Shalini Ayre

Cambridge, MA

I was at a point in my life where I was getting frustrated about not meeting a nice guy. Whatever the heck that meant. At the tender age of 26 I thought I knew what I was looking for. So one day, after dislodging a disc in my back (I vowed it would be the last time I would shave my legs, well, almost the last time), I sat in front of my computer and just did it. I signed up to a dating site.

Before I wax lyrical on the proposal, let me explain briefly my upbringing. Being an Indian girl in an English world meant a mix of emotions that well, led for an interesting life. My parents’ philosophy of “no boys-study-study-study-no boys-home by 11pm-work hard at your job-save your money-no boys,” made it difficult to meet anyone.

Being on a dating site worked out for me. I met, liked and started dating M (the first date is a great story for another time) and shock, horror the parents actually liked him. Fast forward a year and half later to sitting in a local restaurant with M. He wanted to go to New York and wanted me to go with him. If I remember correctly I was a tad perplexed about the request. Had he not met my parents? I could imagine the conversation if I were to broach the subject would result in me being severely yelled at about bringing shame on them, did I not care about the family and that I may well bring about the apocalypse. Nothing too dramatic.

So with that in mind and not wanting to end the world, I said that there was no way I would be able to do that. The only way I could go to NYC was if we were married. I looked down at the steak and fries moments before placed in front of me. As I pierced the warm, crunchy casing of a fry and lifted the delectable morsel to my mouth M casually said, “Okay, why don’t we? Will you marry me?”

I stared at him, skewered French fry midair. Did he ask what I think he asked? Once my brain processed the question my response? A gushing ‘Yes!’ or ‘Darling, of course I am most amiable of such an attachment (because I stepped into a Regency novel at that point)? Nope. None of that. His question received an answer that every man longs to hear; “Are you serious?”

Okay, I’ll admit my ‘eciah’ moment didn’t come at that point.

M felt that the proposal wasn’t quite romantic – and he’s a pretty romantic guy. So that, "life is changing, I feel great" moment came when we sat in London’s Hyde Park by a tree, having just devoured a delicious picnic from Carluccio’s (an Italian chef if you’re not sure who he is), and presented me with a ring that I had designed a couple of months back (my mother wondered why it was taking so long to get this ring and my brother quipped ‘being forged in the fires of Mordor?’ Not quite, beauty takes time.)

Being married to M is easy. We have fun, disagreements, a laugh, lots of hugs and every now and then he’ll remind me of my not so eloquent, romantic, John McEnroe-esq response of ‘are you serious?’