'She's an incredible person'
.... says Ash Chandler about fiance Junelia Aguiar, to whom he popped the question last week
Designer Junelia Aguiar's current profile picture on Facebook captures perhaps the most precious moment of her life. She's seen sitting on the dock of a ship next to her life partner, moments after he proposed to her.
If pictures speak a thousand words, this one says it all. The man in her life is popular singer, comedian and actor Ash Chandler.
Ash proposed to Junelia on the eve of her birthday on October 27 on a sunset cruise in the middle of the Arabian sea. "It was just the two of us, we put on our favourite music and she thought all of that was part of her birthday surprise. But it was actually planned to propose to her," says Ash.
Not one to shy away from declaring his changed relationship status to the world, Ash posted on Facebook: "She said yes" the same evening, which naturally attracted several comments from friends.
It wasn't an impulsive decision to propose to her, says Ash, who went down on one knee and brought out an exquisite Tiffany's ring, the design of which he hunted for three months.
"There were tears in her eyes when I went down on one knee and she said yes immediately. And I was like, 'Wait! I'm not done yet. There's a ring,'" laughs Ash, adding, "I luckily managed to get the size right."
Originally a Bandra girl, Junelia has known Ash for 12 years. "She was one of the first people I met in Bombay and we connected.
I started dating her two and half years ago, a year and a half after I got divorced," says Ash, who's upset with reports in a Mumbai daily claiming that he's not in talking terms with ex-wife and supermodel Nethra Raghuraman.
"It's not true. We are both in happy spaces. She's engaged to someone and so am I. We even exchanged congratulatory messages after my engagement," he states.
The wedding, being planned as an intimate affair outside Mumbai will happen early next year, followed by a big bash for all their friends. "We are still in the process of finalising the place. Five of her siblings live overseas and my entire family lives in America. So it can't be in Mumbai," he says.
Ash says that marriage was a natural step in their relationship but admits that there was faint apprehension from Junelia's end about the fact that he was married before, at the early stage of their courtship. "Maybe because we live in a city where everyone knows everyone," reasons Ash.
Junelia, a graduate of the London School of Fashion, who owns an eponymous label, is undecided about her wedding dress. "In any case, I'm not supposed to see it as it brings bad luck for the groom," says Ash.
So what was it about her that made him take the plunge? "What draws you to another person is one of those great mysteries of life. Much of that is intuitive. But if I had to list her qualities, this conversation would never end. She's an incredible person," says Ash.
Junelia, who has French Caribbean and Portuguese blood, prefers Ash's singing than his comedy. "I do more shows as a singer than a comedian anyway," he signs off.