How I Met Your Mother
This Mother’s Day, we let The Dads Do The Talking. From Meeting The love of Their lives To The birth of Their kids, Find out what These proud Dubaibased pops have To say about Their wives and Motherhood
It’s a story that every kid wants to hear: how did mum and dad meet? ( Because isn’t that where everything began?) So , i n celebration of Mother’s Day on March 21, we got a bunch of lovely families around town to do a retelling of their happily- ever- afters for their children — and us ( kids aren’t the only ones who love hearing these tales!). Some tell of blossoming romance and others of sheer chance, some of faith and others of fate, but love is at the centre of them all: much like what our mums are best known for. Here are their stories of how it all began.
DAD: alexandre Darré, French- Italian, 45 MUM: Sandra Pavlowsky, French, 45 Daughter: Sasha Darré- Pavlowsky, 11
“It was more than 15 years ago, when I met your mother. I was living in London at the time, and in the middle of changing jobs. I decided to go on holiday for a bit, to think about the different job offers I had and to make the right choice for my life... What better way than while enjoying the sun and sea, playing tennis and having fun! I chose to go to the other side of the world, to the beautiful island of Cuba — but I didn’t know that those holidays would change my life forever.
It was during the last week of my stay that I noticed her… your mum… sitting by the pool. She was stunning! All day long, she kept to herself, reading this huge book, and not paying much attention to those around her. Even after refreshing herself in the pool every now and then, she’d sit on the steps — and still that book would be in her hands!
I saw many gentlemen trying their best to approach her and engage her in conversation. Systematically, she kindly — but firmly — ‘ dismissed’ them, before returning to her book... Too soon, it was mylast night at the hotel. I remember seeing her dancing the salsa — and, wow, was she an amazing dancer! I was leaving the next day though, so did not take the chance to talk to her.
Imagine my surprise when I saw her again, queuing up just in front of me at the Havana airport! The airport, however, was quite disorganised and I could see your mum was looking quite impatient. The staff basically needed everyone’s passports plus the payment for the exit visa, but no one was disciplined
enough to make the process smooth. That’s when my Salsa Lady ( your mum) raised her voice, asking everyone to simply put the required $ 100 into their passports and hand them to her so she could pass them on to the customs officer. She turned to me to take my passport and, for the first time, our eyes met.
We passed through airport control together, and started talking. As luck would have it, we were flying back to France on the same flight, but it was delayed for more than two hours. So, together with some other French passengers who had, like us, been holidaying in Cuba ( some were even from the same hotel!), we sat down and got talking. All of us decided we’d organise a brunch together back in Paris to keep in touch. And that’s how we met again after that day… and again later on. I had to go back to London soon, but travelled every week to see her. We fell in love and, two years later, during another holiday, I proposed to the lady I met at the Havana airport — only this time, we were together and in Dubai.
All our friends came from around the world to our wedding in Paris a year later. And 10 months after that, we received the most beautiful gift — you! Your mumcalled you ‘ our flower of love’ — and, indeed, that is what you are.”
His take on motherhood
“The woman I married was not only a beautiful woman but she also became a beautiful mother. Since the day Sasha was born, she has always been there for her. She is passing on to her the values of life that we share, along with her love, her strength, her intelligence and beauty. She is showing her the way — and I am sure that Sasha too will, one day, become a beautiful woman under Sandra’s loving care.” ( Alexandre is an asset manager in Dubai and Sandra works in strategy and management consultancy.)
dad: nabin maharjan, Nepalese, 32 mum: nicola maharjan, British, 38 daughter: maya maharjan, 8 months
“Ireally believe it was fate that I met your mother in 2011. I was working in a resort in Chitwan National Park in Nepal. Nicola and her friend Sam were taking a break from Dubai and travelling around, doing some trekking and sightseeing. Chitwan National Park was the last spot on their itinerary and where I met her for the first time. I was supposed to be in Kathmandu during the three days they stayed at the resort, but plans had changed last minute and so I was the one on duty during their visit. To be honest, at first she was just another tourist to me. She seemed to be interested in talking to me and was always around the resort, playing cards or reading books, and we always had a good laugh. When it was time for them to leave, she left me her business card and I gave her mine. We became friends on Facebook and she messaged me to say that she had a great time and was looking forward to meeting again in the future. We kept in touch with each other on Facebook, email, Messenger, and finally, Skype. After six months, I asked her if she fancied seeing some rain, as it was raining in Nepal and I know she liked the season. She said she would love to and booked the flight the week after!
She came to Kathmandu for the weekend and stayed for four days. We both enjoyed spending time with each other — so much so that she extended her stay for another week. We travelled around in Nepal, spent time with my friends, and just had a great time. On the last day of her stay, as we were having breakfast together, I was checking my email and — call it fate or destiny — I had been offered a job in Abu Dhabi. We were both so excited. I took the job and came to Abu Dhabi at the end of 2011. We dated for three- and- a- half years and got married in September 2014 in the UK, with a traditional ceremony in Nepal in October 2014. The rest is history.”
“It was myauntie whofirst saw your mother and considered her a potential match for me. She knew Ritu’s aunt well, and that’s how the proposal was discussed with both our parents. Ritu and were shown photos of each other and her parents invited us home to see her, as was the custom. But I told my parents that I’d seen her photo and it was enough for me. I didn’t need to go over to see her; if she was okay with it too, I preferred to go straight to the engagement ceremony. It was a huge life decision, of course. Perhaps you’re wondering how I made that decision based on a photo. But I didn’t want to go through a lengthy process of seeing multiple girls. I just said, whatever happens, we will make it work.
That’s how, on October 19, 1986, what was an invite for a casual visit at her uncle’s house in Delhi turned into a formal ‘ ring ceremony’, where your mother and I got engaged! I still remember the way she looked — as lovely as the moon.
So, that is how I met Ritu. It was, what I like to call, an ‘ arranged love marriage’, because we only got married in May 1989, after courting for almost two- anda- half years. I was in the States, setting
dad: sanjay Chaturvedi, Indian, 52 mum: ritu Chaturvedi, Indian, 48 sons: aeshwarya Chaturvedi,
25, and shaurya Chaturvedi, 23
His take on motherhood
“Nicola does everything a mother would do to bring the baby up properly and I am very proud of that. She is also training for the London Marathon in April and the dedication you need for that makes me really proud that she is able to do that, while taking such good care of our daughter.
She always puts the family first and I know that, no matter what, she will always be there for our daughter — that makes her the best mum, in my eyes! I believe that motherhood is a very important part of life, and an amazing experience. That being said, dads also play an important part in bringing up a child. I love getting involved in daily activities like play time, giving our daughter a bath and taking her out in the stroller. There needs to equal understanding between both parents in order to bring up the baby well.” ( Nabin is a professional photographer and Nicola is the co- founder and manager of an events company in Dubai.)
Perhaps you’re wondering how i made the decision based on a Photo. but i just said, whatever happens, we will make it work
— SANJAY CHATURVEDI
up my business; she was in India, finishing her Masters… The only way to communicate was through regular letters. Phone calls were few and meetings even more rare. In those days, it took about 15 days for a letter to reach the other party. But we wrote to each other faithfully every week, whether or not we received a reply for the previous letter. Interestingly, both of us saved our letters — we’ve still got the 300- plus letters we wrote to each other back then, including the cuttings of personal messages we’d place in the Times of India occasionally! We had to wait more than two years to get married, but it was worth the wait.”
His take on motherhood
“Our kids are grown up now and, of course, a lot of the credit for rearing them goes to my wife. I think her motherhood is best reflected in how our sons turned out. She has always maintained a very close relationship with them — and, of course, turned out the most amazing food at home. Ritu has always been career- oriented but chose to devote her time to raising the boys — at least till they started going to school by themselves. It was only in 2000 that she started pursuing her career again. Her ability to manage both personal and professional duties is one I always admire. Motherhood is a tough job — the ups and downs can barely be described — but it is a very rewarding one, the fruits of which we enjoy in our sons to this day.” ( Sanjay is a businessman, and Ritu teaches at a special needs school while also running the fussfreecookingblog. wordpress. com in her spare time.)
dad: Wisam mahmood, Iraqi, 41 mum: anisa al sharif, Emirati, 41 daughter: Jana,
our mother and I have a c o mmon friend who used to live and work in the UAE and later moved to Qatar for work. In 2010, on one of his visits to the UAE, he called all his old friends for a gathering in a Dubai café. This was the first time I met your mother, despite us both having this common friend since 2002! We just hadn’t had the chance to meet before then, as one of us was always missing from those social engagements when the other attended. But something clicked from the first moment I laid eyes on her. I started making excuses to be at every gathering where there was a chance I would meet her. Then, I asked her if she would accept my friend request on Facebook, and the answer was “Yes, but with a cost” — and it was said with a smile. That cost was a cup of cappuccino and a T- shirt with Arabic calligraphy of the word ‘ Shukran’ written on it ( which, in Arabic, means ‘ Thank You’).
We were married one year after that first meeting!”
His take on motherhood
“Every single moment in our life together, I have a sense of appreciation for how my wife contributes to getting our family together. I don’t believe I will ever forget those hours when she was in pain during labour, giving birth to our daughter. It actually makes me appreciate my mum more as well. And, of course, I can’t help but appreciate my wife when I look into her eyes and see how she is raising our little angel. I believe that motherhood is a life- changer and a heavenly role. There are so many qualities that make Anisa a wonderful mother — she is caring, empathetic, strong, funny, patient, and she loves unconditionally. I truly believe that it is a mother’s love that shapes individuals — although a father’s role shouldn’t be forgotten, since parenting is a partnership.” ( Wisam is the managing director and co- founder of Zoom In Photography while Anisa worked with Dubai Government for 13 years. She currently manages Zoom In Photography with Wisam).
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