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In a classic example of love across the border, Music Director and producer Abhijit Vaghani and his wife Suriya’s modern-day fairytale story is one that will leave you believing in true love… A story we only hear in books or watch in movies! Here’s how it goes...
I met Suriya for the first time in Mumbai about 9 years ago. Suriya was working with an Ad agency based out of Pakistan and was visiting India for a work assignment. While our companies were in no way related, we ended up meeting each other through a mutual friend who insisted I do a jingle for the shoot that Suriya was here for. We met briefly for a couple of hours the first day to discuss work and there was nothing more to it. The second day is when I found myself getting attracted towards her. It was pretty much like a bollywood scene. She walked into the studio, drenched in water (thanks to the Mumbai rains!) and I just couldn’t take my eyes of! I threw her hints a couple of times but she wouldn’t understand. With nothing else left to do, I finally got the courage to text her that I liked her. And that too when she was sitting right next to me! Suriya at that time lied to me that she already had a boyfriend. She did not want to get into the whole India-Pakistan issue. Fair enough, it’s really not easy when you come from different religions and different countries.
Before she left, Suriya did tell me that while she did not really have a boyfriend, she couldn’t think of us together due to the difference in backgrounds. I am a Hindu-Gujarati while she a Muslim from Pakistan. But that did not stop us from talking on the phone. It didn’t take us long to fall in love over phone chats. But the Indo-Pak issue stopped us from declaring our love and committing to each other. We needed our parents approval before anything. Her mom was based out of Australia at that point and I decided to go meet her, take her consent. My next task was to fly down to Pakistan and speak with her father. Luckily for us, they both weren’t all that difficult to convince. Also, I loved Pakistan. Suraiya stayed in Rawalpindi and the city is beautiful. I’ve been there 6 times now and it’s always been amazing.
It was after getting consent from her parents that we actually started dating. While it was difficult to meet in India or Pakistan on a regular basis due to visa issues, we often met in other countries - Singapore, Bangkok, Australia. Our love was so strong that I even got a tattoo of her name on my chest, in Urdu! When the time came for marriage, it was another topic altogether. I had to convert to Islam to get married and while my parents were unhappy about it, I planned to go ahead with it anyway. Even our venue was a tough choice since most people I knew were apprehensive about going to Pakistan for the wedding. We finally decided to have a court marriage in Australia (she has an Australian citizenship) followed by a dreamy Nikah on a boat with the water adding all the charm to the setup. But for our families happiness, we followed this up with a celebration in Pakistan and India. We had the sangeet, the reception and everything that a regular wedding has.
But that’s not where it ends. We wanted to settle back in India because I am in the bollywood music industry and Suraiya could easily pick up a similar job here. In fact, she was the one who suggested this in the first place. But unfortunately, the administration was difficult. My wife had to go back to Pakistan every few months for a month or two to renew her visa. She’d sometimes get a visa for 3 months, at times for an year, and even after living in India for about 2 years, the problem continued. With no choice left, we decided to move out.
Dubai is where we stay now. Travelling back and forth from Dubai to Delhi or Mumbai is easy and it did not take long for Suriya to find a job. Though she always stressed over how I would manage living in Dubai and working in bollywood, somethings are just worth the effort. I travel a lot but I’m trying to reduce it as much so that I can spend maximum time with her. It is difficult in a lot of ways but it’s all worth it. We’ve been married for 5 years now and despite the struggles, we’re both so proud of the beautiful life we’ve made for ourselves.
We’ve got two lovely dogs. We love them as our children. We are thinking of growing our family too… It’s been long due! And while that will happen, for now we’re happy to be finally settled.
About Abhijit Vaghani: Abhijit has been the background score director & producer for many hit movies such as Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, Kurbaan, Dilke pass unplugged), Anjaana Anjaani, Band Bajaa Baraat, Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwani, Kaabil and over 50 movies. He has also been the music director for many a songs and his remixes such as Oh hohoho (Hindi Medium), Tera Naam Jhapdi Phira (Cocktail), Afghan Jalebi (Drumbek Version), Chammak Challo (Ra.One), Tujhe Bhula Diya (AnjaanaAnjaani) among others have broken chart records.