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The Communicator

The Communicator

Finding the One

Luciana Qu and Maneesha Mankad tell their unique love stories and how they ended up with their spouses. Each couple with their own unique story to tell.
Photography by Destany Colagrossi Luciana and Kai Qu pose for photos by the waterfront in Detroit. They took photos to document their special moment. “I would say we just kind of get each other,” Qu said. “We just get each other’s vibes. We don’t have to talk very much. I think it’s one of those relationships where you are just super good friends. We are best friends, but we also really love each other.”

In 2012, Luciana Qu met her future husband, Kai Qu, at Michigan State University (MSU). During the first few months of knowing each other, they kept in touch but only as distant acquaintances. That is until Kai Qu became Luciana Qu’s friend’s roommate.

Slowly, after spending time in their mutual friends’ room, they began hanging out just the two of them. This eventually led to them spending every day of winter break together during Luciana’s junior year and Kai’s sophomore year.

“We hung out a lot over winter break,” Luciana Qu said. “ It just so happened that we were really into the same movies and we just really clicked. And it was really great. But the situation was complicated. It just didn’t happen.”

It wasn’t until four years later, in 2016, that the two started dating. The relationship moved quickly with the two moving in together three months into the relationship.

“I think things moved really fast because we just really liked each other,” Luciana Qu said.

The two didn’t see a need for a big celebration. They knew how they felt about one another, and that seemed like enough. Three years into the relationship, they eloped. It wasn’t until after the two had been legally married that they told both sets of parents that they had tied the knot.

Their parents weren’t surprised, but encouraged a larger ceremony to celebrate with friends and family.

With the help of their families, they planned their wedding in three months. It was an all-inclusive wedding, right on the border of Detroit and Canada overlooking the river. If it weren’t for their parents insisting that the two have to have a ceremony they wouldn’t have because it didn’t feel like a natural next step.

Because there was such a long gap between the two first meeting, being friends and then progressing into a relationship, Qu’s first impression of Kai was that he was kind of dorky and plain. She wasn’t interested in him very much. Now she understands that his quiet personality is reflective of the fact that Kai is a deep thinker and there are so many ideas going on in his head.

“I would say that we just kind of get each other,” Qu said. “We just get each other’s vibes. We don’t have to talk very much. I think that it’s one of those relationships where you are just super good friends. We are best friends, but we also really love each other.”

Photography Courtesy of Maneesha Mankad
Maneesha and Vivek Mankad pose on their wedding day. They took photos to document their special moment. “I am one of those people who is very careful in my choices,” Mankad said. “I’m not just going to commit lightly, because it mattered to me that my future husband was someone I could respect and identify with.”

On her first day in the United States, after coming here from India to get her master’s in statistics at The Ohio State University (OSU), Maneesha Mankad was set up with a tour guide in a blue sweater. She would soon find out that the man in the blue sweater, Vivek, was the president of the Indian Student Association. Most of the students who were into politics at the university that she came from in India were seen as “notorious,” which made her think twice about this new tour guide that she had just met.

He was instructed to come over and check in on Maneesha’s apartment the first night she was at OSU.

“It was his friend’s apartment, so I couldn’t say no,” Maneesha said. “My mom’s voice started playing in my head telling me that this could go sideways. This is a strange city. I didn’t know anybody in this part of the country. I thought to myself that I didn’t want a strange man coming into this apartment, but I can’t say no to him because it’s his friend’s apartment that I’m staying at until I find a place on my own. So he comes over and the whole time I’m plotting how to get him out.”

Her first attempt to get him out was to point out that he must be busy because he was working on his Ph.D. at the time. However, the two were on break from school which allowed for an easy response on his part. Despite her many attempts to get him away, he stayed. They began hanging out in the same friend group. She quickly started to notice his sense of humor, conversation abilities and intelligence

“We could talk for hours on end, but I was all of 20 years old and I did not want a relationship,” Maneesha said. “I was super serious and career-focused and I had no interest in having boyfriends at that point.”

Slowly, Vivek’s friends began to express to Maneesha how great he was and each accolade that he came with.

A few months later, Vivek wrote Maneesha a note asking if she would go out with him. After reading the note, Maneesha asked Vivek to meet at a local coffee shop where she explained that she wasn’t ready to be in a relationship yet.

“If I hadn’t fallen in love with him before that, I definitely did then,” Maneesha said. “What a great guy who has all the right attitude about how to treat women. He even knew how to respectfully address my reluctance to date him.”

Following this conversation, Vivek wrote again to Maneesha telling her that he was happy to be friends and was just grateful to be able to spend time with her. He told her that even if things don’t work out and her path takes her somewhere else that is perfectly fine. Maneesha would go on to travel multiple times in the following months and began to learn that distance can make the heart grow fonder. She knew that once she started to miss him, she might be ready to try something.

When Maneesha got back to OSU, she would go on her first date with Vivek on the fourth of July.

“He told me that we would meet up with our friends at the fireworks,” Maneesha said. “He picked me up and we went over there and I looked and all I saw was a million people that were lined up by the river. We just kept walking for a while, looking for our ‘friends.’ He told me that we would run into them. So, it took me a little bit and after that, I realized I’m not gonna meet them. That was when I realized that it was our first date.”

The two have now been married for 30 years. Maneesha knew that she wanted to fall in love with someone who respected her and her morals, and Vivek checked every box. As they have raised their two daughters, they remind them of the importance of choosing a soulmate you believe wholeheartedly in, like Maneesha and Vivek.

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About the Contributors
Anjali Kakarla
Anjali Kakarla, Web Editor-In-Chief
Anjali Kakarla is a senior who split-enrolls between Community and Skyline. This is her seventh semester on staff and her third as one of the Web-Editors-In-Chief. When she's not doing schoolwork, playing basketball and golf, or running track for Skyline, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, listening to music and baking. She loves to write and is very excited for journalism this year!
Ailish Kilbride
Ailish Kilbride, Web Editor-in-Chief
While trying to pack as many things as she possibly can in her schedule, Ailish Kilbride is entering her 7th semester on staff and her 4th semester in leadership. Ailish is a senior at Community High School. Taking long runs, walking her dog Lulu, playing field hockey at all hours of the day, reading Colleen Hoover books and hanging out with her friends and family are all at the top of her list of favorite things. She can’t wait to be a part of all of the amazing work that the Communicator is going to do this year.

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