- Tina Nandi
The Story of Us
The first time I spoke to Robert over the phone, I was standing outside Dadar station in Bombay and I could hardly believe my ears.
6 years ago, Robert moved to India from his “gaon” as he would say, and he left no holes in his attempt to acclimatise to life in India, more specifically to Bombay, a city that he has wholeheartedly embraced and loves unconditionally. He speaks Hindi like nobody’s business, a fact that my whole extended family is so amused and amazed by. But that’s only one of the many amazing things about this man, as I am learning every day.
We became friends in 2011 while I was working alongside our mutual friend and incredibly talented filmmaker Ben Stamper in Bombay. A few days after I left, I had the loveliest email from Robert. He said some really nice things about me and asked if we might get to know each a little better.
I was amazed, awed, and honoured and I wanted to say yes! But I was not at a place at that point to accept this sweet man’s get-to-know-each-other proposal.
And so we remained friends. Soon enough, Rob became that guy that I would think of first when I had to make an important decision – like quitting my job and starting my own photography business!
About a year later, after many more ups, downs and winding roads, I asked Rob if we could go out on a date. And we did…
And the rest, as clichéd as it may sound, really is history.
We dated for all of two months and on my 25th birthday, Rob asked me to marry him and I said yes, without a doubt in my mind, I said yes.
Hours before he began his journey from Mumbai to New York, the magnificent human being and wonderful filmmaker Ben Stamper and I sat down for dinner. Knowing time was short, I cut the conversational line and got straight to the point: I thought Tina was amazing. Although I only knew Tina through her blog and through a few hours of shared company in Bombay (in which we did not really speak directly to one another), I knew that she was a jewel. I narrated my impressions to Ben, who then sighed and said, “She will need at least a year before beginning a new relationship. A year minimum.”
Being the impatient person I am, I wrote to Tina that evening, sharing my thoughts. Thoughts of why she is a wonderful woman I admired, and whom I would like to get-to-know-better. Tina thanked me for the kind letter, and graciously informed that she was not able to accept the offer.
I was disappointed. But I was also a platonic admirer of Tina and her art by this time. I wanted to see her strive, see her grow in her photography and writing, which I knew to be her heartfelt passions.
Tina would write to me sporadically, often catching me by surprise. The disappointment of silence would be broken by the joy of a brief (or sometimes not so brief) email, seeking advice for one thing or another. The journey of our separate lives continued, and Tina would eventually quit her job (with my full support), and start her own photography business. This radical move would only (secretly) serve to increase my deep admiration for her!
Then, one day in late 2012, approximately one year after we first met, Tina did something I never ever expected: she asked me if we could go on a date. I was shocked, thrilled, surprised exponentially, and oh so excited!!!1 Ben was right!
Quickly thereafter the puzzle pieces of our fractured lives began to fit beautifully together, and we never looked back.
On 13 February 2013, without a doubt in my mind, I asked Tina to marry me, and this time, with tears in her eyes, the woman I love, admire, and am inspired by said “Yes.”