A Desire for Consistency (and Sanitizing) Led to Love

Their first outing together was in Harlem, where they went to a concert at the home of Marjorie Eliot, who has hosted jazz concerts in her Harlem apartment for decades. Ms. Keshwani and Mr. Navodia had also discussed plans to go out dancing together — Ms. Keshwani wanted to learn the fox trot; Mr. Navodia, who is a seasoned ballroom dancer, was eager to join. But the coronavirus pandemic came just a couple months into their budding relationship. So the couple had to cook up other ideas for dates, many of them taken in a car filled with sanitizer and gloves.

“You know how there’s the ‘Five Love Languages,’ that book about how to communicate your love?” Ms. Keshwani said. “I think sanitizing should be the sixth language.”

Ms. Keshwani and Mr. Navodia found a stability in each other that they grew to cherish. To Ms. Keshwani, the pandemic lockdown was reminiscent of the time she spent in chemotherapy, when she’d been largely isolated and susceptible to disease. Mr. Navodia had felt his own form of isolation years before, when he left India for graduate school in the United States, away from his family.

“We both knew that life can throw a lot of crazy, unplanned and sometimes unfair situations at you,” Ms. Keshwani said. “We wanted someone who, in the relationship, is consistent and stable and ever-present regardless of what happens outside of the relationship.”

Mr. Navodia proposed in November 2020.

Ms. Keshwani, a course associate at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies and the founder of StyleEsteem Wardrobe, a fashion business that produces head wraps and donates one to cancer patients for each one sold, and Mr. Navodia, a chemical engineer in Connecticut for the semiconductor company ASML, were married on Jan. 1 at a rented mansion in New Rochelle, N.Y. Mohammed Hassan, a childhood friend of Ms. Keshwani’s and ordained through American Marriage Ministries, officiated before nine guests.

The couple moved in together that day. They haven’t been able to take the fox trot lesson they once planned. But they’ve made due.

“The first time we ended up dancing, the first informal lesson I received,” Ms. Keshwani said, “was in our apartment, together.”