I’m a Malaysian Indian girl–who spent her childhood in a small town in Malaysia…
He was born in the US but spent most of his childhood in France (in the middle of nowhere)
I spent half my life buried in science books, worked on a range of different forms of science research (cell research, angiogenic research, psych research, cancer research, sleep & circadian rhythm research and genetic research) who at a point in my life started to venture into philosophy and comparative literature…
He spent half his life buried in books (his childhood was spent on reading dictionaries–yes, he loves etymology!) and was on his way to finish his PhD in Comparative Literature (on the Iliad, by Homer), he loves philosophy, mythology but was also interested in science..
How did it all happen? How did it work out? How is it that two very different people from very different upbringings meet and work so well together and love so well?
2013, February: True story–my husband and I met each other at Starbucks, not buying coffee (its a story that would only make sense to us–)
I saunter into the Starbucks at Harvard Square, after waiting in the snow and the cold for my friend for approximately 15 minutes–‘why am I standing out in the cold again?’—I walked right in and stood inside, at an awkward position–at a position that allows me to look right out of the window—so that I could spot my friend, you see my dear friend promised me that when I got back from my class at MIT we would get dinner at Tasty Burger (down the street from Starbucks)–that darn girl took forever.
Here I was wearing a red puffy sweater, with some bright cobalt leggings, I look like a cartoon character! I saw from the corner of my eye, two guys not far from where I was standing (10 feet away) looking in my direction. One was a French-American and another was Indian. Clearly I thought, ‘I look so funny, possibly that’s why ‘oh well”. I continued to look out of the window, and I overheard the French American say to the Indian ‘so I study the language of your ancestors- Sanskrit here at Harvard‘. As soon as the Indian guy left, I went towards the French-American guy and said--‘I know Sanskrit too, but it took me a good 15 years to learn it! Kudos to you to have spent just as much time learning it, and what was the reason behind it?’
He told me he was finishing his PhD at Harvard in Comparative Literature and he was required to learn Greek, Sanskrit and Latin–so he was fluent in at least 6 languages! AHA! I said “well, I guess I know quite a few languages you are not fluent in! (I am fluent in 5 languages–none of which overlap the ones he knows–so in combination–together we are unstoppable!)
Anyways, he asked me what I was doing here…I was taking classes at Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences but was enrolled in Chemistry & Chemical Biology, he asked if I was taking any courses in Classics and I told him I planned to take ‘Greek Heroes which was being offered for the Fall semester’. He then said, ‘Awesome, then you might need my help, I am a TA for that course’ in one swift move he offered me his card, with his information on it. My friend finally turned up, and I said ‘Thank you! Look forward to seeing you around!’ –I didn’t call him, you see, I am that girl who hides in the stacks of the library and studies day and night to get into Harvard GSAS and I had my own plans on what I was deciding to do next and I was too busy and told myself that I didn’t have time to date men in general. I decided to take another course ‘Allegory’ by Professor Roilos–and there is another story there (Professor Roilos was one of three Professors on his dissertation team–and all three of us have the same birthday)–I know, talk about coincidence!!
Clearly God had his own plans and I met him again by fate, a total of three times in a week! Whats’s funnier is that he was actually living in NY when I met him(this was mostly at the Harvard campus, in Cambridge MA), and he was only in these spots where I met him because
1) He was meeting a student–to help them with work on the course he was a TA in
2) He was meeting a Professor regarding on work for his dissertation
I mean, it was a bit ridiculous towards the end! I met him as I was leaving and he was entering Lamont Library, he clearly recognized me and was like ‘Hey, you never got back to me!’ and I was like ‘Yeah, I’m sorry! I got caught up! Let’s be friends on facebook!’–so we did, and I met him again at Lamont cafe, the second time, unplanned! After that, he did ask me to ‘hang out’ for a study date, in one of the rooms at Lamont Library–because let’s face it, we both have lots to do, and the chances of me saying no was impossible, also if I avoided him, I would meet him again!
He found out when we were on our ‘study date’ that we were even born on the same day (not the same year~It was getting a bit out of hand!) 🙂 Anyways, after our study date was over, he offered to walk me to the dorm on campus, Richard’s Hall. As we were walking back, he asked me if he could hold my hand, and I said yes, and he listed out the reasons why he would like to ask me on a date (it was adorable! I mean how could I have refused, it was like a list of at least 30 things why I was awesome and how well we fit well together)–so I said yes! He even explained the origin of my name (he was a etymology expert) and had apparently written a paper for Sanskrit on how ‘BH’ was pronounced ‘P’, that was impressive–that’s how my name is pronounced–with a ‘P’ instead of ‘Bh’!
Just as we reached Richard’s Hall(dorm at Harvard GSAS)—another coincidence(His father’s name is Richard and his brother’s name is Richard and he told me the story about how he was supposed to be named Richard as well but his mother fought to name the first son ‘Guy’ after her own father!). He said, ‘Why don’t you go leave your books in your room and I will wait out here, its my close friend’s birthday today and I would like you to come with me to celebrate his birthday at a Brazilian restaurant, its just down the street’. So, that’s what we did, we went out and I promised we would watch his favorite movie after ‘Donnie Darko.’ We were exhausted and fell asleep in each others arms. The next morning, I woke him up in the midst of the first snow floating outside, the view was so beautiful!
Photo by David Berman
Anyways, I offered him coffee and orange juice, and he took some coffee. He looked a bit sad, and I said ‘What’s wrong?,’ he told me ‘Well, I had so much fun with you and you made me very happy and I am going to miss you because I have to go to NY for the weekend’—he was getting trained to teach Ancient Greek for the summer and had to go to NY for the weekends. I said ‘Well, that’s okay, you’ll see me when you get back!’, ‘That’s true!’ but he responded ‘Well, why don’t you join me in NY for the weekend?’ and I said ‘Hmm, well sure!’
From that day on, we have been inseparable. We got married 6 months after,we travelled to France to see his family and are now are in Turkey, for another conference of his, but I never fail to thank him, for that one day he said ‘I know Sanskrit’ and his response is ‘Well, thanks for coming up to me and letting me know that you know Sanskrit too!’
us in France visiting friends May 2015 🙂
This is us at his sister’s wedding in France in May 2015 🙂