Shenila Rajani & Shehzad Amlani
December 21-24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California
Shehzad Amlani was good friends with Shenila Rajan’s cousin, Asif. Through a non-profit organization by the name of Aga Khan Foundation, the two had worked on many projects together. One day, Asif was talking to Shehzad’s sister-in-law when Shenila’s name popped up, prompting them to persuade Shehzad to send her a text. At the time, Shehzad was studying Podiatry at Barry University in Florida and Shenila was graduating from Optometry school in California.
“We both were not looking for anything serious, and were frightened to reject each other because of our relations to my cousin,” Shenila recalls. “One day, my friend had mentioned to me that some men sound like frogs, and that I should call Shehzad to find out. I laughingly told Shehzad this, and his first word over the phone was ‘ribbit.’ Things changed for us when he first flew down to Manhattan Beach from Miami.”
For their first date, the pair went to Griffith Observatory. “He says it was love at first sight for him; I think it’s because I had worn the Spurs jersey he bought me over a bet,” Shenila says. “He soon began flying East Coast to West Coast every two weeks. It was the most thrilling part of our courtship. I learned he was intelligent, kindhearted, and my prince charming."
When Shehzad said “I love you” for the first time, Shenila responded with “I think I love you too.” That moment marked a serious turn in their relationship. “After a few weeks, I knew I was in love with him,” Shenila adds. “He would think of me before his own needs. He eventually asked me how sure I was of him. My response was, 83 percent sure. He started asking me every day afterwards. In the end of September, I said 100 percent.” A month later, Shehzad set up a secret gondola ride for Shenila’s birthday weekend. While watching the sunset, Shenila found a floating glass bottle with a note inside. It read, “Will you marry me?”
Prior to their wedding celebration, the couple had a court marriage, which included vows they each had written. “It was amazing to hear what my future husband thought of me and how he imagined our future to be,” Shenila describes. “After fourteen months of rigorous planning, our wedding week in December was here. It was the most thrilling and amazing time of our lives. We had people visiting from India, Pakistan, Canada, Holland, China, and throughout the United States. The best way to describe the ambiance of the wedding is by a compliment I received from one of my guests. She said, ‘What a lovely, warm, spiritual event, and what lovely speeches. I was so moved.’ There is such a thing as ‘happily ever after,’ and I did find my prince charming.”
>Written by: Lauren Malamala