“Went for a Smoke Break. Fell in Love.” How Vaidehi Met Sriram in a Mumbai BPO
One of them even blocked the other on BBM!
Most of us are part of what we call the ‘daytime crowd’. We wake up when the sun shines, and usually hit the bed like good children at godly hours of 10:30/11:00 pm. But in metros such as Mumbai, there exists another kind - the one that works the night shift. Mumbai and its suburbs have a thriving BPO culture, where people who are good at adjusting their body clock come together and provide valuable support to clients on the other side of the world. When the rest of us get up from our beds to go to work, or are taking our first sutta break at 12 noon, the night shift gang slides back into their beds. This story is about two of them, who happened to share, not a shift, but a common smoking zone at work.
Vaidehi worked in one such BPO where she handled inbound calls for a UK process. Sriram, who worked in the same company, was a trainer for the US process. For those not familiar with BPO jargon, this meant they were serving different time-zones, and so worked different shifts. But the one thing that was common between them was the smoking zone. That’s where they started chatting with each other. Not that smokers need an excuse to look forward to their sutta break, but Vaidehi and Sriram had very good reasons. But as luck would have it, Sriram moved on from the company soon after.
A lazier person would have probably given up, but not Vaidehi. She found someone who knew Sriram, asked for his number and reconnected with him. Mind you, this was a time when Facebook and Instagram weren’t so common. So believe us when we say, chasing someone down by getting their number, was probably the only way. Lo and behold, it turns out Sriram was trying to find a way to connect with her as well. They went on a date, which involved 12 pitchers of beer - so you kinda know the date went well.
Up until then, things seemed smooth, but here’s the clincher - they were from different backgrounds. She’s Gujarati and he’s a Tamil Brahmin. On top of that, Vaidehi’s parents were eager to get her married. They even made her meet another guy, even though she had already made up her mind about saying no to him as she was already dating Sriram. Turns out, this new guy (names shall not be named) ended up liking her, and before she could say anything, it was decided that a quick engagement was on the cards. To not jeopardize her dad’s health, she relented, knowing fully well that she’d eventually break it off.
Now here’s where the story gets kind of funny in hindsight. Vaidehi called up Sriram to tell him that she’s engaged, but before she could complete her sentence, and let him know that she was about to end it soon, a grumpy Sriram just said “Congratulations!” and hung up. This was the days of the Blackberry, and Sriram had blocked her on BBM! Vaidehi had to call up his friends, and tell them the whole story, only then did he unblock her. Phew!
Around 2012, Vaidehi and Sriram married each other - they recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. They’re one of those couples who’ve really seen Mumbai change - for better and worse. From BBM and 2000/- Meru cab days to the age of WhatsApp and cheaper rideshares, they’ve seen it all.
Vaidehi and Sriram’s story is part of a series of real stories of real people living in Mumbai. If such love stories melt your heart then don't fail to watch Modern Love: Mumbai, only on Amazon Prime Video.
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