It’s a love story but how did these Thai-Indian couples say yes?
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
They liked it, so they put a ring on it – but just getting down on one knee wasn’t enough. After all, why not pop the champagne while you pop the question? Masala interviewed these couples whose proposals made much ado about saying “I do.”
Purnama Parmar, Business Development Director of Elevate
Kevin Parmar, Businessman for a multi-sport event company
Born in Switzerland but raised in Malaysia and Thailand, Kevin met Bangkokian Purnama in the adventure-filled Khaosan Road through friends, and they’ve been having adventures together since. Kevin recounts the story of how a ‘Dine in the Dark’ meal turned into a luminous occasion.
“In Indian culture, proposals are more of a family affair than they are in the Western world. Although I had a more Westernised upbringing, I wanted to maintain the family involvement in this big part of our lives.
It was important to me that the proposal be a complete surprise to Purnama, and this wouldn’t have been too difficult if just the two of us were involved. However, coordinating the event in secret was not only difficult for myself as I usually shared everything with her, but for most members of her family. I had to employ tactics like using chatting apps such as WeChat that were not used by any of our friends, and switching off notifications so that messages wouldn’t pop up when we were together.
The proposal night started off with pre-dinner drinks at The House on Sathorn, during which I was coordinating the surprise and making sure everyone was in place. At the right time, we made our way to the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit for a surprise dinner at Dine in the Dark. This was, however, a façade as there was nothing more than an amuse-bouche planned prior to me popping the big question. Naturally, the room was pitch black, and after the small bite, I requested a table change, as there was some water dripping from the air-con (merely a ploy to convince Purnama to walk across the room).
As we began a slow walk guided by one of Dine in the Dark’s blind waitresses, a song began to play and the waitress left the two of us at the centre of the room. Unbeknownst to Purnama, I was already down on one knee with a ring in hand, which was in the left pocket of a jacket that had been placed on my chair by my Mother.
The lights came on and the music faded, and to Purnama’s surprise she was surrounded by a mix of her family and mine. Her first and immediate words were, “What the hell!” followed by a resounding “yes” when I asked if she would marry me.”
Manpreet Sethi, Hospitality professional
ChaetanSaheb ‘Aek’ Singh, Hospitality professional
When Aek and Manpreet met on the first day of class at MUIC, it wasn’t love at first sight and in fact, they mostly shunned each other and were, in their words, “hi-bye” friends for years. However, attraction and love grew four years on and despite their prosaic, non- Bollywood start, Aek decided to make up for it with a proposal that’s one for the books – or rather, the movies.
“For all those who know me, this proposal was inevitable! Being as ‘aekspressive’ as I am, it was only a matter of when, and what degree of Bollywood drama it would have. Behind the scenes, the meticulous planning and preparations began over a month before and involved over 50 people. Screening several ideas myself and eventually with my family, I finally hit on the perfect concept.
On the 11th of August, I brought Manpreet to Pattaya, where she was under the impression that we were going for lunch and a photo shoot. I strategically chose that date because it involved two ‘1s’ coming together, signifying the union of two persons and importantly, it was my sister’s birthday as well. During the faux photo shoot, Manpreet and I found ourselves besieged by some local goons while we were in the middle of the shoot.
Shocked, she was blindfolded, carried away and placed in the boot of a car, only to find a huge surprise waiting for her when the blindfold was finally removed. Music was playing and all her friends and family were there in matching shirts, dancing down the street. The entire procession went down to the beach, where I popped the question against the beautiful backdrop of the Gulf of Thailand, under a single tree on the beach. Our hashtag #aekpreet translates to “one love” and thus this proposal is entitled, “One Tree, One Love, Beyond Sea, Beyond Sand.”
Manpreet and I are very grateful to and families and friends who came to make this milestone a most memorable one, and I highly recommend you watch the proposal video, which I edited myself, for the full experience.”
Suphavi Anandsongkit, Teacher
Pratheep Sethi, Businessman
Bangkok-based couple Pratheep and Suphavi met through Pratheep’s cousin, but little did they know that romance would soon blossom from their friendship. A true romantic at heart, Pratheep relates his proposal that went the whole nine yards. “I had wanted to propose for a while, but I wanted it to be a surprise for Suphavi. However, it’s really hard to keep a secret from her, and until today it’s the only one that I was ever able to keep. The plan for the proposal came to mind while I was driving to work, and as soon as the idea popped up, I called my friend, excited to discuss it.
With my friends’ help, it took about two weeks to plan and prepare, starting with looking for a nice rooftop. We took a day to check out all the locations we thought would be nice, and in the end we chose Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel, which we felt was the best option. A lot of arrangements had to be done, and it took two full weeks to prepare, but thankfully it went smoothly and I pulled the proposal off with no issues!
The big day came, and I had hired a car and chauffeur to pick her up from the school she taught at. I had to coordinate with her colleague to make sure that she was at the right place at the right time. The car took her to Avani+, where she was led to a hotel room with a makeup artist and three to four dresses, picked by her sister-in-law and sent to me, that I had hung in the room for her to choose from. After she’d changed and had her hair and makeup done, she went up to the rooftop, which had a saxophonist that I hired as well as a camera man to capture the moment when I got down on one knee. It was one of the happiest days of my life!”
Eesha Patel, Doctor specialising in cosmetic dermatology
Vivek Mantri, Senior Manager at AWR Lloyd
When Vivek and Eesha were introduced by their best friends one fateful night on Khaosan road, they were unaware that the casual encounter would soon snowball into an enduring romantic bond. Vivek describes his ‘plan b’ proposal that turned into a perfectly imperfect fairy tale ending.
“What is the perfect proposal? I thought about this question quite a bit when considering how to propose to Eesha. I knew she loved surprises, adventures and road trips, and that she could spend hours stargazing. I thought to myself, why not traverse along Australia’s iconic Great Ocean Road through to Tasmania and pop the question at Mount Wellington, one of the best places to see the entire Milky Way? How could she say no after all that?
Well, things don’t go always as planned. A week before the trip, her visa wasn’t approved! I couldn’t believe it, especially because she had recently been to Europe and is an avid traveller.
Moreover, to make matters worse (or better), soon after the failed proposal getaway, our parents got together and decided that since we had been dating for almost five years it was time for us to seal the deal, and that a roka (the Indian equivalent of an engagement) was in order next month. I was almost devastated knowing that I had forever lost my element of surprise.
I needed a plan B, fast. Luckily, our roka would be held at Jodhpur, our family’s heritage city and one of India’s most exclusive romantic destinations. Unluckily, it is so exclusive that anything grander would require months, if not years, of planning – time which I did not have. Through a series of fortunate events, pulling a lot of strings, and calling on a personal favour from Maharaj Ghaj Singh ji, the HRH of Jodhpur, I managed to secure a romantic dinner for two at Umaid Bhawan Palace.
Fast-forward to the evening before the roka. I went to Eesha’s room and asked her if she would sneak out with me on one last date before things became official. She agreed to my spontaneous request, not knowing where we were going.
It was a beautiful night. As soon as we arrived, we got a personalised tour of the palace. We then spent over three hours just chatting over a candle-lit dinner overlooking the royal lawn. When the time was right, I asked her to take a walk on the lawn, and as we approached its end, a picture-perfect spot overlooking the glorious palace, I got down on one knee and asked her to take a chance on me – something I had asked her when we first started dating. And she said yes!
What is the perfect proposal? I’ve since realised if you and your partner love one another, the answer will always be yes, no matter the imperfections of your plan B.”