Previously, Gregoire only knew a few words of Hindi that his now-wife Simran Malhotra had taught him. But when he sat down at the piano at their Christian-Sikh wedding reception in Baltimore, Maryland, he blew everyone away with his heartfelt performance.
"It was a feeling I truly have never felt before," Malhotra told The Huffington Post. "I was in shock and felt numb. It was like no one else was in the room except him and me. It was surreal, that’s the best way to describe it."
Malhotra, who speaks Hindi, provided this translation of the song's lyrics via BollyMeaning.com:
I can't live without you now,
What's my existence without you.
If I get separated from you,
I'll be separated from my own self.
Because only you are,
Now you are my only.
You're my life.
My peace and my pain,
You alone are my love.
The bride said her teary-eyed reaction was partly because she was overwhelmed thinking about Gregoire making the time to prepare a surprise of this magnitude.
"We live together and do everything together!" Malhotra said. "We were both working so hard the weeks before the wedding because we were taking 10 days off for the wedding. He worked 12 consecutive days straight prior to the wedding week. I never heard or even saw him sit at his piano the weeks prior to the wedding."
Given Gregoire's hectic work schedule as a pulmonologist and critical care physician, he said that it was, indeed, a challenge finding free time to practice when Malhotra wasn't around.
"Every trip to the hospital and every shower for six weeks was used to memorize, practice the pronunciation and make it feel natural," he said. "All in all, it took me four weeks for that part and two weeks to add the piano."
When he finally sat down at the piano on the big day, the groom said he, too, was overcome with emotion.
"As you may be able to tell, I had to look away slightly at times because I didn’t want to start choking up when she cried," Gregoire said. "For a brief two seconds before the song started I was just hoping not to forget the words. But once I got started, it all went away. I knew that to Simran’s eyes, it was going to be great no matter what."
Credit: Manon Gregoire
The Bollywood song was just one of the many multicultural elements of the couple's week-long wedding celebration. They incorporated Indian wedding traditions such as bridal mehndi (or henna) and a sangeet (welcome party) and had two separate ceremonies -- a Sikh one in the morning and a Christian one in the evening.
The last few weeks have been full of milestones for the bride, who also graduated from her internal medicine residency program on June 19. The wedding was just the cherry on top.
"This was nothing but a fairytale wedding," Malhotra said. "It was a wedding that little girls dream of having when their prince comes to sweep them off their feet."
Video courtesy of AVP Studios
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