A few nights ago, I was hanging out with some of the men who lived in my house this semester and one of them asked me how Rahul and I met.
“At a bar,” is my initial response, because it sounds humorous and I’m always looking for a laugh. But it also leaves the other party wanting to hear more, and I have plenty more to tell from the story.
I’ve shared the story of Rahul and I meeting countless times—even in my dreams—and it never tires me. I love sharing the story of how we met, and each time it reminds me more and more how lucky I am to have him in my life.
I usually get asked how we met after the realization sinks in for the other person that Rahul and I live on different continents. I’ve been asked:
“Did you meet online?”
“Did you meet while one of you was traveling?”
“Did you meet online?”
Nope. We really did meet in a bar.
In July of 2009, I was about to move to Missouri, so my girlfriends and I had one last night “out on the town.” A few of us went to dinner, and then even more of us went to a bar downtown to celebrate the many memories we had created in college and my imminent move to Cape G.
Here’s where it gets pretty amazing. A lot of things had to happen that night for us to meet, which kind of makes me believe in fate.
Rahul was preparing to move to India and decided to meet some of his friends at the same bar on the same night. He has later said that he didn’t initially plan to go out that night, but I know we’re both glad that he did.
Also out that night was one of my sorority sisters, Leslie, who just so happened to be engaged to one of Rahul’s fraternity brothers.
Yes, Rahul and I went to college in the same town and had never met up until now. And my town is not that big!
Naturally, Leslie hung out with my group of girls for part of the night because we had all gone to college together. At some point, she told me there was someone she wanted to meet.
That someone was Rahul.
I later found out they had met for the first time that night as well, so Leslie must have seen something in Rahul that made her think of me. I don’t know what it was, but either way, she nailed it.
So, a few minutes later, she introduced us and we shook hands. When he told me he was about to move to India, my response was “You’re f***ing kidding me” because at the time, I was already fascinated by India.
We ended up not talking for that long—and I don’t really remember everything we talked about, even though I do remember what both of us were wearing—because my friends were ready to leave. As I walked away, Leslie asked me what I thought and if I wanted her to give him my number.
I took a leap and said yes. It turned out to be a good leap, because that same night, he texted me.
Even though we didn’t see each other again before he moved—I stupidly backed out on the first date we had arranged because I sometimes make stupid decisions when I’m nervous—we started texting each other around a month later. Pretty soon, we were texting each other a lot. It got to the point that I waited, anxiously, for his responses or for him to wake up and text me back for something I had texted him while he was sleeping (our 10½-9½ hour time difference has us sleeping at opposite times of the day). We started sharing a lot: from favorite movies, to humorous things we had encountered that day, to personal favorites, to personal facts.
So, when I found out he was visiting America again that October, I made the 2-hour drive home for us to finally go on a date together. It was amazing how we instantly clicked the moment he picked me up; it felt like talking to an old friend. It wasn’t the typical nerve-wracking first date. It was fun, and natural, and right.
We ultimately didn’t start dating until about a year later, when he visited America the next Fall (2010) and we realized, after a few dates, hang-outs, and a 5k I convinced him to run with me, that we were perfect for each other.
Well, I should say I realized. Rahul knew all along, and, like the amazing person that he is, was still there for me when I finally realized it too.
There’s a lot of painful and sad stuff that happened in the year between our first date and when we started dating that I don’t typically like to revisit. I am at fault for this. All I know is that the summer before we started dating, I heard “Fireflies” when I was out one night and instantly missed Rahul. This song had been popular when he had visited the Fall before and always reminded me of him. But, that particular time, it made my heart ache and I knew I needed to talk to him again. So, remembering how successful texting had been in building our relationship the year before, I texted him again.
We started texting a lot.
He visited in late August/early September 2010 and we went on another date, to the same place we had been on our very first date. We then later went to the same bar we had gone to on our first date, which also happens to be where we met.
I think subconsciously I was trying to recreate our first date. But really, this wasn’t needed. After we started talking, it was like that year lapse had never happened.
We hung out a lot before he flew back to India, and we, for some reason, didn’t clarify our relationship status before he left. But, I already knew (and he did too) that I didn’t want to date anyone else. Plus, he had already invited me to his sister’s wedding in D.C. that coming November, and we were already behaving like a couple. So, pretty soon after he landed in India, I told him we needed to talk.
We talked and we decided that we weren’t going to date anyone else.
A few days later, I texted him and said I wanted him to be my boyfriend. I’ll never forget when he responded and said “Guess what? I have a girlfriend : ).”
That was September 28, 2010.
Last summer, we actually went on a date to replace the first date that we had never had. We went to a fancy restaurant in our hometown, and I paid. I figured I owed him that, and much more. For all the time I allowed myself to stall on making a decision, or didn’t make the right decision, he was there all along, already ready for me to be his girlfriend.
Our 1 year-(almost) 8 month relationship has been mostly long distance. Our time in India together was the longest we ever spent together. Long distance relationships can work, and do. As long as you are both willing to put in the time and effort to make it work, it will. Rahul and I talk on the phone multiple times a day, watch movies together, eat meals together, and more. Even though we have 8,000 miles separating us—our halfway point used to be Geneva—our relationship continues to grow because we know what we both want out of it, and that’s each other.