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Tag: August 19 2014

The Engagement Story, Part 3


< Go back and read Part 2

Anish’s story, continued…


It’s so easy to let life tick on, doing the things we do, one day at a time in autopilot. That incremental feeling of putting one foot in front of the other.

A to B, B to C, C to D. School, then university, then first job, etc.

And when you add time to that equation, it’s even easier to remember just the most recent of those steps.

There I was, Tay by my side, on a plane 30 thousand feet over the eerily vast Pacific Ocean, en route to Hawaii for the first time to take my next step. Our next step. A big next step.

There wasn’t the slightest bit of uncertainty in my mind. I mean, it made total sense. Rationale sense. We fit perfectly together and had for so many years now. We had met ten years ago and had been together for the last five. When I was with Tay, it was clearly evident that our sum was significantly greater than the parts.

And while everything about this felt like the right next step, as I sat in that seat staring out into the massive expanse of water, her head resting fast asleep on my shoulder, I couldn’t help but think ‘how the heck did I land up here!’

See, it made sense when I thought back to our time together in San Francisco or even further back to Boston. But our stories didn’t start there. And as I toggled the zoom dial in my mind and panned out far enough, I started to realize that this wasn’t my next step. It had all been a giant leap.


A leap with the most incredible precision.

Here we were, two ‘southerners’ from South’s on opposite sides of the world. Born to different cultures, nationalities, ideals and aspirations. One living in one of the largest cities in the world and the other in the woods of a tiny town — with oceans, continents, seven thousand miles, and billions of people in between to keep us apart.

At the risk of being overly dramatic, every little decision we made or were a part of, if they had been made a different way would have drastically altered not just the path that lead us to each other, but whether those paths would even meet at all.

My family not moving from India to the UAE. Not going to high-school at Dubai Scholars – the school that nominated me to attend GYLC. Not receiving funding to attend GYLC. Not meeting Tay in the 400 person group during my first trip to the US. Not getting into Boston University. Not moving to the US. Not calling her when I touched down to rekindle a friendship. Not calling her years later. Not calling her again. Not traveling back and forth to see each other. Not deciding to start dating. Not asking her to move to Boston.

All of those and so many countless others. Any single one of which would have resulted in a very different path. Best case scenario we wouldn’t be together. Worst case scenario we would have never met.

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.” – Paulo Coelho

As I sat on the plane thinking back, the fresh perspective made it hard for me to deny that the universe just might have had some part to play in me sitting in that seat getting ready to take my next step.

Not incremental. Monumental.


Hawaii was everything we had ever imagined and then some. Everything moves sways just a little slower. Stepping out of the plane and into the warm tropical air sent us straight into island mode. Well, one of us faster than the other. 😉

Our hotel was breathtaking and the staff upgraded us into a huge suite with a lanai opening out to the ocean. There’s nothing quite like feeling an ocean breeze while lying in bed, *inside* your room.

Us and our lovely resort!
Us and our lovely resort!

With my work phone three thousand miles away, Tay and I proceeded to delete all of the apps off of our personal ones, leaving just the dialer for emergencies and Google Maps to get us places. This entire week was about us and nothing else.

Every time we turned, it was like the backdrop of a Planet Earth episode in Ultra HD. I wanted to propose right then. But for months I had been planning to propose on that very specific Tuesday and had timed the trip to coincide with a day that had so much meaning and significance to us. A testament to everything that we had been through together and come out of relatively unscathed. That was the plan and I was sticking to it – stress be damned.

On Tay’s birthday, a few weeks earlier, I had told her we were going to Hawaii and that was her Birthday present. I had claimed that my work schedule wouldn’t clear up for a month so we’d have to wait till a random week in August.

The night before we left, while we were packing she turned to me and very innocently said, “Guess what? Our Anniversary is on Tuesday – what a coincidence! We can celebrate two things at once.”

Yes, my love. Or three…


So like I mentioned earlier, the room was huge. On the furthest end of it was the lanai, an outdoor patio overlooking the ocean. On the other end of the suite was the walk-in closet with a hotel safe, bathroom and changing areas. The bedroom separated the two areas…about ~8 running strides apart, as I would later find out.

Now while I was in full-on island chill mode, the stress of having the ring on me and keeping it unseen was still a mighty one.

My trusty ski socks (I know it must sound like I’m a pro skiier at this point… I’ve been twice. And once was inside a shopping mall!) and my camera bag took turns hiding the precious cargo securely in the safe as went in and out of the room on various adventures.

Safe and secure from would be thieves, yes. But *not* from the constantly arranging and rearranging, Type-A soon to be Mrs. Kattukaran.

Five times, over those two days, I heard the safe unexpectedly beep open. There was nothing in there she needed, other than to perhaps rearrange the already perfectly arranged contents of the safe. And obviously, every *single* one of those times I was sitting out on the lanai.

Time slowed down. Heart attacks occurred. And then I would leap across the room in a full sprint to get to the safe before she found the ring.

After making four separate excuses for urgently needing the camera, I decided to change it up and transfer the ring into my ski-sock and put that in the safe.

The fifth time I heard the safe open was my slowest. As I bounded into the walk-in-closet, Tay was turning towards me reaching out to give me something in her hand.

I looked down and my heart, followed by the rest of my body, froze.

“Babe, why the heck did you bring your ski-socks? And how did they get in the safe?”


Read Part 4 >


The Engagement Story, Part 2

< Go back and read Part 1

Now for Anish’s side of the story…


“ANISH!!” Taylor screamed as I swerved across three lanes and came to a sudden stop on the side of Van Ness Avenue. The clock ticked on to 5am as the sounds of the sleepy city were drowned out by my racing heart.

Thud. Thud.

“What the heck are you doing?” She asked as I unbuckled my seatbelt.

“Need to double check and make sure I brought the GoPro,” I mumbled as I jumped out of the car onto San Francisco’s busiest road, heading towards the trunk. Months of planning would be down the drain if I got on the plane without it. Not the GoPro (new camera) I claimed to be checking on, but the little box that would help me pledge my life to her.


The day before, Saturday, had been absolute chaos for me and complete calm for Taylor. I was planning to go completely offline for an entire week for the first time in… well, since I met the Internet.

So at the crack of dawn I began a mad sprint to get all my work done so I could get out of the house around 11am to run some “errands.”

I sure as heck wasn’t about to say, “Hey I need to run to the Tiffany’s store to pick up the ring I bought for you. The one that’s been sitting in the vault for weeks because I’ve been too scared to bring it home.” (Let’s be honest, we all know her nosey curious little butt would have found it in 10 minutes flat.)

That would have been a dead giveaway, so instead I went with, “Tay, why don’t you hang out and have a relaxed day at home and do a little leisurely packing. I’m going to grab a car and go hunting for some new swim shorts.” That seemed believable, right?

The day apart had been perfect. I had been able to make all of my phone calls to reconfirm plans, spent an hour with the awesome ladies at the store in Union Square (now great buddies of mine given the countless hours I had spent with them over the past few months) getting things organized, and picked up some of the other things I needed before we left.

Oh and yea, I periodically popped into a clothing store, grabbed a pair of swim shorts (along with shirts, flip flops, etc as the day progressed), snapped a picture in the dressing room and asked for her opinion! You know…to keep her off the scent.

Seven hours later, I pulled up in-front of our apartment contemplating how to get the ring into the apartment unseen.

Tay called just as I was pulling up and asked me to stay put and not park the car so that I could take her to Target to grab some last minute stuff.

I was sitting in a completely empty rental car. There was a grand total of zero places I could hide the obscenely recognizable blue bag without a high-probability of it being found. No place under the seat. No place to hide it in the back seat. And a trunk that would likely be opened to put our Target bags in… And now she was about sixty seconds away from stepping out of the front door!

Thud. Thud.

I looked through the passenger window and saw her walking up to the front door.

10 seconds.

Thud. Thud.

I opened my door, slipped the bag through the opening and laid it outside on the road just as she opened the passenger door and slipped in. I gave her a quick kiss and jumped out. “I’m going to run upstairs to go to the bathroom before we head out.” I swept up the bag and ran to the apartment trying to keep my body in between the bag and her eyes the entire time.

Whew! Close call.


Which brings us back to 5am on Sunday morning, double parked on the side of Van Ness Avenue with me digging through my suitcase in the pitch black night.

There it was, my incredibly out of place ski-socks (that were en route to a tropical beach). Exactly where I put it. The little box hidden in a ball of wool.

I double tapped the little coin pocket in my jeans. Yup, the ring is still there, on my person. The only place it felt safe.

I had checked both about a hundred times but in a moment of panic had to check for the 101 time before we were too far from home. Boy, would it suck to lose the little guy.

Onward. To the airport.


It was starting to feel very real.

Months of planning had finally given way to my beautiful lady’s’ hand interlocked with mine with our suitcase in the other as we walked slowly to the security line at the airport. Now, I just needed to get through TSA without setting off the metal detector.

No big deal right?

Well, I had been having nightmares for weeks after I stumbled on a YouTube video of a TSA agent picking out a guy for extra screening and opening his suitcase to do a visual search. The agent had picked up what was *very clearly* an engagement ring box and asked him what it was. Oh and yea, his girlfriend was standing right next to him. I’m sweating just thinking about that again.

My hand subconsciously reached back down to my pocket, tracing its shape with my fingers. It’s still there. But I would now have to very reluctantly part with it, my own, my precious… for just a few minutes.

“Tay, I’m going to pop into the bathroom before we go through security.”

I pulled the ring out, slipped it into a little pouch and tucked it away into my backpack as quickly as I could. I wrapped my arms around it and walked back out.

Suddenly I felt a feeling of uneasiness settle over me. In that moment no one on this planet could relate to Frodo more than I could.

The boarding gate, my Mount Doom. The metal detectors, my Mordor.

“Ma’am, Sir, please place your backpacks on the conveyor belt. Make sure there is nothing in your pockets.” Yea, thanks buddy. There’s nothing in my pockets. But that could be the reason I have a heart attack!

I smiled at Tay, calm on the outside, a wreck on the inside. And then locked my eyes back on the conveyor belt as my backpack disappeared out of sight.

Thud. Thud.

There it was, my backpack waiting for me. Unstolen. I grabbed it and threw my shoes back on.

“Jeez, I have no idea whats going on with my bladder today. Bathroom again. Back in a few.”

“What? Again? Anish!”

As soon as I walked in, I reached into my backpack and pulled it out with a huge sigh of relief. My precious! And in that moment saw how ridiculous I looked in the mirror and laughed. My childhood Lord of the Rings obsession aside, my real precious was standing outside waiting for me. And she was probably pretty annoyed right about now.

As I walked back outside towards her with huge grin on my face and the ring back in my pocket where it belonged, I remember chuckling to myself and thinking, Well, I’ve been to the bathroom twice now without actually going. I hope I don’t have to actually pee anytime soon.

– Anish

On the plane leaving to Hawaii... finally calm but still feeling a certain ring burning a hole in my pocket.
On the plane leaving to Hawaii… finally calm but still feeling a certain ring burning a hole in my pocket.

Read Part 3 >