Back when inspirational NYC based gay couple Aditya Madiraju and Amit Shah, got married in a traditional Hindu temple, we were wowed by the symbolic breaking of boundaries. However, lesbian couple Anjali Chakras and Sundas Malik took woke, South Asian relationships to new heights. Surprisingly, both of these couples had their romance bloom in New York, the one true home for everyone who feels like an outsider.
The couple experienced their one year anniversary recently, with a photoshoot. This isn’t uncommon, but the difference is, Malik and Chakra’s images went viral. South Asian same-sex marriages are still taboo, even in contemporary society. To add to the controversial nature of their relationship, the two come from completely different cultural and religious backgrounds that have a problematic history of battling with each other.
While Anjali is a Hindu from India, Sundas is a Muslim from Pakistan. These differences have inspired queer South Asian women all over, whether closeted or just curious. And even further, they’re an inspiration for any inter-religion or inter-culture relationship, letting people straying outside convention know that it’s ok to be difference. In fact, your differences can be what bond you together. After all, they say opposites attract.
The women met and currently live in NYC. After months of exchanging discussions about the queer South Asian community and everything else, from Tumblr to Instagram, they eventually decided to meet up in real life. Their first date was at the Empire State Building. Malik, a lifelong New Yorker, rolled her eyes at the touristy nature of the activity, but went along with it because “tickets were free and it was with a pretty girl, so why not?”
Malik is an artist from Pakistan who frequently posts picturesque, dreamy shots of her and bae. Most importantly, they’re authentic. These two radiate love in the purest way. While Malik’s aesthetic and artistic eye is killer, so is that of Sarowar Ahmed, the photographer that captured these two for their one-year milestone.
The shoot took place where their love was born – New York City. From sweet forehead kisses under a clear umbrella on a rainy day, to smooches on a Bryant Park ferris wheel, after looking at these image it’s no wonder they went viral.
After the notorious Empire State Building date, it continued almost immediately into a night spent together – but not the way you’d think. They went to Chakras’s family’s house, who didn’t realize the girls were romantically seeing each other. They invited Sundas to spend the night, and after that, the rest was history.
Malik hails from a rather conservative family with few Hindu acquaintances. However, Chakras’s family welcomed her with open arms, especially as she attended her first puja, a Hindu prayer ritual. They taught her about all the deities and aspects of their religion. Next up in celebrations? Eid with Malik’s family!
It can’t go unsaid – their matching outfit game is complete fire. From saris to casual looks, the girls look like ethereal beings next to each other – the image of effervescence and joy. Even better, they prefer to rent clothing rather than buying new garments, as its more sustainable.
These two are a heartfelt example of the amazing things that can happen when you transcend borders of all kinds – heck; it can even bring together divided nations. We’re proud of these girls for making strides in South Asian LGBTQ representation, but according to them, their love is just that – love.
While their love was politicized by every person possible, Malik further notes, “Although the overwhelming response was great, we never really thought the bond we share with each other would be a ‘mending’ barrier between two religions and cultures always in conflict.”
Shoutout to these two for making people more comfortable with their identities – it’s no small feat, even if not intentional.