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Gaya and Aniruddha Perfect Proposal Story
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You cannot vote for this story anymore, as this story participated in constest that ended on August 31, 2011

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Gaya and Aniruddha Perfect Proposal Story

You cannot vote for this story anymore, as this story participated in constest that ended on August 31, 2011

The first movie that Gaya and I watched together was Amelie, a french film about a shy and eccentric french girl who does good deeds for people while pursuing her love interest at the same time. As far as romantic comedies go, it's right up there with You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally (in other words, pretty awesome - I highly recommend it). In the movie, Amelie's father is depicted as a lonely guy who spends all his time gardening because he is depressed about the untimely death of his wife (Amelie's mom). One of his most treasured possessions is a garden gnome, which he has used to build a shrine outside the house in memory of his wife.

Seeing how sad her dad is, Amelie steals the garden gnome one day. She photoshops the garden gnome into pictures of famous world attractions to make it seem as though the gnome has visited each of those places. She then sends these photoshopped pictures to her father, who is totally confused and starts to think that the inanimate garden gnome is somehow traveling all over the world. This confusion eventually inspires the father to get out of his funk and travel himself.

Anyway, I borrowed the garden gnome concept for the proposal. A few weeks before we left for India, I rewatched Amelie with Gaya to make sure the movie was fresh in her mind. Then I stole a stuffed toy that she owns (a bear called Mr. Clutch, the first gift I gave her) and had him photoshopped into pictures of various places we were going to visit on our trip (my friend Ajaya helped with this part). I used these pictures to make postcards addressed from Mr. Clutch and slipped them to Gaya one by one over the course of the trip. I timed the postcard deliveries to make it seem as though the bear was always one step ahead of us.

The list of postcards (major places we visited) in chronological order is as follows: Gateway of India (Mumbai), Pune (city where I was born), Allepey Backwaters (Kerala), Kanyakumari (Southernmost tip of India in Tamil Nadu), Meenakshi Temple (Tamil Nadu), Rameshwaram (Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu), and Dhanushkodi (tip of Pamban Island, Tamil Nadu). Dhanushkodi is of special importance to us because it is the closest point in India to Sri Lanka, which is where Gaya is from. It also holds important Hindu mythological significance as it is the location where King Rama (avatar of Vishnu) built a bridge to Sri Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of Ravana. Here's some more detail:

Dhanushkodi is one of the craziest and most remote places I've ever visited. It is a narrow strip of sand surrounded by the Bay of Bengal on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. We rented a jeep that took us to the very tip of the peninsula, which was no more than a few feet wide. Other than the jeep driver and a group of 5 people a few hundred feet away, we were the only people there. It literally felt as though we were standing on the ocean. Once we got there, we found pawprints leading to Mr. Clutch (my parents helped with this part). Gaya picked up the bear in surprise and I asked her to check if he was ok.

When I first gave her the bear over three years ago, I had added a recorded sound in its paw that went off when you pressed it. After I stole the bear from her, I switched this sound to the other paw and put a second recorded sound with the proposal into the original paw. When Gaya picked up the bear at Dhanushkodi and pressed its hand to see if the sound still worked properly, she was surprised to hear me proposing to her instead. At that point I dropped to one knee and opened the box containing the ring. All in all, everything worked out perfectly.

Some random/funny notes:
1) Gaya was so surprised when I got down on my knee that instead of saying "yes", she said "I do". From that point on, "I do" became an inside joke for the rest of the vacation.
2) Allegedly, one of the same rocks that was used to build Rama's bridge is preserved in a small hut-like temple on Pamban Island. It's a big porous rock that floats in water that we had the chance to touch and take pictures of.
3) My friend Tsung-Han had given me a cuban cigar a while back. To celebrate the success of my proposal, I lit it up Red Auerbach style.
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