I decided to take a solo trip to Malaysia on a whim in 2017. It was spontaneous decision. There I came across a bag packers association. As I walked in, I saw a guy playing guitar on the couch. His playing disturbed me the whole time while I was completing the check in formalities. Suddenly he stops playing guitar and tells me ‘you can keep your bag down, settle down and then do the booking, we are not thief’ that’s how I met my husband Fitri.
Later we spoke and he offered me to show the night market in Melaka. We spent rest of the night exploring different types of street food. I kept talking and he kept listening. Suddenly he asked me out on a date. And I was like yes, why not? We had the most romantic dinner on banks of Melaka River. It was a beautiful night. We shared travel stories. He showed interest and appreciation for other places and cultures. That drew me to him right away. The connection was instant and we continued a long distance relationship. It was an expensive affair because every time one had to fly to meet the other. So he planned to move India permanently.
Since he is a chef and I am from fashion industry we commonly decided to open a Malaysian restaurant in Bangalore. Initially we started this small food venture from home and took peoples feedback. We had multiple failures but we had strong will power to grow.
Since Fitri is a Muslim and I am a Bengali we had our own ups and downs. Many objections because of different culture but once my parents met him, they just loved him. There was no reason to say no. finally we got married in a traditional Bengali ceremony followed by a Malaysian wedding in 2018.
I have learnt cooking from him right from chopping to all culinary skills. He loves ilish maach, paani puri and chaat. He doesn’t love sweets though but he is married to a Bengali now. Together we celebrate Diwali, Durga Puja, Ramzan. We enjoy each other’s culture and respect it. I believe everything happens for a reason. Now we travel as a couple making new memories together.
(Interviewed and written by Raavya Sarda)