Pawan Kurudi, a tech support instructor, and Emma Reynolds, a clinical psychology student, have been together for two years. The 29-year-olds spent lockdown together at Pawan’s flat in Wellington.
PAWAN: We met on Tinder. We had both recently broken up with our previous partners. We got to talking and it was so effortless and natural and exciting. We planned to meet up at the end of the week. On the Wednesday, we were chatting, and we realised that we were both about to go home to Newtown. I asked her if she wanted to grab a beer. She said yes.
We met up at Moon Bar. I’ll always love the look on her face when she came in – she was trying to scope me out. It went really well. I actually thought: “Man, she is kind of out of my league. I don’t think this is going to go any further. Sweet: I’m just going to make this really attractive woman laugh and that’s going to be that.” We left and we were both walking the same way. I went to give her a kiss on the cheek goodbye. We ended up pashing. And it was awesome! I remember running up this big ramp towards Berhampore under the streetlights, jumping in the air, fist-pumping…
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We still went on our date on Friday, to Garage Project. That was way more of a “get to know you” date.
Maybe a month later, I got a call from my work that I’d be in Brisbane for four weeks. I was like sweet, that’s awesome, but also like: “Oh no! I’ve just met this lady who’s so cool. Is the spark going to get dampened by me being away for so long? Absolutely it is.”
So I thought, I’ve only got one option really, which is to give her a no-strings-attached, non-clingy invitation to come over with me.
Em was like: “Nah man. I’ve just met you! But I really like seeing you… let’s keep talking and see where things go.” I was like: “Cool, yep, that’s totally fair.”
I went to Brisbane and a week-and-a-half had passed and she asked if the offer was still on the table. I said, “Absolutely! If you find a flight, I’ll transfer you some money.” She found one that day.
I would say that we went from seeing each other to being in a relationship over that weekend. It confirmed all those crazy intense feelings towards each other were real – that it wasn’t too soon, or too good to be true.
EMMA: I wanted to go on a date with him but had to wait a week-and-a-half until all my exams were done. We messaged each other constantly in between. It was very distracting. I have never, ever had someone make me laugh so much, so often, just through Messenger. I remember walking down the street one time and reading a message from him that was so funny that I burst out laughing really loudly and startled this lady that was standing next to me at the traffic light. I had to apologise to her – I really scared her.
It was a really, really cute first date – lots of little jokes but we were taking it a lot more seriously, which was quite cool. Because it was a school night we only had a beer or two each. It was the middle of winter, p…ing down with rain. We were walking home in the same direction but I was supposed to turn off to my house a few blocks before him. I walked a little bit further so I could talk to him a bit more. And also because my friend who knows the Tinder game well had told me: you always try and have a pash on the first date because then you know if you really want a second date. I’m not a very forward person, usually. I was trying to psych myself up to be able to kiss him – I was really determined. We went to hug goodbye and I think he wasn’t expecting it but I just went in for the pash. It was a really, really good kiss! But all I remembered from it, initially, was just him giggling. Uncontrollably. Little high-pitched giggles. I was like, what is going on?!
He brings so much energy and vibrancy into a room. He loves being off the wall. I think what makes our relationship so special is we have really beautiful, quiet, intimate times alone together. But when we’re together in a social situation, we both of us really prioritise having so much fun with the people we love. I’ve been fully accepted into his friend group and he’s been fully accepted into mine – we’ve all just sort of merged together. I think we both have this sort of shared mission whenever there are gatherings, to just get everyone else on the same level. The most fun we have is when we’re dancing together in really funny, stupid, wildly inappropriate ways, singing along to songs… He makes it really easy to be myself around him. And he gives that gift to everyone. That’s why spending time with him is such a treat.
He can be a little bit disorganised with the day-to-day sort of things. A little bit forgetful. But he’s quite aware of that. He’s also really good at putting rules in place for his life to mitigate those things. He’s really good at working on it. I can bring a lot of baggage over from my previous relationship. We both have issues we need to work through. What’s been really amazing is that when we come to those crossroads, we’re able to talk them through and accept one another and just grow from there.
The thing I’ve noticed increasingly is just how accepting he is of everyone else for their flaws. I feel like a b…. some of the time like: “Rawr, why do you do this? So annoying!” But then I’m really annoying. And he’s like: “Yeah but that’s cool, it’s just a part of who you are and I just love you.”