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February 13, 2023 | Alumni

Campus love stories: These alums grew their shared experience at U of T into a lifelong bond

By Ravisha Mall

Trina and Kal look at each other playfully, standing in a stone building

Trina and Kalyan met and fell in love at U of T Scarborough. 

One can never predict where, when and in what way one will find love. For Anil Persaud (HBA UTSC 1999) and Cynthia Jairam (BComm UTSC 1999), and Trina Ravindrakumar (BBA UTSC 2017) and Kalyan Mattaparthy (BBA UTSC 2017), two couples who met in the corridors of U of T Scarborough, cupid came in the form of mutual friends who introduced them to each other on the same campus, twenty years apart.

While Anil and Cynthia have been happily married since 2003, Kalyan (who goes by "Kal") proposed to Trina just last year in the very lecture hall where they first met. We spoke to the two couples about their very different journeys, and the role their alma mater played in their blossoming relationships.

Cynthia and Anil at graduation, in their robes
Cynthia and Anil on graduation day. 

Where did you first see each other?

Cynthia & Anil (C&A): We first met at the Meeting Place, in April of our first year at UTSC.

Trina & Kal (T&K): We were taking a summer audit course in the Instructional Centre (IC) building, with a common friend who dropped out after a week, and so we ended up taking the class together.

Trina and Cal on graduation day, in their robes.
Trina and Kal on graduation day.

Though Cynthia was intrigued by Anil’s confident and mysterious demeanour and asked a mutual friend to introduce them during their very first meeting, it was a week before they began talking in earnest, having run into each other a bunch of times on the campus. They started dating almost immediately after that.

Things took a different turn for Kal and Trina, who ended up becoming best friends after the class they took together. In fact, they didn’t begin dating until Kal asked Trina out after she finished her final term, a whole two years later, even though their friends thought they had been secretly dating long before anything happened.

Tell us about your first date on campus?

C&A: The year was 1996, so the campus was very different from what it is today.  We met just prior to exam time, so we found ourselves studying together in Bladen Library during that time.

T&K: We started dating after finishing our programs but began bonding on campus as best friends. We would hang out in the IC building and watch Game of Thrones instead of studying.

What was your favourite campus spot to hang out as a couple?

C&A: We spent time walking in and enjoying the beauty of the valley together. The valley remains one of Anil’s favourite places.

T&K: The science wing study tables area and the hub in the IC building.

Couples who meet at university almost invariably have a solid foundation for their togetherness, made of shared experiences, personal development and intellectual growth. 

Our four alums also found opportunities to explore their interests, create memories and build meaningful relationships. The many beautiful corners of the campus were a fitting backdrop to their maturing love. Both couples believe their UTSC experience was special as it allowed them to discover themselves and support each other.

Cynthia and Anil standing in front of Chuuk restaurant
Cynthia and Anil at Chuuk restaurant. 

How would you sum up your experience together while at UTSC?

C&A: We were both in Co-op, so during some terms, we were on campus together, and sometimes one was working or studying. We had our own groups of friends and were both involved in clubs on campus. We went to pub nights, dances, and semi-formals together over the years. And, of course, we’d take walks together in the valley. We were both figuring life out and supportive of each other.

T&K: UTSC provided a space where we could come together to study as well as to build our relationship. While on campus, we took our final year courses together and hung out with all our friends in the IC building where we would come together to have group study sessions, play card games and plan out our next adventure. Oh yeah, we swear we studied on campus as well! 

Originally published by U of T Scarborough