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

WKND - - Stories Of Love Celebrating Mums - by karen ann Monsy and Jan­ice ro­drigues photos by Juidin bernarrd and rahul gaj­jar

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,

“Y4

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).

[email protected] khalee­j­times. com

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