Love brought this young couple together from two different parts of India, and propelled them to move countries, to travel and grow together
By Tanya Bhandari
In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with – Charles M Schulz
Timeless thoughts and ideas are forced upon us from a very early age. On what we should do and what we shouldn’t. What is right and what is wrong. And even after we feel like we are going in a certain direction, life always surprises us with something we could never even imagine.
Our story is very similar to that.
We were two very regular kids who grew up in different parts of the country. Soham Pandit grew up in Mumbai and I grew up all over India, as being a defence officer’s kid comes with that package. I changed schools from the beautiful hills of Ooty in South India to city life in New Delhi.
Soham and I grew up imagining that we had it all figured out. Two ordinary children: one of whom was found on the football field and the other on a basketball court skipping classes.
I decided to pursue hotel management for my undergraduate degree and ranked pretty well in the entrance exam. Coincidentally, Soham took the same path. I studied in Delhi and he studied in Mumbai. During placements, both of us were shortlisted amongst 17 students from across India to join a management training program with a five-star hotel chain. That is where we met for the first time.
By the end of the program, we had been transferred to several cities across India for training. We didn’t speak much to each other initially but when we did, we realised how similar we were and how we enjoyed the same things.
By the end of the training program, he asked me out and after being in denial and torturing the poor guy for months, I said yes!
So we requested our manager to be posted together in the same city and the only opportunity open for two people to be in the same hotel was in Chennai. We took a leap of faith and packed our bags for this new adventure! And to celebrate our graduation, we decided to take our very first trip together to Sri Lanka! And thus, began our journey.
We were on the path to conventional success working as managers in our respective fields. Soham was one of the restaurant managers in the hotel and I was a duty manager in front office. For the next year and a half, we travelled across India for work and also four countries overseas.
Then, we decided to take the next logical step: quit our jobs! Duh!
We decided that we wanted to study more and explore more. See what we’re made of. And so we started researching for the best universities. After months of research and planning, both of us were accepted into the same university in Australia with a scholarship. We had also used this break to learn photography, which both of us were always passionate about.
To celebrate our admission and our two-year dating anniversary, we booked a two-week trip to Bali. We went out for a drive in Uluwatu to this beautiful cliff with stunning views as the sun was setting. Soham asked me to follow him to a secluded spot. As I was soaking it all in, I turned around and there he was, on one knee.
I couldn’t believe it for a second. My reaction was literally, “Really? No, you’re joking!” But, of course, I accepted his proposal. We watched the sunset over there and spent the evening grateful for each other and everything we were able to experience together.
Just before leaving for Australia, we had a formal engagement party in Mumbai with only our closest friends and family. It was a fun day!
Now we are here in Gold Coast, studying, working, managing our Instagram page @Stateof_Fernweh and blog, travelling and just figuring life out together one day at a time. Instagram is a creative outlet for both of us since it combines our love for travel and photography.
We always post the rawest moments of our day and try to keep it as real as possible. It’s a large platform and I think people get very caught up with numbers. But I believe that if you stay true to your passion and showcase the real stuff behind the scenes, people relate to you more. I enjoy sharing our everyday shenanigans because I have found some extremely supportive and brilliant people on this platform.
“As soon as I saw you, I knew that it was going to be an adventure of a lifetime.” I agree, Winnie the Pooh. You are very wise.
First published in the Winter 2018 issue of eShe magazine.