A TALE OF TWO CITIES
First things first: finding love is tough.
To find someone who gets you, adds value to your existence and someone you want to wake up next to for the rest of your life. Add to this the distance of a thousand miles. For a fraction of a second, you realise it’s easier to say no. Because love is supposed to be fun, fulfilling and effortless, right?
But picture this: a partner who makes time to video chat with you, irrespective of the crazy time difference. Someone who understands your needs and respects your space, and more importantly, someone you can trust even though you don’t see them every single day. And if you find that, we’d say, hold onto it, because you are going to have the time of your life. Just like Prerna* did.
The vivacious 33 year-old Sindhi from Sydney, had had only one true love before she came to us at Sirf Coffee. Her high-power consulting gig ensured she lived out of a suitcase on different continents for most months of the year. “I just want to meet the right person” was her brief in November of 2016. We introduced her to 38 year-old Yashveer, a third-generation Punjabi entrepreneur from Nairobi. And well, what do you know:
We now have a wedding this December, people, and talked to our Sirf Coffee bride-to-be, before she got all busy.
Your first thoughts when you heard about Yashveer
I remember coming on-board Sirf Coffee with a very open perspective. I was at a stage in life where I was so done with the whole random dating exercise; I needed a focused approach. When I heard about Yashveer, I was super excited to speak with him. But then came the hard part – he was based in Africa. I mean, Africa. I didn’t even travel there for work. But I thought it over, and wanted to give it a fair go. And thank God, I did. Because I realized very soon, that love isn’t about a geographical boundary, but is only about the person. And truth be told, I’ve also fallen in love with the continent since.
When you first lay eyes on him (in person, of course)
Technology has played a great role in our (long distance) relationship. However, there’s nothing like that first meeting. With so much excitement and a million butterflies, we decided to meet halfway, in Hong Kong. We had a great time, but there was no talk about what would come next. Till date, we’re not sure about what pushed us to impulsively book tickets to our next meeting, on the last day of our trip. We decided to take it one trip at a time. No pressure.
Breaking the Indian stereotype
A few months into our relationship, it was decided that I would visit him in Nairobi. Sure, traveling with your partner is great. But I was looking forward to meeting him on home turf, (get to meet his folks, maybe?) and take things from there. My parents were livid! Meanwhile, his parents wondered about this friend out of nowhere who had decided to ‘drop by’ for a few days and stay with them. But it all turned out just fine.
Smooth sailing, always?
Both, Yashveer and I, have experienced not-so-happy previous marriages and were looking to make a fresh start. Needless to say, we came with our fair share of baggage and it’s not always easy to shed the load instantaneously. According to me, the three pillars of a healthy relationship are trust, commitment, and mutual respect. There were times when we both got a bit frustrated with each other, but we slowly learned to be more sensitive towards the other’s past and help each other heal, too.
I’m in love. What next?
We spent NYE together last year and decided that he will meet my folks. I had to coach my parents to not get overexcited and jump to conclusions. It’s “just a dinner with my friend”, I told them. They hit it off like a house on fire, and I remember him telling them how much he respected me for who I was as a person. I think that just warmed my soul. For someone who is ambitious and raring to go like me, I needed someone like him – a modern Indian guy that loves his curries as much as he loves an ambitious partner – and is not afraid to show it. He’s not just what I wanted, he’s what I needed.
Keeping it going
Including your partner in your life makes them feel wanted, involved and gives them a sense of belonging. We started blocking time on each other’s calendars – with the crazy time zones we lived in, it kept us sane. 9:00 AM your time, Skype date. Yes? On some tough days, just the thought that we’d get to see each other on our screens helped us get through the storm. We would share Netflix shows; tag each other in social media posts. Being a fitness Nazi, he even planned my fitness routine for me! That sense of inclusion was so important because it helped us build a bond of trust. We wanted it to work and we made sure we did.
You’re the one for me
Over time, he kept flying down to Sydney so we could spend some time together. I realized we weren’t really dressing up and planning fancy dinner dates, just doing normal things. Working out together, cooking and even doing laundry! And the ease and comfort with which we lived in each other’s company made me realize he was the anchor I needed in my life. He was the one. He understood me, my need to take charge of things and made me realize that it was alright to even let go sometimes. He changed me, for the better, and for that, I am grateful to him.
Distance makes the heart fonder
I won’t deny it: Long distance relationships are hard. You come home after an exhausting day at work, to an empty flat, and you realize the one person you probably want to see the most is not even in the same country as you. At the same time, it makes us value our precious time spent together. In this journey, what we’ve both realized is that love just doesn’t happen like it’s portrayed in the movies, but it is a series of conscious decisions that you make every day – because your partner means the world to you. Not once, but over and over again. For him.
This may sound weird, but Yashveer is my North Star. He guides me, shows me direction and keeps me focused. He’s taught me how to love myself more and enjoy this journey together. We would have been together a lot faster, if we were in the same city, but like I always say: Have trust – in the process, in the person and your own self.
If you see that in him, just do what it takes to make it work. One step at a time, one small commitment at the time. I promise you, it’ll be the best decision of your life.
Interviewed by Noopur Pal
*Names have been changed to protect privacy. Our interviewee is happy to share her pearls of wisdom on surviving long distance relationships, if you need the advice yourself. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a chat for you.