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From being friends to business partners, this couple has come a long way since they met at AID

Rishi and his wife Sana Pradhan, alumni of Apeejay Institute of Design (AID), Delhi, say the pandemic brought them closer and they ensure to spend quality time with one another

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The pandemic played spoilsport in many relationships. As people grappled with mental health issues, economic shock, work from home, and parenting, the stress often spilled into their relationship or marriage, leaving it strained. For Rishi and Sana Pradhan too, the lockdown made them reassess their relationship but only to bring them closer. These trying times turned out to be a learning experience for them where they worked on strengthening their bond further. The AID alumni of the 2006 batch became friends at the college campus and have been each other’s support ever since. The couple, who tied the knot in 2016, tell us about their romantic journey. Edited excerpts:  

When and how did you meet?

Rishi: Sana was in the Interior Design department while I was in Graphic Design. But for the first three semesters, the departments were clubbed. That is how we became a part of the same group of friends. We were very close friends for about two years. Then one day, I just asked her out and she said yes! That’s how we started dating in 2008 and have been together since then.

It has been a long journey for the two of you. What has it been like as a couple?

Rishi: It has been a beautiful journey. It all started from Apeejay; we have many fond memories. Since then, we have not looked back. After dating for nearly eight years, we got married in 2016.

Tell us about your respective professional journeys. 

Rishi: I joined my father’s printing press Arkay Print o Pack and have been running the business since. When I joined the business, it was still a small organisation. Now, we are quite well-known in our industry. We have two factories and are supplying a lot of corporates.

Sana: After college, I interned for a year with Varun Sareen, interior designer and owner of Spaineo Home. Later, I teamed up with two AID friends and ran our own venture for a while. In 2011, I started my own interior designing company called Cube Design Living Spaces. About a year and a half back, Rishi and I started another company called Takila Designs LLP, which is a digital advertising agency.

So, the company was formed in the middle of the pandemic. How did you decide to collaborate?

Sana: Given the pandemic, work was slow which gave us some time to explore options. I thought I could do something along with Rishi. The work involved design and since he had his printing press, we decided to merge the companies. We are working together now. I am also handling interior design projects side by side.

Rishi: We have another partner in Takila Designs. Now we have a team of about 10 people in the company. The idea was born during the first lockdown. Takila Designs is our lockdown baby (laughs). Because of the lockdown, we had the time to deliberate and that is when I decided on collaborating for this company.

How do you maintain the balance between your professional and personal relationship? Are there disagreements while making business decisions?

Sana: Luckily, both of us are on the same page most of the time. So, we have not really had a major disagreement over any business decision.

Rishi: Both of us have come a long way from where we started. We are very focused on our work. Sana and I have some aspirations and we are working very hard for them. Both of us want the same things from life more or less.

The lockdown had an adverse effect on many marriages. What impact did it have on your relationship?

Rishi: Fortunately, it was the other way round for us. In the beginning, there were some hiccups because we were carrying our work stress back home. But now we do not do that anymore. After the day’s work, we spend quality time with each other in the evening, hang out with friends, go out on dinner dates, etc. This is something we consciously follow; we do not let our work interfere with our personal time. That is how we have matured over time. During the lockdown, we realised that the one thing we are not made for is sitting idle which gave birth to the company. We have been sharing a beautiful personal as well as professional relationship.

Sana: We spent good family time during the lockdown and were happy. Of course, there were ups and downs, but luckily everyone in the family was cheering each other up. Besides, the idea of starting a company together got us even closer. We have learned a lot in our journey. Earlier, we were busy in our respective jobs but now, we go to work together and come back together. So, we are able to spend more time with each other.

What is the secret to a long-lasting, happy relationship? Any advice for other young couples?

Sana: Live for yourself and not for others.

Rishi: Be thankful for what you have. If you are happy with what you have, you will live a better life. If you aspire for something, you have to work hard for it. Being together as a couple is one of the biggest strengths. I feel if the relationship falls apart, everything goes haywire. Sana and I have been really lucky and blessed to have each other. We respect and love each other and our respective families. We have always believed in communication, without which the differences would only keep increasing. Whatever be the issue, we always talk it out to find a solution. For me, communication is the key to having a long and healthy relationship.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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