‘Ashwin, I am happy we stood the test of time Cause without you I could not have sung this song of mine Right here, right now, I have you And life cannot get better!’
When Ashwin Shashi got engaged to singer Shweta Mohan on April 18, 2010, she gave him a MP3 recorder. “I thought it was just a gift,” says Ashwin. “But then Shweta told me to listen to the song in it. I did so and was shocked.”
It was in English. Then Ashwin understood it was in Shweta’s voice, and finally, he realised that the song, ‘Music in my heart’, was about him. “Shweta had written the lyrics and composed the music,” he says.
Of course, one sentence was telling: ‘I am happy we stood the test of time’.
Ashwin first met Shweta in July, 2003. Ashwin’s sister, Arati, and Shweta were friends and studied together at Stella Maris College at Chennai. While Arati opted for a mathematics degree, Shweta did economics. “But they were members of the culture club at college and sang together,” says Ashwin. Now-and-then Shweta would drop in at Arati’s home. Soon, Ashwin and Shweta became friends.
However, in 2004, Ashwin graduated from the College of Engineering, Madras University, and then went to Pennsylvania, USA, where he began working for General Electric. “We stayed in touch through the phone,” he says. “By this time, we realised that we had something much more than a friendship.”
But the years did go past. In 2009, Shweta’s family - singer Sujatha and her husband Dr Krishna Mohan - began looking for a groom for her. “That was when Shweta and I seriously started discussing the next step,” says Ashwin. “There was no doubt that we wanted to share our lives together.”
Fortunately, both families knew each other well, and so there was a mutual agreement. The couple got married on January 16, 2011, eight years after they first met.
Asked about the qualities that he admires the most in Shweta, Ashwin says, “She is calm and composed. Shweta has an accommodating nature.”
Many people had told Ashwin that there was a strong possibility of Shweta not being a good match. “The fact that she could be a pampered girl, because she is an only child, and the daughter of a celebrity,” says Ashwin. “But Shweta is nothing of the sort. She is a down-to-earth girl and I have to thank her parents and grandmother for keeping her grounded.”
Apart from her character, Ashwin admires his wife’s talent. In fact, whenever this Chennai-based businessman travels to and from work, he only listens to Shweta’s songs. And he has a few favourites: ‘Aaraanu nee’ from the film, ‘Thiruvambadi Thamban’, ‘Aaro nee aaro’ from ‘Urumi’, and ‘Mavin chotile’ from ‘Oru naal varum’.
“Singing is a passion for Shweta, just like her mother,” he says. “She is completely focused on her career. I like people who are like that.”
In fact, her dedication is so intense that if a recording does not go well, it haunts her for a long time. “Shweta self-evaluates her performance all the time,” says Ashwin. “And that can get stressful. Thankfully, after our marriage, it has reduced a lot.”
It is difficult to hit the bull’s eye every time. “On certain days things can go wrong and I tell Shweta that she has to accept that and move on,” says Ashwin.
But, at the same time, Ashwin knows that this sort of behaviour is part of Shweta’s nature. “For an artiste, the right brain is more dominant than the left. So, she is sensitive and emotional. And at times, she can feel hurt when things don’t go well.”
Asked about her negative points, Ashwin says, “I am an organised kind of guy, and fix a daily schedule for myself, but Shweta is not like that. She goes with the flow of the day.” Today, of course, Shweta is the celeb in the family but Ashwin has no problems with that. “It is important for her career that Shweta becomes widely known,” he says. “And at the end of the day, when we both return from work, it is not like I am living with a celebrity. She is just my wife.”
Ashwin has the same practical and clear-eyed attitude about relationships. “If you decide that one’s end goal is to stay together, then you will make the right moves,” he says. “It is like running a company. There will be ups and downs, and a lot of fire-fighting that goes on. But you don’t quit just because there is a problem.”