Love Story: Shireena & Ashish Manchharam
“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… It was like… magic.”
— Sam Baldwin, Sleepless in Seatle
Welcome to our new series of love stories. At The Canary Diamond, we celebrate love every day. Weddings, engagements, anniversaries, the birth of your first child, Mother’s Day… It is such a privilege to be a part of these love stories — between couples, mothers and daughters, sisters, friends, etc — love stories which we are stoked to be sharing with you in the coming months. Enjoy.
Meet Shireena and Ashish Manchharam. She’s the founder of House of Sheens. He’s the founder and managing director of 8M Real Estate. The handsome power couple recently celebrated their 10th year wedding anniversary. But observe them: One moment they are teasing each other. The next they are gazing into each others’ eyes, lovingly for five seconds, before bursting into laughter. He’s giving her tips on posing — or not — as he snaps pictures of her at the breakfast table on the balcony. She’s trying to get him to focus on the task at hand — smile for our camera. He’s faux-throwing her off the balcony for effect. She is swept off her feet — literally and blissfully.
Observe them together and one would not have guessed these two have between them one decade of marriage and two children. I guess this is what people are calling #couplegoals.
Here’s their love story — her side and his side of their love story, to be precise.
Can you remember the first time you met Ashish?
Shireena: The first time I really “laid eyes” on Ashish was at my cousin’s wedding in Mexico. I remember him being the most handsome guy in the room. All my cousins teased me, and I remember to this day how I made them switch around the seating so I could sit near him (laughs)! Years later, I met him again when he would visit his brother in Delhi, where I was living at the time. He started making more trips to “visit his brother”, but I secretly think it was an excuse to see me.
What was your first impression of him?
Shireena: Actually, the very first time I met him was when I was 18. I was visiting Singapore, and he was serving National Service. He was quite shy. We went to the movies at Shaw Centre with lots of friends and cousins. I don’t remember anything we watched, only how nervous I was that he was sitting next to me (laughs)!
Who made the first move?
Shireena: The first move? Hmm… probably him. (Although, I feel like he is going to say it’s me!)
When did you realise that he’s The One?
Shireena: It has to be when I had appendicitis (sexy right?) He was on a boys’ trip in Bali, and I was rushed to the hospital for acute appendicitis. As soon as he heard, he took the next flight out and came straight to the hospital. He stayed there, bought me food and didn’t leave my side. The doctors said I recovered so fast after he walked in the room (haha). I remember just feeling really calm, at the same time, totally head over heels when I was around him. He treated me like a total queen.
What three qualities about him are you most attracted to?
Shireena: He is always calm and cool – nothing really gets him riled up (unlike me). He supports me in my dreams and always encourages me to reach for the stars. He is a fabulous father — he jumps out of bed at the crack of dawn to wake up our children and get them ready for school because he doesn’t see them in the evenings. His total dedication to them makes me love him so much. He always puts the three of us above all else.
Tell us about the proposal.
Shireena: We were in Phuket for a friend’s wedding. After that we went away to spend some time together at this beautiful villa. I had spied a box in the back of the hotel safe at our friend’s wedding, but I wasn’t sure what it was. (I did not touch it!) So at this villa, Ashish organised a romantic dinner for us on the beach, and we started to eat. I remember talking away (as I do), and he was looking so weird and nervous, not listening to a word I was saying. Then out of the blue, he asked: “What finger does the ring go on?” I answered and went on talking… At the end of the night, in front of the waves, he pulled out the box and asked me to marry him.
Awww… Please tell us all about the ring!
Shireena: It’s an absolutely beautiful princess-cut diamond ring from The Canary Diamond where my in-laws have been shopping for years. It was so sparkly and beautiful, I was completely blown away. We then had wedding bands made there, too, with the words “Always Ashish” and “Always Shireena” engraved. When I had my children, Ashish also bought me a pair of earrings and a yellow diamond set from you guys.
What would you say is one of the most memorable moments you have with Ashish?
Shireena: The most memorable moments are definitely our big fat Indian wedding in Bali, the birth of our two amazing children, and celebrating 10 years together in Austria this January.
Be spontaneous: What would you like to say to Ashish right now?
Shireena: After all that mushiness, I would like to say, please stop using your phone 24/7 and working, and spend more time talking to me (laughs)!
Do you remember the first time you met Shireena?
Ashish: Yes. Shireena came from Delhi to visit her uncle and aunt in Singapore. We first met then. She was 18 then, I think.
What was your first impression of her?
Ashish: She was a little young, but I was attracted to her. I remember us having a good time when we hung out at Zouk Wine Bar.
Who made the first move?
Ashish: She did for sure!
When did you realise that she’s The One?
Ashish: It was years later when I was visiting my brother in Delhi, and Shireena was living there. We met again and there was an instant connection and attraction.
What three qualities about her are you most attracted to?
Ashish: Shireena is very easy to talk to (she’s always cheerful and animated); she gives good advice; and her smile (ok, she’s hot.)
How did you propose?
Ashish: We were in Phuket for a friend’s wedding, and after that we went on to stay a few nights by ourselves. The plan was to have a romantic dinner and then pop the question under the stars. But at dinner, I forgot which finger the ring goes on, and midway through a conversation, I asked, “which finger does the engagement ring go on?” She stopped talking and thought what an odd question… that probably gave it away! I was pretty nervous! But we carried on with dinner. We were having a drink after that, and I decided it was time, and asked her to marry me.
How did you go about finding the perfect ring for Shireena?
Ashish: Well, we had a very good jeweller that my family (my mum, particularly) has gone to for years — you guys. I went to see Judy, who owns The Canary Diamond, and told her I was going to propose. I learned about the 4 Cs — carat, clarity, cut and colour. Judy gave me a few options, and honestly, it wasn’t very hard as all the rings were amazing!
What would you say is one of the most memorable moments you have with Shireena?
Ashish: When we had our first child, Lara. Literally a few hours after her birth, we went for a romantic dinner at the peak in Hong Kong, and had a feast!
Be spontaneous: What would you like to say to Shireena right now?
Ashish: Hi babe!
Photos: The Canary Diamond Co