A couple whose eight-year romance blossomed into a fairytale Times Square engagement during a #DMUglobal trip to New York are looking forward to a more straightforward Valentine’s Day.
Dinner out and a simple rose will be enough on Thursday for De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student Soniya Kara, who is in her final year studying Pharmacy.
Photos by Marry My Dreams
After all, it’s only a month since she was on a #DMUglobal trip to New York when her schooldays sweetheart Chintan Patel flew out to the Big Apple to surprise her by catching her in the iconic Times Square and going down on one knee.
“It’s actually been really overwhelming since we got back – lots of people have contacted me from back in the day with messages of congratulations after hearing or reading about it,” explained 25-year-old Soniya.
She and Chintan, 26, now a dentist in Leicester, had been dating for eight years since meeting as students at the city’s Queen Elizabeth College.
Before the trip, he had discreetly asked permission from her parents for their daughter’s hand in marriage, and roped a select few of her student friends into the secret to make sure she was in the right place at the right time in New York.
“I don’t know how they all kept it quiet, especially my parents!
“Normally he goes out to football on Friday nights but that’s when he flew out to New York – I didn’t have a clue.
“We went shopping and I was really tired, I was actually feeling quite ill, but because it was a trip of a lifetime, I carried on. We’d planned to get dressed up and go out for dinner so I didn’t want to let my friends down.
“The girls got me to Times Square – and then I just saw him running to me. I started crying. I knew straight away what he was going to do. He got down on one knee and said ‘I came here to ask you to be my wife.’
“Everyone was clapping, all the people made a circle around me. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”
Since returning, the happy pair have been busy visiting venues and planning their traditional Indian engagement celebrations, which will be some time this August, with their wedding pencilled in for the following summer.
For Soniya, it’s not just the wedding plans that will keep her busy, she’ll be doing her final year degree exams and then, in August, starts a job as a trainee pharmacist at Boots, which she got after impressing during a placement last year at a High Street branch in Coventry.
“The ring felt quite heavy for a while and I keep looking at it whenever I’m trying to revise. It took a couple of weeks for it to really sink in what had happened.
“Chintan thinks of himself as a little celebrity now at work. His patients come in and say ‘you’ve been busy, we read in the paper about you’.”
One thing’s for sure, Chintan will find his New York surprise a little hard to beat if he’s planning another unexpected treat this Valentine’s Day.
Posted on Tuesday 12th February 2019