasure. My grandmother gifted me a pair of solitaire diamond earrings that I practically never take off.

Palak and Avnish's timeless diamond selections

I found myself drawn to Diamond pieces that were something more understated yet evergreen.

Palak adorned herself with stunning natural diamond-studded necklace for her cocktail celebration.

Which qualities about your partner do you find most attractive?

Avnish: Palak’s never give up attitude, the resilience. For me it’s the most attractive thing, she will never give up no matter what. Bad day, good day, terrible day, she just will not give up on that goal.

Palak: Avnish is driven as a person but yet so loving as a human. When you see entrepreneurs reaching a certain height it’s always about work but when he comes home, there’s a detachment to work and more about being my partner. I always feel like I see a glimpse of my dad in him because of just how much he takes care of me, but also how he wants the world and he’ll make it happen.

Palak and Avnish's affinity for understated, classic diamond pieces
Just like a diamond, Palak and Avnish knew their love would last forever.

What is one piece of advice you would like to impart on marriage?

Avnish: I think we are very fortunate we both understand each other’s life. We work long hours but once we are home it’s only about us. We keep weekends to ourselves, and we travel extensively. Find a person who has common goals.

Credits: Palak Shah