LOVED & MARRIED TOO : Friends first

It is not often these days that a college romance fructifies into wedlock. Corporate Citizen unlocks the story of love that has culminated into marriage, for we believe in the stability of a relationship and family unit. We bring to you real-life romances that got sealed in marriage

Melbourne-based Prerna Karnani and Mohnish Rajan are quite the up and coming corporate couple managing work and life with grit and panache. And even though life abroad isn’t without its challenges, what keeps them going is a close bond rooted in friendship

" A sense of accomplishment and productivity matter much more. At the end of the day, that’s what counts”

- Prerna

In their early 30s, Prerna and Mohnish nevertheless enjoy the comfort quotient of a couple who’s been together for most of their adult life. Having met in the course of their B.Com degree in Pune’s Wadia College, they hit it off instantly and went on to pursue their Post Graduation at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. (He completed his Chartered Accountancy while she completed her Masters in International Business.)

While they returned to Pune to get married in a beautiful traditional ceremony that combined the finer points of their respective Sindhi and Malayalee backgrounds, they returned to Melbourne for their careers. As things stand Prerna is a buyer with K-Mart Head office, Mohnish has chosen the path of entrepreneurship with his startup, MSR Accounting Services. Life is busy but happy - thanks to the fact that they have managed to zero in pretty early on what makes them both happy. “Money is not the be all and end all of everything,” expresses Mohnish. “A sense of accomplishment and productivity matter much more.” It helps that their values match. “At the end of the day, that’s what counts,” agrees Prerna.

Back to the beginning

Evidently, this is one love story that departs from the mandatory recipe of opposites attracting. “Actually, we are very similar people,” says Mohnish with some amusement. “For example, we are both easy going and informal and enjoy a good laugh”, he adds

Sure enough, their first meeting was a hit all because he made her laugh. “I can’t remember what exactly it was that we both found so funny. But what I do recollect is laughing my head off,” grins Prerna.

The admiration was mutual. “She has a fabulous personality. I found her uncomplicated ways very endearing and that in a way laid the base of an enduring friendship,” adds Mohnish.

Amidst the laughter and games, both were pleasantly surprised to discover that each one had a strong head on their shoulders and were both focused on their professional goals. “Besides, we stress on the same things in life: hard work and integrity,” says Prerna

As things progressed, neither felt the need for a formal proposal. “I think she came up to me one fine day and suggested we might get engaged, considering we had been together for some time. I thought over it while cleaning the car, and then told her: let’s do it”, he said. (As the readers can easily gauge this is far from the Bollywood-style theatrics the average Joe has bought into by way of romance.)

On their part, both sets of parents had zero objections whatsoever despite the cultural differences. “The thing is both sets of parents are exposed and well-travelled. While her parents had their own PR firm, my dad was with Standard Chartered Bank and my mom was into events. We have both been very lucky in that they have always had a broader outlook towards life”, says Mohnish.

" Life is busy but happy-thanks to the fact that they have managed to zero in pretty early on what makes them both happy. Money is not the be all and end all of everything”

- Mohnish

The Mantras of a marriage
  • A solid friendship
  • Lots of shared laughter
  • Giving each other due space
  • Having value systems that match

The cultural differences have only made for better memories they say

The building blocks of a marriage

So how difficult was it to get used to the differences in cuisines? “Quite easy actually,” says Prerna. “Being foodies both, we both have a larger menu to choose from and it works beautifully for both of us. At my parents’ table, he relishes the Sindhi kadhi and chhola-tikki and sai bhaji, while I happily dig into the rich spread from Kerala in their home,” says Prerna.

Married for five years, they’ve been in Melbourne all through their married life. “Well, things abroad are different. Easy in some ways, and tough in others, especially since you don’t really have the system of domestic help here and have to do every single thing on your own on the weekends, from the laundry to the groceries and the shopping,” says Mohnish.

Here’s where a strong sense of camaraderie between husband and wife becomes all the more important. “No matter how tough my day has been, I can’t wait to get back home and share it with him,” says Prerna.

The inevitable fights happen but both are firm about resolving things immediately. “Depending on who is in the wrong, we apologies and then move on,” says Prerna.

Parenthood isn’t quite on the cards-at least not immediately. “We both have a few things to achieve first,” says Prerna.

A few months ago, Mohnish decided to strike out on his own. Ask him how he feels trading the security of a job with the uncertainty inherent to entrepreneurship and the answer is heartening: “I wouldn’t have it any other way. Building up your own dream is just wonderful,” he said.

So what according to them are the pillars of a relationship? “Friendship,” they say in unison. “When you have that, everything else falls in place, be it respect, communication or space.”

Talking of space, they both are clear about also having their own friendships and individual hobbies. “I think it’s absolutely healthy and essential,” says Mohnish.

Even so, they are particular about keeping their Friday night date with each other-be it watching a movie or having dinner. Besides this, both are travel junkies and love going on car trips. “Even if we are shortchanged for time, we manage a weekend trip together. It helps us get back into the groove of things, rejuvenated and refreshed,” rounds off Prerna.

By Kalyani Sardesai