The word fall in love always intrigued me. It is true that you truly fall in love 😍 But when done right you can rise in love too. My story is an example of rising in love.

I met Sabareesh as my colleague in our software engineering days. As a competitive spirit I truly hated him for his competency and mastery in coding. What takes me 20 lines of code to achieve, he will slay it in 4. I truly envied his ability to code. As luck may have it, we both were put together in a class project together in the training batch and I was so hesitant to be in that group. But I decided to live it for another 2 weeks and call my training done. Most importantly I sweared not to see his face again.

The project started and we both gave our best. I don’t even remember what our other team members did in that project. I slowly started loving his class structures, derivatives and the style of writing code. I learnt a ton in a short period of time. I started surrendering my ego and approached him with a learners mindset. He was an amazing teacher. Man of less words.

Our friendship grew after that project. I saw him as my learning buddy. Loved the geeky company. In all our casual talks we surely included Stroustrup and Ralph Johnson in most of our conversations. For folks not from the software world I consider Stroustrup as father of c++ and prof Johnson as a pioneer in software design patterns.

My first experience at work was getting better day by day as I was having amazing work friends to spend time with. The work was meaningful and I was learning everyday.

As days passed my mother slowly started taking the marriage conversations. In my family, if you are a girl child you will be sent to another home in the name of marriage max by 22.

I couldn’t change the family culture so I decided to make my life simpler. I felt, having a friend as a life partner makes a lot more sense than going to someone where I have to start from base. So, I geared up my guts and asked Sabareesh directly what does he want in a life partner. He gave me a long bullet list. After my turn he asked me the same question to me. I gave my honest list without holding back. We compared our lists and the intersection was almost 90%. I was overjoyed and just suggested that, hey at this rate we should marry each other. Without thinking much he also said, YES.

Now when I think about it, I feel like laughing. That proposal was so cerebral to a point I want to disqualify it as a proposal. Lol 😂

We decided to take the next steps of talking to our parents and move to the next milestone. Despite the caste differences our parents were absolutely fine that our marriage didn’t have much dramas. We got married when we both were 23 and that was young for many of our friends.

It took a bit for both of us to shift gears from friendship to a whole new relationship. The difficulty was managing expectations as a companion and a life partner. If any of you married your bestie you know what I am talking about.

Then came the tough choice of long distance relationship of me living in USA 🇺🇸 and he in Singapore 🇸🇬 15 months passed and it was time for us to take a strong decision. Sabareesh suffered from Trigeminal Neuralgia caused by an accident he had when he was 19 years old. A headache, no one should get. He could not brush his teeth, shave, eat or anything normal. Doctors advised a brain surgery. We couldn’t believe what was happening to us.

By then he moved to USA and that was a grace. We geared up our guts and decided to go for the surgery. As a 24 year old I had to sign the consent form that said, I am responsible for whatever happens in the surgery. No one else is. That was the hardest signature.

That was the week I discovered I was pregnant with my first child. A ton of emotions crossed my head and heart about keeping the child and going through the surgery. Phew! That was hard. He was always there smiling. He said we will handle it.

Thank god his head aches disappeared and he started recovering better. Vidhur was growing inside me. Then we were slapped by a 79000 USD bill stating pre existing conditions and we must pay it all up in 2 weeks. Damn!

We did take 20% interest personal loans and paid it off. Our friends and family helped us. But I decided to fight the case against HIPAA compliance. It was the same company all along his career and what is pre existing between Singapore office and American office 🤷‍♀️

Sabareesh wanted me to let go of the case and he decided to work a year for free and pay it off. I didn’t leave it there. I fought the federal court and won the case. My entire pregnancy was lost in the case between us and insurance. Finally the insurance company decided to settle the bill outside the court and it was 26th December 2004, they sent a full check to our home when I brought Vidhur as a baby home from the hospital. We thanked grace and started afresh.

With a new bundle of joy at home, two individuals with strong career orientation,  a new home (condo), two cars, EMIs, family insurance, green card process, getting parents to USA, feeding the baby, handling postpartum and new routines took away all the dreams we had as a couple. Marriage started hitting us. We were dealing with many big projects at the same time. I don't think we were ready to take on so much. Life happened.

Vidhur couldn't handle the cold weather of Chicago. He had severe eczema combined with asthma which made it hard for him everyday. The doctors advised us to move a tropical climate which may help the baby heal better and faster. Without a wink, we decided to move to Singapore. Our life restarted in a new country. Adjusting to new environment took time. That is when i decided to say bye to my technologist career path and embarked on product design as a career path. Sabareesh was killing it in Merillynch. Our careers took off. That is when a new bomb hit us. Vidhur was diagonised with Autism Spectrum Disorder and our world tore apart.

Life has no playbook and hence you keep learning when new situations get to you. We started understanding Autism from its roots. As a mother I was in denial of the diagnosis for almost 8 months. Most days we both slept with moist eyes. A tip for all parents out there, don't go to internet for information gathering when you have a big news to handle. It will only scare you more. Thank god we met Dr.Lakshmi. She was truly god sent. She became our friend, philosopher and guide. She helped us wade through autism for Vidhur and we saw immense progress in the child.

Our reslience grew and we decided to do everything we can for our child including having another child who will be a friend to Vidhur. Hence he was named as Vibhav (friendly and vibrant). We couldn't see the struggle Vidhur had with making friends given his diagnosis. 2008 crisis hit the investment banks. The tension was felt at home. with a new born and a crisis at work is not a great combo. Slowly things settled down. In all this my mother was a pillar of support who helped me immensely in taking care of home and children. I could do my work peacefully because I know that she will take care of things at home better than me. In parallel our careers grew. We had major promotions year after year. Sabareesh became the senior VP at Citi Bank and I was a senior Design manager at HP. We were on a growth path. We bought our first million dollar home, a car, in-home maid and more. All this was considered a big deal in Singapore. Life went on and the next bomb hit us.