Prarthana and Shabin:
A Second Chance at Happiness!
“Dysfunctionally Functional” is how the vivacious Prarthana Shabin describes her family setup with a good natured laugh.
Her story is indeed one of a kind – Rarely seen or heard of in our society.
Prarthana likes to joke that she ticked all the wrong boxes for a potential bride. For when she walked down the aisle on 7 June 2018, she was a divorced mother of two kids, marrying someone several years younger than her.
If the above details weren’t scandalous enough, here’s one that’s guaranteed to knock most people off their seats!!!
Seated among the guests, blessing the couple on their big day was the bride’s ex- husband Mark!!!
The great regard in which Prarthana holds Mark, who remains her best friend, is unmistakably evident. After all, their story goes back more than 20 years.
They met at church as teenagers. He was her first real friend, who later became her first love and then her husband. She gratefully acknowledges how Mark helped raise her younger sister Stuti after her mother’s death, alongside their own two children.
To all who knew him, Mark was the quintessential “Guy with the golden heart.” But due to reasons, which Prarthana would understandably like to keep private, the marriage legally ended after 14 years. In fact, it had been “emotionally dead” for many years.
The end of a seemingly picture perfect marriage spread like wildfire in the shell-shocked community. Prarthana soon found herself in the unenviable position of being the main topic of gossip and idle talk during parties and community get- togethers.
But what shocked her the most was the hostile reaction she faced- from people she had once considered friends- when she decided to rise above the situation and move on with life. They found it strange and a tad unacceptable that she did not fit the stereotype of the grieving / bitter divorcee.
Faced with a barrage of criticism and unsolicited advice, she underwent raging bouts of self doubt and self pity.
“Perhaps you would not have faced this situation had you cooked better!” chimed one of the “well-wishers.”
During the painful period of divorce and separation, Prarthana found herself utterly alone, except for a few pillars of support among friends and family.
Shabin, a self employed businessman, who doubles up as a Church youth leader was one among them. His empathetic nature, gentle demeanour and strong convictions provided much needed support to Prarthana during those turbulent days, and was a perfect foil to her own free spirited nature.
She noted how the supremely spiritual and God focussed Shabin, eased into the role of father figure for the kids, despite being very young himself.
To all her impulsive desires and decisions, his one question is, “Have you asked God about it?”
For Prarthana, falling in love with Shabin felt like the easiest thing. He was the spiritual head she desperately craved for. The quiet- natured Shabin, on his part, jokingly quips that he married Prarthana so that he would never have to talk again.
The wedding day itself was magical and the very mention of it still brings a huge smile on Prarthana’s face. It was after all, the celebration of a new start, witnessed by a cozy group of 40 people- friends who became family by standing with the couple through thick and thin. One of Prarthana’s favourite moments was when the Senior pastors at her church surprised her by turning up at the wedding, to show their full support.
She was only 21 years old at her first wedding, and to her dismay, didn’t have much say when it came to her dress, the venue or anything in general.
But this time around, she ensured that every aspect was planned to perfection – right from the self pampering spa sessions and the self designed dreamcatchers to the Victorian Age inspired wedding gown sleeves and the sunset wedding at Goa’s breathtaking Candolim Beach.
To everyone’s delight, Prarthana’s 14 year old son and self- proclaimed protector David walked her down the aisle, while her daughter Michelle and sister Stuthi stood as the Bridesmaid and the Maid of Honour respectively.
But the most amusing moment from the entire wedding had to be when Shabin gave his consent to the marriage.
“ARE YOU SURE???” hollered ex-husband Mark which left the wedding party in splits!
An impromptu beach photo session was followed by a fun reception at Boca Loca, Candolim where friends and family broke into songs dedicated to the new couple (much to the annoyance of the DJ who had to put off his performance for the longest time).
But once the party went full blast, there was no turning back. Friends who had never danced before, stunned everyone by not stopping until the reception ended at midnight, with everyone agreeing that this was the craziest party they had been to.
It is said that the weight of destiny is only placed on those who can bear it. Shoutout to Prats for dealing with all of life’s twists and turns with that unapologetic sass which only she can pull off! To accompany her through her unique journey, follow her blog https://www.bohoatheart.net/