Of marriage, life and laughter
Amrita and Rahul Raichand’s marriage is a testament to how a leap of faith can result in a happily ever after
I don’t promise you exotic holidays or diamonds, but I promise you a lifetime of happiness and laughter,” assured Rahul Raichand, when he proposed to Amrita Raichand. Fifteen years on and Amrita’s smile says it all. As she narrates their story, she admits, “We just got lucky.”
“I met Rahul right here,” Amrita points at the spacious sea-facing balcony of her south Mumbai apartment. It was a small family get-together, but one that didn’t go according to plan. While Rahul instantly liked the smiling, enthusiastic girl his family had identified for him, Amrita faced a dilemma. “I spoke to everyone, except him,” she remembers, with a chuckle. And the meeting turned out to be so awkward that it raised doubts in her mind. She recalls, “I wondered if an arranged marriage was right for someone like me.”
It didn’t help that Rahul had to fly out of the country soon after the meeting. But, Amrita’s mother didn’t give up on the eligible bachelor. “She slyly invited Rahul’s family to my brother’s wedding,” says Amrita. Things picked up again and soon, the couple had their first date. “I felt so comfortable with him that he soon became my best buddy,” Amrita reminisces. Within a month, they were hitched.
“We fight about time,” says Amrita, as she reveals the common cause of their tiffs. Raised in a family with a naval background, Rahul is a stickler for time. “He was particular about punctuality even on our honeymoon or if we had to attend a party,” she rues. And for a long time, the two struggled to stay in sync with each other. But now, being married for more than a decade, the Raichands have found middle ground. Amrita, who usually takes more time to get dressed, keeps Rahul informed about the ‘stage’ she’s at. “And I start getting dressed according to that,” quips Rahul.
It was Rahul’s job in sports management that took them places. While Amrita enjoyed accompanying Rahul to most destinations, a trip to Bangladesh is remembered for all the wrong reasons. As she joined him on this trip, she found herself with little to do. So, she flew back home on the pretext of some shoot. “Every week, she made excuses for not coming back,” an exasperated Rahul remembers, lamenting how he really needed his wife on that trip. “Only because there was nothing to do!” recollects Rahul. Another travel-related memory has them in London, as Rahul shares, “The cost of living was too high for me to singlehandedly afford our stay together. So, I nudged her to take up a job. I got her a train pass, travelled with her for a day and said, ‘From tomorrow, you are on your own’.” But no love was lost because Amrita thoroughly enjoyed hosting radio shows and shooting for advertisements while in London.
Braving a terror attack
The conversation turns sombre as it veers towards the night of November 26, 2008. The family was at The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai with their one-year-old son, Agastya. It was Amrita’s birthday. “We were in one of the rooms when we heard the shots,” Amrita remembers. Initially dismissing it as a local gang war, they decided to stay in the room till things settled down. Only when their phones started ringing, did the Raichands realise the danger they were in. “I thought that was it. This was the end,” Amrita recalls. Despite the situation, Rahul maintained his cool, even as he comforted his family. “He was the last one to climb down the window. He was so calm through it all. It made us feel safe,” says Amrita. Rahul’s composure renewed Amrita’s faith in him. “It’s not the flowers or romantic gestures that really matter, it’s this strength he displayed on that night that I value,” says Amrita. It was a trying night, and Rahul is glad he got his family through it. “You actually realise your strength when you are put through a demanding circumstance,” he shares.