Rashmika & Sandeep met while they were young, at the all-girls school their parents put them in to keep them away from boys. They hope to marry soon incorporating Hindu traditions.
Sandy and I have known each other since high school and we both enjoy talking about how we met and our travel stories over the years. We enjoy being with each other and try to take each other out on regular dates, surprise each other with little gestures of love, and travel together to make beautiful memories.
I am a college professor and Sandy is a construction project manager, and our jobs are pretty demanding. However, we try to take breaks during the year to visit new places and during the work week, we make sure we have our dinners dates.
We have been together since 2003. We have seen struggling times when we were not allowed to meet each other at all, and at that time, we did not have our own cellphones (That is true for all kids in India at that time). But we have always been together since then.
We met in an all-girls high school where our parents wanted us to go to keep us away from boys. We both came from different families and did not have a lot in common.
However, I guess opposites attract, and we became close to each other in that year. Interestingly we had no idea at that time about gay relationships but did not think there was anything wrong with loving a female. When we had to stay apart with no cell phones, we communicated through radio and newspaper messages for each other.
Tell us a little about the planning process for the proposal?
All these years, I would hint at Sandy that I wanted to get married by showing her a beautiful ring or a bridal dress in magazines or jewelry/bridal stores, but it was something I was not sure she wanted. When I visited my family in India, my mom showed me a piece of incredible family jewelry from her wedding, which was getting worn out and she wanted to exchange it towards buying a new piece of jewelry. I suggested to her that I wanted a ring, specially made in India for a special occasion so I bought a beautiful ring. When I returned to Canada, I had to keep the ring a secret, which was super hard as Sandy is pretty good with spoiling surprises.
What does your engagement mean to you both, has anything changed?
Our engagement has added more excitement as we have been planning our wedding since then. However, it also meant on making decisions on how to ask our parents to bless us at our wedding. I finally came out to my parents, but things are complicated with our other family.
How is wedding planning going? What do you hope for your wedding to be?
Our wedding planning is moving slow, but we are getting closer to agreeing on a lot of things like the venue and our guest list. It’s been a bit complicated to decide wedding traditions as we both have different religions and we would like to have a traditional wedding. Sikh temples do not allow same-sex marriages, so we will be having ours according to Hindu traditions, and finding a priest is a struggle. We hope our wedding is a day that brings our families closer, and we get blessings from the people we love.
Hopefully, we hope that we both look amazing and most of all: the day is filled with happiness.
We have been dreaming of our wedding for 17 years, and finally, this dream is getting closer to reality. And, we both want our union to be celebrated with love and hope for other people who are like us to see us as their role models. To take the leap of spending their lives with someone they truly love and standing against all the odds.
Photographer Matteo Gueli