They say that love finds you in unexpected places. For Ritambhara Kumar ’09, that place was the catwalk of the South-Asian fashion show “Andaaz” in May 2007.
Her future husband, Neil K. Aggarwal, had the “dubious distinction” of being the only graduate student in the show, she said.
Kumar, at the time a sophomore, made the first move by e-mailing Aggarwal, a graduate student in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, after the show.
The two had a four-hour first date at Café Pamplona and spent nearly all their time together while Aggarwal finished his master’s degree. When he graduated that spring, they continued to see each other long-distance. Kumar made frequent trips to New Haven, where Aggarwal is now conducting a residency at Yale to become a psychiatrist.
“I should be the Greyhound or the Amtrak brand ambassador,” Kumar said.
This spring, with Kumar’s friends gathered at Small Plates for tea, Aggarwal proposed—though Kumar will have to wait until the official engagement ceremony on June 7 for a ring.
While most undergraduates still tremble at the idea of marriage, Kumar said she never had that “phobia” and that she realized almost immediately that Aggarwal was the right man for her. She says he, on the other hand, “took a little bit more convincing.”
“It’s not so much about the timing but about the person,” she said. “I cannot imagine spending my life in a better way than with Neil. It seemed inevitable to me.”
Kumar said that her parents, whose marriage was arranged, and her friends have been very supportive of her decision to marry Aggarwal.
Although Kumar said she looks forward to the couple’s late December wedding, she admitted that with 1,000 expected guests from around the world, it will be quite “chaotic.” The wedding, a traditional three-day Hindu affair, will take place in Mumbai, where the bride’s family lives.
Next year, Kumar and Aggarwal will live together in New Haven as Aggarwal continues his residency and Kumar, an economics concentrator, begins a job at the investment firm Bridgewater. The couple has not yet picked a honeymoon destination, but Kumar said that they may travel to Morocco or Turkey.