Jaanam and Anurag are the newlyweds whose marriage at the Art of Living Ashram seems like a day-dream, given the fact that their meeting itself was outright coincidental!
And yes, the reverie too seemed to have gotten over in a flash, as Anurag rightly feels “holding eternally to the spark and twinkle of their romance is what matters more in glowing love.”
Jaanam was born and brought up in Mumbai and the Mumbaikar completed her Bachelor’s in Mass Media. She is currently working as a Copywriter at a pet care startup ‘Supertails’ based in Bangalore. Her wonderful childhood is something she will always cherish, as her (late) father was with Air India that helped them travel extensively. While travel interests, listening to music and writing is intrinsic to her lifestyle, cooking elaborate dishes remains her forte! Especially recipes she comes across online. “For me, a dish isn’t complete until it is decked with the right garnish, as the ‘chef gene’ is traced to my parents whose heavenly cooking is what I grew up savoring,” she says. Not just food, but consuming information in the form of books, movies and music is what Jaanam is busy taking notes on!
Anurag was born in Chennai and his dad’s bank-job took him around a bit in the country. With early childhood in Mumbai he went back-and-forth living for few years in Aurangabad and Hyderabad, and returning to Mumbai he enrolled for BA in English Literature at St. Xavier’s College. His wings never stopped flapping, as straight away he flew to Goldsmiths College in London for a year of journalism study. The young reporter, after his return, landed working with a music magazine ‘Rolling Stone India’ in Mumbai.’ Since 2011, he has been writing for The Hindu, following an internship, that joyfully continues.
What Anurag does for a living is his hobby! “I pretty much listen to music and write about it for my job. So, going to shows, occasionally playing the guitar and consuming all kinds of art are closest to my heart,” he says adding that his soft spot remains watching animated TV shows since his teenage times.
Let’s find out if there were check-lists that helped the young couple come-together or were they drawn towards each-other at first sight? While Jaanam says she didn’t dream or have any expectations for zeroing in on the man she wanted to marry, she just wanted “to be with someone easy to be with”. And for Anurag, “although it wasn’t love at first sight, it definitely was intrigue at first sight!”
Let’s find out more on the couple’s captivating draw, a story of romance that newly-weds and to-be-married will love to catch-up with!
* Jaanam and Anurag’s meet – and the first impression they gathered for the flow…
Anurag: It’s always been a conversation starter when we talk to people about this. The truth is, we met via Twitter. I had written about the podcast that Jaanam was working on as a producer and the host of the podcast asked Jaanam to share the story on their social media, and Jaanam went to look for my ID on social media. She didn’t find me on Instagram (because I hadn’t joined yet), but she found me on Twitter and gave me a follow.
When I saw this I immediately went to her profile to see who she was and why she would want to follow me. When I found the connection, I also found that she was quite clued into the same kind of music that I was writing about (I’m a music journalist). And she was really amusing as well. Those two things were good enough reasons for me to follow someone on Twitter.
This was just when the pandemic had kicked in, so I think I had no expectations about what would happen even if we were to start speaking. But eventually she had put out a funny tweet and I replied to it, also trying to be witty. I don’t think it landed at all, but I guess I had sort of communicated with her, so I tried to continue the conversation and eventually she started replying. At first it felt like the start of a pandemic friendship where you just speak to someone every day or check in every once in a while. But it was also a time when people were talking about everything quite openly. So the deeper the conversations got, the more we felt connected.
As with my parents and brother, as I’d said before, there were really no expectations, so we were just really going with the flow.
Jaanam: Being in the music and entertainment industry for a while, I had heard of Anurag back in 2015. Even though I knew of him, and we had mutual friends, somehow our paths had never crossed. Whenever someone would mention him casually in a conversation, they would speak very fondly of him.
When Anurag replied to a tweet I’d put out a bit flirtatiously, I was pleasantly surprised. But then again, being a woman, you are used to getting attention from a lot of men on the internet. So I thought of him as just another, but after he reached out to me in my DMs, we started talking more. I started to feel that he was humble and genuine. It was refreshing and the more we spoke, the more I believed this was meant to be. My mom was surprised but also too happy with the news, especially when she learnt more about Anurag after asking me 5,930 questions!!!
* Formalizing, and the wedding celebrations at the Art of Living ashram…
Anurag: We actually started off with a registered wedding in Mumbai. My twin brother and his wife had also got a registered wedding done prior to their wedding ceremony and seeing the simplicity of it and that it was within the confines of an office space made it feel like a simple way to solemnize our relationship. So I pitched this to my parents and they were fine with it. Jaanam’s mom and sister were also happy to go with a registered wedding.
As for the actual wedding ceremony at Art of Living Ashram, I don’t think I ever pictured it till a few days before we started planning. When we were deciding the decorations and arrangements and the food, it felt like everything was being given a simple and straightforward approach, and I think like all the weddings I’ve attended, it was most important to have great food, and that we did!
Jaanam: To be honest, I didn’t want an extravagant wedding. I love attending weddings, but when it came to my own, I didn’t want to take up an excessive over-spread in the planning. I have never understood the exorbitant amounts people continue to spend on wedding ceremonies and all the accompanying festivities. I was glad the wedding at the Art of Living ashram was just right. I loved the simplicity of it all. It felt special and meaningful, and not some wedding that’s just organized to flaunt wealth to the guests attending.
* Wedding decor as color specifics to match bridal wear…
Anurag: Yes. This was something that my mother and Jaanam planned right from the time they went to choose the wedding sari. I bought a kurta and vest which matched her sari in mustard / orange and red hues. With admirable help from the Décor Desk at Madhurya - the restoration art boutique that takes care of the wedding decorations at the Art of Living - we looked through a variety of options and picked colourful and exciting decor arrangements.
*Experiences of having a wedding at the Ashram…
Anurag: When my mother told us that we should consider having the wedding at the Art of Living centre, I was more than happy as the Ashram is a place I’ve visited many times over the years, and a few times with Jaanam as well. One has to see the expanse of the Ashram, and just what a peaceful place it is!
Since it was December, we knew that it would be a cool time to be outdoors and it wouldn’t be too lengthy a ceremony, which we didn’t want to impose upon neither ourselves, nor our family and friends. I think it was a good mix of spiritual and modern in a sense, being at the Ashram. We had a lot of monkeys for company, which was a bonus!!
It was all very smooth and quite straightforward coordinating with all the team members there, although my mother was right there synchronizing them all. The rooms were large and comfortable. The parking was ample. There was plenty of space to eat and walk around when it came to lunch.
Jaanam: In addition to what Anurag already mentioned, I really thought the swing decorated with flowers added a beautiful touch. Everyone enjoyed sitting on that. We even got some of my favourite pictures of us on it.
* The couple’s best wedding memories etched for a lifetime…
Anurag: I think the whole point of weddings, like the one we intended to have, is to be with family and friends, which is why we kept it as concise as possible. I enjoyed tying the mangalsutra to Jaanam even though I caringly fumbled!! But the priest’s lighthearted teasing rejoinders made the moment unforgettable. I also enjoyed the penultimate part of the wedding where Jaanam and I stepped out to look at the star of Arundhati. It was a bright, clear day but we both had to assume we were pointing and looking at the right place in space. We got good photos of that moment.
Jaanam: People closest to me were there. Not to forget that I will cherish the monkeys present at our wedding (I even took a couple of selfies with one!) When we entered, there was also a black indie dog there, climbing the stairs with us!!!