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Anoop Shah Marries Pooja Verma


The newlyweds Anoop and Pooja Shah with their parents, on the left, Ajay and Angela Shah and Dr. Lalit and Aruna Verma on the right.

By Jawahar Malhotra

AUSTIN: It was a baraat like no other as the puzzled guests assembled in the foyer of the large ballroom, with the wedding planners “shush-ing” them to keep quiet so that they wouldn’t startle the groom’s steed. “A quiet Indian wedding,” muttered a few. “Unheard of!!” Many impatient minutes later, after the immediate family and close friends had taken pictures inside, the doors opened and the groom, Anoop Shah came out, seated on an embroidered saddle on a massive, white Texas Longhorn, with a 4 foot spread, led by its handler; hence the “shush-ing” lest the critter be spooked by the noise. A gasp went through the crowd and then Anoop gingerly got off the saddle and the Longhorn was led out the backdoor.

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The groom poses on a Texas Longhorn in front of his family and close friends before the baraat started.

The bull, rather than the traditional steed, was Anoop Shah’s desire to make his wedding to Pooja Verma a Texas affair, harkening back to the roots of the Bayou City he was born and raised in. He insisted on having the wedding at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, between Austin and Bastrop on Highway 71, where guests could play a round of golf, hike wilderness trails, play a game of horse shoes, work out at the Spa or play a set of tennis.

The wedding was planned for the great outdoors, in the Amphitheater by the banks of the Colorado River and the reception to follow on the large, grassy Riversong Lawn behind the lobby, where a white tent over a metal frame had been erected. But, alas, it was not to be as a furious rainstorm that started Friday night and lasted all day Saturday drove the ceremonies inside to the Grand Ballroom, “which was the backup option that the resort offered us,” said Ajay Shah, Anoop’s father.

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The couple after the wedding ceremony.

But it turned out to be just as well as the baraat danced in the wide hallways and inched its way to around the side, the dholuk player and the DJ keeping the baraatis invigorated, with the groom joining in, all the way to the Baron’s Ballroom which was tastefully decorated, with long, tall flowering branches forming a backdrop to the mandap. Pandit Padmakar Gangathirkar of Austin, who has become widely acclaimed for his refreshingly straight-forward delivery in Hindi and witty descriptions English of the ceremony, officiated the ceremony which kept everyone’s attention, a rarity in Hindu weddings. The sangeet dinner was by Bombay Bistro of Austin and the reception dinner came from Bombay Brasserie of Houston.

The groom, Anoop Shah, 30, completed his undergraduate degree in Business and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and after a brief stint working in Madison, Wisconsin, finished his MBA at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He is presently an Associate in Corporate finance with Next Era Energy, in West Palm Beach, Florida. He is the son of Ajay Shah, a mechanical engineer who is the co-founder of Shah Smith Associates, a consulting engineering firm in Houston.  His mother, Angela is a dietician who formerly worked in several area hospitals.

The bride, Pooja Verma, 31, was born and brought up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and got her undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, eventually getting an MBA from Cornell University. She works as a Project Director at TNTP, an NGO consulting firm from Brooklyn, New York. Her father, Dr. Lalit Verma has been the head of the Biology and Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville for the past 14 years. Her mother, Aruna, retired as a kindergarten teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

After a “minimoon” in Sedona, Arizona, the couple will make their home in West Palm Beach, Florida. They plan a longer honeymoon next year in New Zealand.

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13 Responses to Anoop Shah Marries Pooja Verma

  1. Fran & Paul Clinton December 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Best Wishes! We truly enjoyed reading about your wedding, and seeing those amazing photos. Thinking back, you as our young neighbor in Fayetteville, quiet, shy, and so sweet. You have grown into a beautiful lady, and the photos show that smile and beauty.

    Best Wishes, for a wonderful life together! Looking forward to seeing all the family, during a visit…..

  2. Sonu December 3, 2014 at 8:33 am


    Heartiest of congratulations to you Pooja 🙂

    And you too Amit.

    Wish you both lots of happiness.

  3. Dr SS Verma December 1, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Lovely photos…!!!

  4. Satish Bal December 1, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Congratulations to Pooja and Anup. Wish you a very happy and blessed life ahead. Thanks to Prof Lalit Verma for sharing the news and photos with me.

    Best wishes

    Satish Bal, Kolkata India

  5. Bob and Susan Hutton November 30, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    One can only imagine what a fabulous wedding it must have been.
    Congratulations to Anoop and Pooja and their proud parents.

    Fondly, Bob and Susan

  6. Dilip November 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Mubarak Ho……!!!

  7. Sudha n ravi divakarla November 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Congratulations pooja , Lalit uncle n aruna aunty . Pics are very nice . Cute couple ,wish u happy married life.

  8. Mala & Gautam November 28, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Congratulations to Pooja & Anoop….God Bless U both.
    Many good wishes to Lalit Bhaiya & Bhabi Ji….
    Cheers! Mala/Gautam.(Bangalore).

  9. Sheeba Sharma November 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    What a wonderful article and pictures! Love the Texas longhorn! That’s just awesome! Wishing you a wonderful life together:))

  10. Madhu and Anil November 27, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Congratulations to whole family. We enjoyed the ceremony. It was a very enjoyable wedding.

  11. Ken and Erny Von Bargen November 27, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Congratulation, newly weds!! And thank you for sharing your photos and news with us.

  12. shachiin Nanavati November 27, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Hello Anju & Ajay,

    The coverage in the News Paper speaks volumes for the unique event that it was. The reporting is quite apt.

    I enjoyed every moment thoroughly and am so glad that I attended.

    Once again, I wish Anoop & Pooja a memorable life ahead.


  13. Nitika and Dinesh Mehta November 26, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    We enjoyed reading this article and reliving the festivities which are still ringing and dancing within us. Four days full of events went by very fast indeed. Very joyous ceremonies, venue, food, music, decorations and most of all families and friends.

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