NEW DELHI: "I didn’t believe it until I read the message on her best friend’s phone for myself. It seemed like something out of Bollywood," remarks husband Bhisham Chawla, speaking of how Aashna Khurana got her man.
"We didn’t have a boy meets girl story. It was more girl meets boy and then does everything she can to get his attention," says Aashna, with more than a hint of satisfaction. The two met a pre-wedding shoot at Aashna’s home in 2015, and it was there that she determined that he was the man for her. With their marriage in 2018, it was mission accomplished.
Back to the future, in the present day, the couple works together at Karma Lakelands, which is owned by Aashna’s family. Karma Lakelands is a gated community, comprising villas, a boutique golf course, restaurant, glamping grounds and other luxe amenities nestled among 300 acres of pristine parks and woodland. While Aashna handles the marketing team, Bhisham runs sales and real-estate tie-ups, though how they came to work together is one of those happy accidents that make life, and yes, even Bollywood, work.
"Bhisham is from Mumbai and he was working in New York in the garments industry and also as a sculptor. While we were dating, he’d come to visit me but I had really long days at office. One day, he said 'let me come help you, so you’ll finish faster and then we can go out,'" says Aashna, noting, "And when he did, he was such a natural at it that within a few days, our contractors and other associates began to call him directly because he was handling it so well."
It was Aashna’s father that suggested Bhisham join the business, given that the couple had been dating for quite a while and Bhisham seemed a natural fit for the company. "I was initially totally against the idea, because I have my own style of working and wanted to do it all myself, but I eventually came around to the idea," reminisces Aashna.
For Bhisham, it was simpler: "Aashna told me from the first day that Karma Lakelands would always be her first love and focus, and I totally got that. Then when I met her father during a family vacation, where we got to know each other and, apart from scaring me by continuously quoting from The Godfather films, he made me feel so welcome and part of the family that leaving New York and moving to Delhi became an easy decision. For Aashna it may be Lakelands, but for me it was love that brought me to Delhi."
Aashna, who went to art school and has always been into fashion and interior design, also found the perfect creative partner in Bhisham, and apart from the sale and marketing, the two indulge in their passion for the arts by running an art studio together that, so far, has done four thematic villas and five luxury tents at Karma Lakelands.
"One home has an underwater theme, while another is an art and photography home. Similarly, each tent is designed around a different emotion. Like one is called Primroses and Promises, which is very British and floral, and is inspired by the flowers and other things you give during proposals," elaborates Aashna.
While their creative work has been all in-house thus far, the two plan to design homes for individuals at some point. If their past record is anything to go by, the pair seems destined to knock that out of the park as well.
When not working their day jobs or pursuing their creative interests, the two live literally very active lives, from playing badminton and other sports to having recently taken up golfing at Lakelands, which is where they also live. And yes, they have plenty of TV shows on which they like to binge.
"We’re very fortunate that we have this gorgeous, spread-out place to live in. With the outbreak, there were naturally cancellations by people who were coming on holiday and we had to put expansion work and construction on hold," says Bhisham, with Aashna chiming in, "But this has given us time to observe and photograph all the birds and animals which have always been in the woods and grounds, but we hadn’t had a chance to really see before."