Bar Hopping To Happiness: Foodie Couple Meets Cute, Gets Engaged And Has Backyard Hindu Wedding

McSwain, then a student at South Texas College of Law, moonlighted as a bartender at Penny Whistle, a neighborhood pub in Montrose.

“What caught my eye that first night was definitely that she had the most beautiful and intense eyes,” he says. “Very magnetic, her gaze was nothing short of enchanting. Whenever I would glance at her, I would just be locked, almost like I was in a trance or something.”

McSwain worked up the courage to ask her out then and there. He asked for Tejpal’s phone number, which she happily recited. In the five or six minutes spent lingering while she waited for her Uber to arrive, Tejpal learned that her crush recently graduated from the same law school as her sister and brother-in-law. A little voice told her they’d have a lot in common and know many of the same people.

“We immediately started texting,” McSwain recalls. “Most people try to play it cool, but we were excited about each other from the start.”

He didn’t waste any time asking out the petite foodie whose glance took his breath away. They agreed to meet at Bar Boheme for drinks on a Thursday night.

“That evening we bounced around because we didn’t want the night to end,” Tejpal says. Their date turned into a mini-Montrose bar crawl, with stops at La Grange and Poison Girl. “I discovered more that we had in common. His sister is married to an Indian person, and he lives in Sugar Land — I’m from there. We didn’t run out of things to talk about.”

McSwain upped his game for their second outing and suggested dinner. Following a Saturday night meal at Weights and Measures in Midtown, they holed up at Grand Prize to watch a Rockets game.

But soon, their courtship would hit pause.

“He was going to start studying for the bar exam and told me that was going to be his life for the next few months,” she says. “I knew what that was like because my sister went through it. Meanwhile, I was writing and traveling for stories, so I went in and out of town a lot.”

Tejpal got creative to make things work. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then bringing McSwain takeaway from Houston’s best restaurants may have sealed the deal.

“I was stressed out from studying — and eating like a king,” he says. For most of that summer, she would pop by his apartment with lunch and dinner. “The good thing about that was we made the most of our time. She wouldn’t stay longer than 30 minutes to an hour. It put a lot of focus on getting to know each other.”

McSwain wasn’t able to join Tejpal for Fourth of July celebrations or other fun outing with friends. But by the time he passed the bar in October, their foundation was solid.

McSwain accompanied his girlfriend to culinary parties and events. Both of their sisters became pregnant at the same time; now the couple has two nephews. They even split the holidays, spending an early Thanksgiving at one house and a second feast at the other’s home in the evening.

All that family time confirmed what McSwain already knew: He’d found the one.

“From the very first date, I certainly hoped that this was going to be the person I married,” he says. “After we met each other’s families and had gone on some short trips by the summer of 2020, I knew I was ready to propose.”

Tejpal suspected a proposal was coming. She knew she wanted to marry him and that he wanted to marry her.

“Right when I met him, I knew he was special,” she says. The COVID-19 pandemic tested, and ultimately strengthened, their bond. Together, the could weather any storm. “We were together day in and day out, cooking and playing Scrabble. A lot of people were struggling with kids and home and losing their jobs, but we felt very blessed and peaceful in our little pod.”

Tejpal describes her partner as someone who feels things very deeply. No surprise, then, that McSwain put a lot of thought into popping the question.


He chose the Menil Collection, where the twosome had spent many evenings sitting in the park with their dogs, drinking wine. In September, on the museum’s reopening day, McSwain timed the proposal so he could drop down on one knee while bystanders held open the building’s doors, exposing Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture in the background. A photographer captured the moment.

“We were in a place of beauty, a place we love to go to. And that made it ideal,” he says.

Six months of whirlwind wedding planning began.

The bride had been married before and knew she wanted something small and intimate the second time around, without diminishing the experience for McSwain. The groom envisioned a Hindu ceremony with special emphasis on exchanging their vows before family and close friends. So they decided on a Hindu ceremony at Tejpal’s parents’ house in the morning, followed by a white-dress ceremony at Asia Society Texas Center.

Gray skies gave way to spring showers on March 27, the big day. Tejpal saw the forecast as a good omen.

“Some of our best days have been rainy,” she says. “The day we adopted our dog, the day my sister had her baby. The day he passed bar and we drove to his mom’s house in Spring, it was practically storming!”

Now the writer and bartender-turned-lawyer are a married couple, rings and all.

“The fact that we wear rings, I just feel like that is the way it’s supposed to be,” McSwain says. “I call her my best friend before I even call her my wife sometimes. I think that’s really special.”

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Bar-hopping to happiness: Foodie couple meets cute, gets engaged and has backyard Hindu wedding

Source:Houston Chronicle

Bar-hopping to happiness: Foodie couple meets cute, gets engaged and has backyard Hindu wedding