I met my husband GC in 2007, when we were both attending California State University Northridge. He was starting his Master’s Degree in Engineering and I was in the middle of my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. We also worked together for the police department as student assistants. I remember the first time I was stationed with him. We were sitting at our post checking-in guests into the dorms. I was playing music from my laptop. He was, and is, a quiet guy and I am super talkative. That night I kept on talking to him, asking him all kinds of questions. I found the fact that he was Indian super interesting, I knew next to nothing about his culture. I thought he was cute and really sweet and sincere. We became work friend, but I always really liked him more than that, but nothing progressed. I learned later that he thought that I was dating my male roommate, which made sense because we spent every day together. My husband did not know that my best friend was gay and we were only ever going to be friends.
One day in 2009 my husband came over to my apartment to attend a birthday party for my roommate. I remember he was dressed very nicely which was really refreshing because everyone else was doing the college bum look. I kept watching from a distance hoping he would come and talk to me. Around midnight he stated that he was going to leave because he had work in the morning, poor guy worked 75 hours a week to pay the double tuition for international students. I was so sad he was leaving; my hope of getting beyond the friend zone was fading away!!! My roommate decided he was going to force GC to stay. He turned all the clocks back three hours hoping to fool him! Gc was adamant that he had to leave, so my roommate forced GC into a chair. He pulled me over and said “Tina is going to give you a shoulder massage”. I was known for my massages, but this seemed so forward!! As soon as I touched him it was like electricity. He really enjoyed the massage, but he kept defending himself to my friend, who he thought I was dating. He was telling my roommate over and over again that he was not trying to flirt with his girlfriend (me). Finally my roommate said “dude we are not dating, I don’t even like GIRLS!” Gc was confused for a moment and then finally understood, then he turned around said “well what are you doing tomorrow”? That was the start of our love story!
We were both poor college students so our early dating was really simple but very sweet. We cooked food together. He taught me how to cook Indian food and I introduced him to the food of my European American family. We really fell in love in the kitchen. We worked together, talked about our dreams and aspirations, and we learned so much about each other. I never felt awkward or bored or insecure around GC. It was the perfect combination because we had so much in common yet we were from such different cultures. It was like we never stopped talking. I never experienced this before. In all honesty I knew that I loved him on the second date. Two weeks into the relationship I went to New Orleans with my roommate, a trip that had been planned before Gc and I started to date. Right before I left for my flight I told GC that I loved him, he seemed shocked ( I was too)! I had never loved another man. The whole time I was in New Orleans I was super love sick, my roommate kept trying to get me to go to clubs and I wanted to get back to the room so that I could go on my computer and talk to GC on webcam. When I got back from the trip it was Valentine’s day. GC called and said he was downstairs; he refused to come up to the apartment. He told me that I had to meet him down on the street, which was weird. He told me that “We had to talk!” I went down stairs and he told me that he had something important to tell me, I was scared, because he was acting very seriously! Then he said “I love you, and there is no turning back now. When a Punjabi man says I love you it means forever!” I held him and knew that this meant we were in it for the long run. I never thought much about the mixed culture aspect of our relationship. The only thing I really understood was that Indian families were much stricter with their kids. I was nervous but GC made sure to introduce me to the family early in our relationship. I talked to his sister on the phone and I got to “meet” his parents on Skype. I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect from Indian future in-laws and I hoped that they liked me. I was glad that I didn’t do much research because ultimately I just acted like myself and we got along great. I am blessed with a wonderful Indian family! I have never ever had an issue.(Our first picture as a couple) 2010
We dated the rest of that year and right before graduation we got engaged. I was in class in the morning, and my husband called me, which was really weird because he was not normally up at that time. I was about to take an important midterm. He insisted that I come down stairs because it was very urgent. I went down stairs, where we met every day. He looked worried and upset; he said that he had something bad to tell me. He said that his parents were not happy with us after all. I started to panic and look around because I could not look at him! I had to think! My world was falling apart around me! He got stern with me and said “what are you looking at”!!! I was so scared, I loved him so much!!!! Right at that moment of desperation he got on his knee in front of everyone and proposed! He said that he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. It was one of the happiest days of my life!! I later found out that his friends were filming the proposal, which is why he did not want me to look around. His parents in India were actually very happy with our relationship. I had to go back to class wearing my engagement ring! I was on cloud nine and everyone, including my professor, was asking me about what had happened! After the test I ran all the way to his apartment near the campus. He and his roommates made Aloo Paranthas and we feasted. I had to study for another exam that day but none of that matted, I was in love and engaged!
We decided not to wait long to get married. We had a very nice Western Christian ceremony with a handful close friends in Vegas the weekend before we both graduated college May 15, 2010. I wore a white wedding dress. My husband and I added red rose accents to the dress and added a red lace up to the back of the dress. Red and pink are the colors that Punjabis wear in weddings so I wanted to represent both cultures in our wedding. We worked on it together and it was really wonderful, it came out beautiful and represented both our cultures for our Masala Wedding. The wedding was just so beautiful and intimate! After the wedding we came back to college to graduate. My mom came for our graduations and met my husband for the first time. A month later we had a small Punjabi Sikh wedding at the Gurdwara on June 26th, 2010. It was a wonderful ceremony and my family had the opportunity to learn more about my husband’s culture and religion. I wore a pink Punjabi Wedding suit. It had so much beautiful bead work on it, my husband’s best friend and his wife gave it to me. It was a really beautiful ceremony and as I went around the Guru Granth Sahib I felt the beauty of our union. I am very happy with our two ceremonies, they truly represented who my husband and I are, sincere, humble, and in love! The only thing I would have changed was to be able to have GCs family from India at the wedding. Someday in the future we will have a big ceremony for all our family and friends and do a re-commitment of our vows. For now we are happy and busy in our Masala life and raising our Masala Daughter.
( The white wedding dress that we added red to)
(two days after marriage we graduated college together, with my Mom and sister.)
(my brother and I after the ceremony)