Recipe for love brings couple together

By Dustin Starrak - Guest Column
April 6, 2017 at 3:57 p.m.

Dustin Starrak

Dustin Starrak   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

"Lovers don't finally meet somewhere, they're in each other all along." - Rumi

Love finds you when you're not looking for it. As tired as the cliche is, it has proven true for at least one person I know. As my friend Heather Parajuli and I sit cross-legged on the floor of our friend Ann's cozy living room, we go over details for her upcoming wedding to her fiancee, Mohan Parajuli. Mohan quietly watches from the other side of the sofa, and we travel back to when they first met.

In early 2016, after finishing her undergraduate degree, Heather had been traveling with a friend an elderly retired priest, Father Gabriel. Heather accompanied him as they traveled to various destinations throughout the Middle East and Asia, making sure he took his medications and did not sustain any injuries.

It was Father Gabriel who ultimately made Heather and Mohan's meeting a possibility, and during a 14-hour layover in Muscat, Oman, Mohan spied Heather on the concourse. She smiled hesitantly, and he beamed back enthusiastically as she continued on her way to the departure gate. Mohan confesses to having watched her as she led Father Gabriel through the airport.

Mohan had just left Abu Dhabi to return home for his cousin's wedding. His flight had been changed at the last minute due to an accidental overbooking, and he was switched to Heather and Father Gabriel's airline. They ended up at the same terminal after spending all day at the airport, and as they began to talk, they discovered their shared interests - namely cooking, yoga and world travel.

Finally, their flight arrived at the gate. Heather looked at Mohan in all seriousness and said, "Do I get a hug or not?" They embraced, and it was this final gesture that began a yearlong courtship that took Heather to Nepal to meet his family and ultimately brought Mohan to the United States.

After months of texts, phone calls and Skype chats, Mohan invited Heather to his family's home in Pokhara.

After a series of setbacks, including having the booking website cancel her initial flight, Heather made her way to Nepal to meet "Baba," the Nepali word for husband, as she calls him affectionately.

Despite being struck with travel sickness, she introduced herself to Mohan's father, mother and older brother. Mohan's father, the ever-skeptical patriarch, dismissed their love as youthful exuberance. However, it was Mohan's mother, the voice of reason, who told him, "If she comes all this way to see him, it must be love." Bolstered by her words, he officially proposed his intentions to marry her, and she accepted, overjoyed.

Mohan later made his way to Texas to join Heather and begin their lives together.

Since coming to Texas, Mohan has been working in restaurants to get some experience and also to help pay the household bills.

Heather works as a kitchen assistant for a local restaurant owner's to-go catering venture. While they earn more than the usual minimum wage because of their skills, money is still tight. "Our wedding is going to be unique, simple, significant," says Heather. They will marry Saturday, April 8.

There are good things on the horizon for them both. Mohan has already interviewed with a local hotel to secure a position as a kitchen manager.

Heather's yoga training continues, and she hopes to have obtained her teaching certification by next fall.

Once they are married, they plan to find their own place together. Heather and Mohan would ultimately like to begin a food truck and catering business locally. They bring to the table a talent for cooking, the desire to serve and educate the community, and the intention to honor their passion with hard work and integrity.

They know this is their calling, and they have found it together. In turn, love has found them and brought them home.

Dustin Starrak, a native of Victoria, is an obituary writer for the Victoria Advocate. In his free time, he enjoys reading and writing. He may be contacted at



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