The love story of Mina Shankar and Dr. Aditya Radhakrishnan shares a theme with many others of late: he got Covid and she stood by him, even though their relationship was still new.
While important in their journey as a couple, that experience is not what their love story is about. It is instead based upon the faith both had in the judgment of their parents, whose help neither had exactly asked for, but also did not refuse, when looking for a suitable partner.
“They were just trying to help me out, use whatever their resources were.” Dr. Radhakrishnan said of his parents. “I said, I’ll keep an open mind.”
Said Ms. Shankar, “My mom is the one who introduced my sister-in-law to my brother, and they’ve been married 10 years now.” She added, “My mom obviously has my best interests at heart.”
Ms. Shankar, 32, was living in London when her mother offered in 2015 to create and manage a profile for her on BrahminMatrimony.com, a marriage-minded website for people of Indian descent. In the ensuing years, her mother had sent dozens of potential suitors. But none really interested Ms. Shankar, who is a portfolio manager at Schroders, a British asset management company, in New York.
Dr. Radhakrishnan, 33, was going through a similar process, proctored by his father, using the same website. Then living in New York, he would reject potential matches one after the next.
“My mom thought I was being picky,” said Dr. Radhakrishnan, who is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and sees psychiatry patients at Bellevue Hospital.
Their parents had initially connected in 2017 about the couple’s marrying potential, ultimately deciding not to introduce their children to one another until Ms. Shankar returned to the United States.
In January 2020, Ms. Shankar had relocated to New York and their parents had suggested they might be compatible. That February, she and Dr. Radhakrishnan met for drinks and dinner in Midtown Manhattan.
“It was just really easy to communicate with him,” said Ms. Shankar, who graduated from Northwestern and received an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. “I felt like I already knew him.”
“I think at the end we were both pleasantly surprised,” said Dr. Radhakrishnan, who graduated from NYU and received a medical degree from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
Weeks later, just as the coronavirus lockdowns began in March 2020, Dr. Radhakrishnan contracted Covid. The couple were only a handful of dates into their relationship.
“I made it very clear to her: I am at risk every day,” he said. “But she still chose to hang out with me and see me.”
By the time he completed isolation, they were inseparable. (She never did get sick, even though, he said, “I was coughing on her.”)
“He’s an extrovert and I’m an introvert, so this is such a natural fit,” Ms. Shankar said, adding that she found an echo of her own parents’ relationship in their dynamic. “We complement each other so well.”
“She balances me,” Dr. Radhakrishnan said. “I’m happy just sitting on the couch and watching a silly reality TV show with her, which is something I never would have imagined.”
By the fall of 2020, each had been introduced to the other’s family. He met hers virtually, on FaceTime, and she met his in person at an Indian restaurant in Midtown.
“It sounds so simple, but I felt like I could relate to him,” Ms. Shankar said. “We both grew up in the US, and we were both Indian American, emphasis on both: American upbringing, Indian values.”
The following year, in February 2021, they moved into an apartment in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood. That August, they became engaged.
The couple married May 13, at Crystal Plaza, an events space in Livingston, NJ Ganapathy Kailasanathan, a Hindu priest, led the ceremony and the bride’s brother, Ravi Shankar, officiated after being ordained as a Universal Life minister for the occasion.
The success of her own relationship, Ms. Shankar said, has led to a sudden demand for her mother’s expertise.
“My friends, now that my mom is done with us, ask me, Can we have your mom look for guys for us?” she said. “I have not actually asked her, but I think she would do it! She enjoys seeing my brother and me being happy. ”