It all started when they met at a coaching class to prepare for Bachelor of Architecture entrance exams after completing their schooling in 1996. “None of us had to actually propose to each other. We just understood that we mutually wished to be with each other,” recalls Rakhee Bedi Kumar, 40, about meeting her husband Shobhit, 42.
However, they secured a seat in different institutions – Rakhee joined Sushant School of Art and Architecture and Shobhit went to Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat, in 1997. A long-distance relationship ensued for six years, both adamant not to let the distance keep them apart. “We exchanged handwritten letters, up to 12 pages long, every week, describing our days in our respective colleges and how our lives were treating us,” shares Rakhee.
Later, Shobhit got a job with Saka Architects in Gurugram, and Rakhee started working with Jyoti Rath Associates. Once, secure in their jobs, they told their families about the relationship. “We were very fortunate regarding our parents’ reactions. They were amused because they already knew we were good friends,” says Shobhit. He remembers how Rakhee’s father had allowed him to take her on a date only after they got engaged. “Also, she was supposed to come back home by 9:30pm and he would not let us leave until 8:30pm. So we barely got any time together. We find it very funny and it still makes us laugh,” shares Shobhit.
In 2002, they got their first project together, designing the interiors of a small villa for a client placed abroad. In 2003, they became life partners and then Founding Principals of RSDA. Well aware of the fact that working together comes with its own share of responsibilities, they have divided the work. Rakhee handles matters pertaining to logistics, purchase and estimations, while Shobhit takes care of design and detailing of the projects. “We also divide projects at times to allow free flow of work. However, after every work call or meeting, we always discuss and collate our ideas to make the best decision,” says Rakhee.
Disagreements are welcome
Ego can ruin a good relationship, be it work or personal. “But with our sense of humour and logic we make sure there is never a sour situation like that,” adds Shobhit. While Shobhit is the disciplined one and the go-getter, Rakhee tends to get sceptical at times. But, that’s how, they say, the two balance each other. However, working together is not a cake walk. “It is challenging, since we tend to bring our work stress home. But we strictly follow our ground rules that forbid us from making things personal at work, and always solve every problem before retiring for the day.
When rules are set and both parties are vocal, partnerships are truly enjoyable,” adds Shobhit. Rakhee feels when two strong-headed personalities work together, disagreements are bound to happen. “But we consider disagreements as a positive factor that is beneficial for every project, as it helps us to view the situation from a fresh perspective,” she says. Their golden rule is: never go to bed without resolving a fight. Both make sure to have breakfast with their sons and enjoy their coffee in the evening and dinner together. “We love traveling together, I always enjoy her company when I visit my small farm near Sohna,” he shares.
At the start of the raging pandemic, both took out some time for self-growth by attending TED talks and seminars virtually. “And now that the cases have begun to rise again, things are uncertain, but we cannot stop work on projects that are already under construction. We need to take drastic measures to curb the spreading of the virus on-site, but as always, we will manage to devise a system that works for all of us.” Their last project together was the Camellias, a residential building in DLF Golf Course.
“We had to complete it in a record time of 1-1.5 months because we started it before the pandemic and had to make sure that we got the NOC. The constraint was challenging, yet thrilling,” adds Rakhee.
Another project, Plumeria House in Dera Mandi is under progress. “We have been contacted by someone overseas for some interiors work. We also have some institutional designs in the pipeline that we hope to execute soon,” concludes Shobhit.
- What he likes about her: Her passion in everything she does. Her attitude and vigour to achieve her goals.
- What he dislikes about her: Procrastination.
- Something weird/funny about her: Because of her sense of humour, she often ends up putting herself in situations at work! This is both troublesome and funny.
- What she likes about him: His honesty and sincerity to everything he does, whether its work, art, or friendship.
- What she dislikes about him: His tendency to overlook things at times.
- Something weird/funny about him: He has a good sense of humour, and he often plays pranks on me.