He flew to India for New Year’s Eve and met the love of his life

(CNN) — For medical college scholar Nikhil, that New Year’s Eve was emotional, cathartic and sudden.

It was December 2010. Nikhil’s father had not too long ago handed away from most cancers. Nikhil, then in his 20s, and his brother, who’re Indian American, traveled from their residence within the US to western India to scatter a few of their father’s ashes.

“We decided to spread his remains in an ancestral place,” Nikhil tells CNN Journey at this time.

Afterward, the 2 brothers prolonged the journey.

“We were going to be there over the New Year, and so we decided to go to Goa, up on the western coast, which is known for some of the best New Year’s celebrations in India,” says Nikhil.

One among Nikhil’s oldest buddies flew in to hitch them, and the trio headed to the golden seashores and buzzy bars of Goa. They set their sights on ringing in 2011 at Tito’s, a beachside membership well-known for its New Year’s Eve extravaganzas.

“Goa, during New Year’s, is packed,” says Nikhil. “So we found a hotel in the next beach over to Tito’s and of course, it being New Year’s, it was bumper to bumper traffic and we couldn’t get to the beach where this club was located.”

In the long run, the three males determined to stroll from their lodge to Tito’s — not realizing the gap till halfway by means of the trek. The stroll was made much more difficult as a result of Nikhil’s buddy had satisfied the group they need to gown to impress — it was New Year’s Eve in spite of everything.

“But it’s Goa, and it’s 90 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and we’re the only three idiots dressed in suits,” says Nikhil at this time.

When the three males ultimately reached Tito’s, they discovered the membership was imposing entry charges — the equal of round $100 per individual. The group did not have sufficient money on them.

“We walked another six kilometers back to find a bank — and all the ATMs, we realized, were running out of cash,” says Nikhil.

Eventually the lads withdrew the cash, went again to Tito’s and headed in — later than deliberate, however nonetheless with loads of time to benefit from the night.

Inside it was loud, neon strobe lights illuminating figures dancing.

Nikhil lined up on the bar, and when he rotated to talk to his brother and his buddy, he noticed, for the primary time, the lady he was going to marry.

On December 31, 2010, Hirva was a twentysomething from western India, about to begin enterprise college. She was out celebrating New Year’s Eve with two of her girlfriends.

Hirva tells CNN Journey she noticed the night time as a “last celebration” earlier than she’d be knuckling down to check each weekend.

Girls received free entry to Tito’s. Males needed to pay, however there have been diminished charges for these coming into in a combined group.

Within the line exterior Tito’s, Hirva and her buddies have been approached by a bunch of men who requested if they may enter with them, to decrease the price.

“We agreed to do that and help them out,” says Hirva. “Then they ended up just hanging out with us. They didn’t leave our side, and we really did not want to hang out with them.”

Inside Tito’s, Hirva and her buddies have been attempting to shake the lads off, when one of many group noticed Nikhil and his group on the bar.

“The fact they were dressed well, we thought, ‘They seem like nicer guys, and if we strike up a conversation with them we could get rid of those other guys,'” remembers Hirva.

The 2 teams made their introductions, Hirva’s buddy main the best way. Hirva and Nikhil, who’ve requested for his or her final names to not be included on this story for privateness causes, have been the final to be launched.

“It was just instant attraction,” says Hirva of the second she met Nikhil.

“I remember him holding my hand and walking me through the dance floor. And I just looked at him and he looked at me and we both remember this moment of looking at each other, and I was like, ‘I just want him to hold my hand forever.’ It sounds really like out of a movie, but that’s exactly how I felt.”

New Year’s Eve assembly

Here’s Hirva and Nikhil photographed on the night time they met, New Year’s Eve 2010, within the membership in Goa, India.

Nikhil & Hirva

Tito’s was tightly full of revelers, however the membership is open air, located proper on the seashore. The sound of waves crashing punctuated the dance music.

“We could see the sky, we could hear the ocean,” remembers Hirva.

For the following a number of hours, Hirva and Nikhil have been aspect by aspect.

In between dancing, they informed each other about their lives.

“She told me that she got accepted to business school and I very distinctly remember her describing that for the first time, and her being really excited about it,” says Nikhil. “That also was very attractive to me, because we’re both similarly ambitious.”

“It was typical club music,” says Hirva of the songs taking part in in Tito’s. “I remember this one song that we were dancing to, together.”

It was the track “Break Your Heart,” by Taio Cruz.

As 2011 dawned, the membership began a countdown to midnight.

“I remember I was dancing with Nikhil, but as it struck midnight, I realized I was here with my girls and immediately let go of Nikhil to go give them a celebratory hug. He was still a stranger then,” says Hirva.

Because the night time wound to a detailed, Nikhil requested Hirva for her cellphone quantity. She hesitated.

“In India, you don’t just share your phone number with random guys you meet, it’s not a thing. It’s not safe. And so I was trying to not share my phone number with him,” says Hirva.

Hirva and Nikhil ended up going their separate methods with out exchanging particulars. Neither of them thought they might see one another once more.

“There were absolutely no talks about keeping in touch or meeting again,” says Hirva.

But it surely turned out their buddies had swapped particulars. And the following day, Nikhil’s buddy, after a little bit of teasing, handed on Hirva’s quantity.

Nikhil despatched Hirva a easy first textual content, simply wishing her “Happy New Year.”

“My best friends and I were having brunch at a beach shack and my phone pinged,” remembers Hirva. “It said ‘Happy New Year’ from Nikhil. It was totally unexpected. But definitely made me smile.”

Hirva saved Nikhil’s quantity in her cellphone, underneath the title “New Year Boy.”

The night time earlier than, in Tito’s, certainly one of Hirva’s buddies had taken some photographs along with her digital digital camera. At brunch, the ladies flicked by means of the photographs. One stood out — of Nikhil and Hirva, arms round one another, smiling.

“All of us agreed that there was something about that picture,” says Hirva. “That picture made it look like I had known him forever.”

Later, Nikhil despatched Hirva a Fb buddy request, and she or he accepted.

Then she up to date her Fb standing to the lyrics to “Break Your Heart,” the track she’d danced to the membership with Nikhil.

“I got a lot of comments, and no one knew actually what it meant except for him,” she remembers.

Lengthy distance correspondence

Hirva and Nikhil despatched messages backwards and forwards for the primary few days of the New Yr.

“Those first few messages on Facebook were crucial,” says Hirva. “They were like essays, we were sharing so much with each other, it just instantly felt special.”

“It was a barrage of questions back and forth. Simple things like what is your birthday? What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite color?” remembers Nikhil.

The questions — and the solutions — rapidly turned deeper.

“What do you like? Where do you see yourself going in life? What are your career aspirations? What are your personal aspirations? Do you want to settle down and have a family? Tell me about your family. How many brothers and sisters do you have? What’s your day been like?” remembers Nikhil.

“I think we connected instantly, because we connected with each other’s views on some of those big things in life,” says Hirva.

Studying one another’s lengthy responses, Hirva and Nikhil felt they have been on the identical wavelength. However there have been additionally massive variations. They’d fairly completely different personalities. They usually’d every been introduced up in several nations. Hirva had by no means visited the US, and whereas Nikhil had been to India on trip and to see household, he’d by no means lived there. Nonetheless, the 2 shared the identical cultural background — they’re each of Gujarati heritage.

“The way I would put it is, even though he grew up in the US, he had a little bit of India in him. And even though I grew up in a conservative state in India, I was more progressive. And that’s what kind of clicked for us,” says Hirva.

January rolled on, and messages continued to fly backwards and forwards. Neither Nikhil nor Hirva had a wise cellphone on the time, in order that they’d solely decide up the updates after they have been at residence.

At some point, Nikhil determined to present Hirva a name.

“It was late at night, I’d gone out with my friends, and I really just wanted to talk to her rather than waiting for another message,” he remembers.

He labored out the time distinction, realizing it was Hirva’s morning. She picked up, however did not appear happy to listen to from him.

“She actually was very curt with me on the phone,” says Nikhil. “She said, ‘I actually have to get ready to go to work.'”

“I was actually very nervous,” Hirva explains at this time. “I wasn’t expecting a phone call. So I didn’t know what to say. It was just so awkward.”

After hanging up, Hirva instantly contacted the chums who have been along with her in Goa on New Year’s Eve, asking them what she ought to do.

Hirva’s buddies inspired her to speak to Nikhil.

“Up until this point, even when we were exchanging messages, I didn’t think anything could come out of it because we were in different countries. I was like, ‘This just means that I have a friend in another country and I’m getting to know him.’ I didn’t think of it in any other terms,” remembers Hirva.

“But then when he called me and then we started talking more, it became clear that this was going somewhere.”

This was thrilling, but additionally nerve-wracking. Hirva knew the fact of an extended distance relationship, throughout nations and continents, would not be simple.

Hirva and Nikhil organized to speak on the cellphone at a time that suited them each. This primary cellphone name lasted a number of hours. Afterward, they switched to video calling through Skype, kicking off a number of months of lengthy distance, long-lasting calls in any respect hours of the day.

“Everyone made fun of me for leaving parties at all times to just go talk to him,” says Hirva. “They thought this was silly, it wasn’t going to work out. And I remember telling everyone, ‘Just wait, I’m going to invite you to my wedding.'”

Whereas they’d solely met one another as soon as, because the months rolled on and the calls continued, each Hirva and Nikhil hoped the connection would go the gap.

“We realized very quickly that there is no point in continuing this type of conversation or this long-distance relationship without some sort of commitment from both of us that this is going to go somewhere, or that we’re going to end up together,” says Nikhil.

A brand new chapter

That summer season, in August 2011, Nikhil flew to India to go to Hirva at enterprise college. In direction of the tip of the 2 week journey, Nikhil traveled with Hirva to her hometown, to fulfill her mother and father.

“I told my parents, ‘I met someone who’s in the States.’ And then my mom started crying. She said, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t want you so far away from us.’ But then when they met him, of course they fell in love with him.”

Hirva and Nikhil say it was “surreal” to be reunited after a number of months of Skyping. However the journey solely made them extra dedicated to a future collectively.

“The level of comfort and ease even in that first meeting was unbelievable,” says Hirva.

The 2 figured Hirva’s MBA would enable her to work wherever, whereas Nikhil’s medical diploma could possibly be tougher to switch. Dwelling collectively within the US appeared like the most effective plan.

They knew this would not be simple, and so they would possibly face some doubts from family members.

“Even though we were both Gujarati and there were a lot of cultural similarities, there was also a lot of unknown from the families’ perspectives which led to some hesitation,” says Hirva.

However as time went on, these qualms quietened. The next Could, Hirva visited Nikhil in the US, and met his household for the primary time.

Hirva and Nikhil got married in November 2012 in India. Here they are on their wedding day, which they say was "beautiful and intimate."

Hirva and Nikhil received married in November 2012 in India. Here they’re on their wedding ceremony day, which they are saying was “beautiful and intimate.”


“As Hirva was packing her bags and about to leave for the airport, I asked her if she could envision a life in the US and asked her to marry me,” remembers Nikhil.

“She said ‘Yes’ as her eyes teared up. I didn’t have a ring since this was not planned, but I remember tying a piece of string around her finger.”

Later that 12 months, in November 2012, Hirva and Nikhil received married in India. As promised, Hirva invited all of the enterprise college buddies who’d teased her about her lengthy distance Skype calls.

The occasion was “a very small wedding by Indian standards,” says Hirva, however it was “the most beautiful and intimate” ceremony.

The couple Honeymooned in Goa, the place the place it had all started. They did not go clubbing this time spherical. As an alternative, they spent the times, as Hirva places it, “hanging out at the beach, eating good food, being newlyweds.”

A decade on

Here's Hirva and Nikhil pictured earlier in 2022.

Here’s Hirva and Nikhil pictured earlier in 2022.

Nikhil & Hirva

As we speak, Hirva and Nikhil reside fortunately collectively in a suburb within the midwestern US with their three children. Hirva works with a consulting agency and Nikhil is a doctor.

The couple say they work by means of life collectively, navigating the nice and the unhealthy, and every little thing in between, aspect by aspect.

“After being with her, it seems like any sort of roadblocks, whether it’s career wise, or life wise, that have come my way, we’ve tackled it together, always,” says Nikhil.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint what makes it work,” says Hirva. “But what stood out right from the start is that we were just really comfortable with each other, it was a lot of ease.”

Hirva provides that she thinks she and Nikhil completely complement one another.

“He has a very intense personality, and that might have something to do with the fact that he lost his father at a young age. So I kind of bring that fun and lightness in his life, and we kind of balance each other out,” she says.

These days when New Year’s Eve rolls round, the couple usually tend to be discovered internet hosting buddies at residence than clubbing on the seashore. However they all the time replicate on how they got here to fulfill in Goa.

“It certainly has significance,” says Hirva of December 31. “We consider it our real anniversary.”

“A lot of things happened serendipitously for us to meet,” provides Nikhil, who says he usually finds himself reflecting on the truth that he was solely in India — and subsequently solely met Hirva — due to a tragedy, the dying of his father.

“I’m a scientist, I like to see objective data. My worldview is not somebody who believes in things that are not measurable, empiric, grounded in science. But the way that this happened always gives me pause,” he says.

He has a vivid reminiscence of being en path to Goa, and feeling, towards the chances, that “something good is going to happen.”

“In hindsight when I think about that, the scientist in me says it’s just putting meaning to circumstance and meaning to happenstance,” says Nikihl.

“But it always does make me sort of pause and think, was this something that was meant to be? I don’t know if I believe in that. But it’s hard to sort of put all the circumstances together and think otherwise.”

Prime graphic by Alberto Mier, CNN. Pictures courtesy Nikhil & Hirva