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Happy New Year to Happily Ever After by Mahesh Shantaram

When it comes to wedding photography, my approach is not merely candid but also very personal. I like to get involved. It's important for me to be able to feel the heat and tension beneath the surface wherein lies the real story worth telling.

That's why, when Rohit asked me to be his wedding photographer, it was an honour, of course, but also a very special privilege. You see, Rohit and I go back a long way as high school buddies. I already knew his side of the story described in under a dozen words ("We met in a parking lot and decided to get married."). And now, Aruna's more colourful version really completes it for me. In her own words, here's how Aruna met Rohit on the last night of 2009 and her life took a rapid turn from that point onwards. — Mahesh Shantaram

From The Bride...

bridal makeup For many years, I had searched for the man of my dreams. I believed he existed and that he would be presented to me when the time was right. But it was a painful process because everyone I met was shockingly confused and I had started to give up hope that I was too idealistic and there was no such thing as the "right person" - all those cynics were right!

Until one destined New Years eve, where at the last minute I decided to head out with a bunch of friends. One of my friends brought along another friend whom I did not like from the start. He was arrogant and difficult to talk to. He barely paid any attention to me! He made me angry and I had no desire to waste my time until I heard he was highly educated. My interest was piqued and I decided to try to find out more about this mysterious fellow.

As the alcohol flowed and the inhibitions reduced, we started to dance. Suddenly he seemed less arrogant and pleasant to talk to. I felt safe with him and because I had no romantic interest in him, I knew I could enjoy myself. Until I realised that he may get the wrong impression. I was done with games and could not tolerate another moment with a man who was looking only for fun. I made this clear to him right there on the dance floor and at that moment, my whole life changed course.

I assumed that my straightforwardness would make him see that I was not what he needed and he would move on. But he didn't. It's like at that moment all the forces of the universe started to mould themselves to suit us. Even though he was inebriated, he pursued me and stated clearly - "I'm not looking for a good time either. We're drunk right now but I would like to take you out for coffee and talk about this some more." I was seriously impressed and I never thought he would actually do it.

But he did! The next day we met for coffee where I proceeded to grill him about what he wanted and why he wanted to meet me. He was so clear about what he wanted and so articulate, yet unassuming. How could it be that this person, who irritated me just a few hours ago, was now fitting into my idea of a perfect man? He told me that he liked me and wanted to see if we could work towards something. He was, literally, the first man I had met who wasn't afraid to say that he was ready to settle down.

As we had multiple cups of tea and smoked many cigarettes, I got a sense of him. He was open minded, flexible, thoughtful, well-spoken, communicative, and highly educated. He had an intense look in his eyes that spoke of pain and determination. Yet, he had a laugh that was loud and uninhibited. As the moments went by, I started to feel peace, and I think it was then that I recognised that I had met the man I had been looking for all my life.

A week later, he came to see me again from Bangalore and told me he wanted to marry me. Three months later, he proposed to me in the same coffee shop where we met. Six months later, we were married in the most magnificent and beautiful way possible.

I never wanted public declarations of love, or long courtships. I had never dreamt of big proposals or lavish shows of love. I wanted a man who represented strength and stability. I wanted a man who knew what was important (intentions) and revelled in that. Most of all, I wanted a man who knew what he wanted and knew how to go after it. And on this random New Years eve, on the most unexpected night of my life - I found him! bridal makeup

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