Tamil Love Stories: Maalavika Sundar & Kashyap Raghuraman
We met in May 2021, and then around June, he asked me out. I refused, and we immediately set the wedding date and got married in November 2021.
Parthiban Manoharan
Tech Professional
Toronto, Canada
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To celebrate the month of love, TC and myTamilDate are thrilled to kick off our 'Tamil Love Stories' series. Get ready to be inspired by the incredible journeys of couples from all corners of the diaspora. These stories are sure to awaken the hopeless romantic in all of us!

An introduction by a mutual friend led popular singer and songwriter Maalavika Sundar and former commercial pilot turned entrepreneur Ashwin Kashyap Raghuraman (33 and 32 respectively at that time) to tie the thaali in a matter of months in November 2021. In this feature, Maalavika and Kashyap speak candidly about the ingredients that make their relationship successful in the age of situationships, hook-ups and casual flings.

Maalavika, when you decided to get married to Kashyap, you were quite clear that if you felt a certain level of compatibility at the beginning, you didn’t want to date but to take the plunge. What did this compatibility look like in your initial interactions?

Maalavika: Before Kashyap asked me to date him, we had spent some time together. For me, compatibility means that if I can spend an entire day with a person, feeling a sense of joy and contentment, then there is something worth exploring further. We met in May 2021, and then around June, he asked me out. I refused, and we immediately set the wedding date and got married in November 2021. There would always be something to bicker about when you are living together. The way in which you place your toothbrush may be a pet peeve to the other. But beyond all of that, if you feel that, day in and day out, my day is going to be eventful, we can share things together and talk openly, then that’s all that matters. That’s what I saw in Kashyap.

Kashyap: When I think of a relationship, I never picture having to be a different person in it than when I am by myself. For me, compatibility is being able to be true to yourself, where your partner embraces and even celebrates that person. That’s what compatibility means to me.

It’s been 2 years since you got married. What have you discovered about each other?

Kashyap: There is something new every day! In our case, even though I wanted to pursue the path of dating, we got married immediately. So I feel we benefited from this because even today we are discovering each other. I am not able to pinpoint something very specific but every day has been fantastic.

One thing that initially surprised me, which we have spoken about, is Maalavika’s competitive nature. It could be something very simple. We could be walking on the street, and if I suddenly start running, she will run faster than me. Recently, in a hotel lobby, we got off the elevator and I chumma said, “Let’s see who gets to a particular point first.” She was dressed in her concert attire with heavy clothing. But she raced me! Her competitive nature was my biggest surprise. Now when you identify that it’s part of her personality, you adapt to it and distill the element of fun associated with it. You don’t change it. You embrace it.

Maalavika: There are two specific things I like about Kashyap. Recently, I had a concert at the Music Academy for the Margazhi Season. He was unable to be there in person. Kashyap’s mother, my maamiyar, flew down from Coimbatore to be with me since my parents were also away. After the concert, he called me and to my surprise, I received a big bouquet with a note mentioning “Sorry Maalu. I was unable to be there.” He has done something similar before our marriage. But in the last 2 years, he hasn’t done something like this. It truly felt good. I do like surprises. They don’t need to be extravagant. But small things such as these make a big difference. I observed these qualities in Kashyap before marriage. But when this moment happened, it showed how sweet of a person he continues to be. I’ll be honest that if I were in his shoes, I probably wouldn’t have done this. I would have simply called or messaged, and that would have been it. But Kashyap took that extra step which made it more special. He took such a big effort; he got the bouquet from Sri Lanka!

Another characteristic that I admire about Kashyap is whenever I speak to him about my weaknesses or minuses which I would like to overcome, he somehow identifies a positive take on it. And he would mention, I see this great quality about you, why aren’t you able to identify and tap into it? That’s motivating and when you go through down times in life, these positive reinforcements make a difference.

What did you discover more about yourself being in this relationship?

Kashyap: In general, I am not a very patient person. I have a short fuse when it comes to certain things that happen around me. But Maalavika has helped me see people in a way that I am able to cultivate a sense of calm and patience. If I don't like something, I won’t hold back and provide my feedback in a not-so-courteous manner. Maalavika doesn’t point out this flaw right when I do it in front of others, but the beauty is that she talks to me about it at a later point where she helps me identify a different perspective in that particular situation. This has helped me cultivate restraint, patience, and look at things from a different lens.

Maalavika: Kashyap has great out-of-the-box ideas. I grew up with my teacher in a very traditional setting, Gurukulavasam, not with my parents, and everything I’ve done has been something that was instructed or guided by them. I’ve had limited opportunities to do things or be expressive as I pleased. With Kashyap, I have the opportunity to be free, expressive, without judgement. The opportunity to explore without doubt.

I’m not expressive when it comes to love. My upbringing was probably a reason for it. I knew how to receive love, but reciprocating it was something I didn’t know how to do. With Kashyap, I am discovering that I have more love to give and those boundaries that I thought I had keep expanding as I get to know him as a person. We may have an argument, but the next day it starts with a “good morning, I love you!”. I’ve never been this person before!

When you hit a certain age like thirty or gain a certain level of independence once you start earning, you can fall into this notion of “it’s all about me and my boundaries”. We notice a level of acceptance in our parents’ generation. But within our generation, it's becoming less and less. Of course, there are exceptions in both scenarios. I may have been such a person before, but with Kashyap, this pettiness doesn’t matter because the love and appreciation you have for that person triumphs over everything. That’s something I’ve evolved to be which I thought I never would be.

How has this relationship helped your professional life? 

Maalavika: Generally, I’ve been a bold person. I may put on that facade while having certain fears within myself. After Kashyap entered my life, I feel my self-confidence has improved a lot. A realization of more of my potential, my capabilities, and me as an artist to experiment with various aspects of music. Whatever others may comment on my music, Kashyap provides assurance that I am doing well in this path. This is very important as an artist.

And even my in-laws, beyond being my supporters, are crazy fans of my art. My parents may not know about the work that I share on social media, but my in-laws take such a genuine interest in celebrating my work, sharing it across other relatives, providing suggestions of what more I can do, even observing minutely what I wore during a performance. They go the extra mile. And so does Kashyap. And as an artist, this encouragement helps me widen my horizon and explore a wider spectrum. I started my journey as a Carnatic musician, followed by participating in Super Singer and then Indian Idol. From there, for my music to reach tenfold to a diverse set of listeners, I feel Kashyap has played a key role in that. That’s an immense blessing to have.

Kashyap: Professionally, it has been a huge shift for me. The way I see it for Maalavika and myself is that the end goal is the same. Together we shall become that. I don’t say “the band is getting the next gig,” but “we are getting the next one.” Starting from being a commercial pilot, entrepreneur in the pet industry, and now exploring this space of the business side of music and artist management, this opportunity to experiment in a whole new vertical is fascinating, and that is because I am closely associated with Maalavika and her music. This new phase is beautiful, and I am loving it.

What do you observe in relationships today that you think people should do more or less of?

Kashyap: I don’t know if I can give advice on what should or shouldn’t be done. But the word is right there: “Couple”. You have to look at this situation as a “unit”. The minute you see and practice that, things will work in your favor. It could be simple daily activities or disagreements you may have, but ideally approach it from the perspective of what’s best for this “unit” rather than for the self.

Maalavika: With the impact of social media, most people have built notions on what love and relationships should look like. You look at movies and wish that what you see on screen is what you want for yourself. I have been in those shoes as well. But we should also understand that we may not get what we see, but maybe something even more beautiful is destined for you. The equation that Kashyap and I share is different from what another couple may share. Social media, which is actively curated to showcase the best moments of what someone wants to display to the world, cannot drive your aspirations. Let’s appreciate what others share, but be open to the discovery of your very own journey and what life is waiting to offer.

A song that describes your relationship?

Kashyap: Magic by Bruno Mars;

Maalavika: Wrong answer! Does this song really talk about love?

Kashyap: It’s all magic! That’s how I feel it!

Maalavika starts singing:  “சிப்பி இருக்குது முத்தும் இருக்குது, திறந்து பார்க்க நேரம் இல்லடி ராஜாத்தி; சிந்தை இருக்குது சந்தம் இருக்குது கவிதை பாட நேரம் இல்லடி ராஜாத்தி; சந்தங்கள் நீயானால் சங்கீதம் நானாவேன…” - An MSV tune with lyrics by Vaali from the film Varumaiyin Niram Sivappu

Translating into: There is an oyster and there is a pearl within it, but there isn’t time to open it my love. There is thought and there’s tune but there is no time for song my love. If you become the tune, I’ll become the song…”]

The song simply says that you need both hands to clap!

Parthiban Manoharan
Tech Professional
Toronto,  Canada
I am a tech professional interested in Film, Music, Photography and Culture. Love conne...
I am a tech professional interested in Film, Music, Photography and Culture. Love conne...
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