Bobby Kathuria – Neha Purohit Wedding

The newlyweds Bobby and Neha Kathuria with their parents Brij and Aruna Kathuria (on right) and Sharad and Bharti Purohit (on left) at their wedding reception.

The newlyweds Bobby and Neha Kathuria with their parents Brij and Aruna Kathuria (on right) and Sharad and Bharti Purohit (on left) at their wedding reception.

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: The wedding card – a tall, short illustrated booklet really – gave away the theatrical lavishness that was to come and true to form, the groom’s father, Brij Kathuria, delivered the three wedding functions for his son Bobby in the characteristic style which he has become known for. In the past four years, he has staged stunning sets for wedding receptions and fundraising galas (notably for his favorite charity Pratham) which express his admiration for the mix of electric logos, mood lighting and heavy beat music. Kathuria is an aficionado of elaborate sets and heavy décor and his theatrical style shows that his true calling for a second career should be in nightclub design.

This time around, of course, the elaborate setup was for his son, Bobby who got married to Neha Purohit in a function that started with the bang of dholuks (barrel drums) on the boulevard outside the Hilton Americas downtown and onto the Avenidas de Americas as the groom rode a decorated steed while his groomsmen and relatives danced in front all the way to the waiting bride’s parents by the main entrance. The night before, the two families and their guests had immersed themselves in the sangeet ceremony on the 4th floor ballroom and eaten from six different cuisine stalls laid around the immense room. The next evening, the ballroom had been converted into a huge nightclub for over 700 people with a fountain inside the round newlyweds table and dance numbers by friends and family from both sides. Brij Kathuria finally had a chance to strut and shimmy in his own creation and he was overjoyed! Dawat Catering capped the evening with a cup of sweetened creamy milk with blanched almonds heating in an oversized kadai (wok).

The groom, Bobby, could have taken a page from the theatre too, in the way he went about in wooing his bride and winning her hand. The two met after finishing off at UT Austin while they were still living in that city. A mutual friend introduced them but it wasn’t till 18 months later that they went on their first date to see the movie Avatar. The show was sold out, so they went to another screen and found that, awkwardly, they were the only two in the theater! “She didn’t think that was our first date!’ recalled Bobby four days after the wedding. “For her, it was when we went to see the Cirque du Soleil three weeks later.” In between, they had ice cream with her cousin and by then, the two knew they were smitten.

Bobby Kathuria, 32, was born in Spring, Texas and went to the get his bachelors in electrical engineering from the University of Texas in Austin. After a sprint with a local firm, this past March he joined ST Micro, a Franco-Italian company, as a global accounts manager and has relocated to San Francisco. His dad, Brij was the 98th employee of Compaq Computers, the top-selling laptop computer company at that time and worked with them since 1982 in various management capacities till he left in 2008 after it was acquired by Hewlett Packard. Brij continues to do consulting work and is a lighting and sound specialist by avocation. Bobby’s mom, Aruna has kept the family together in their comfortable home in Spring for 30 years. His younger brother Neil, 30, is an emergency medicine doctor in New York City, and gave an emotional sendoff at the reception.

Neha Purohit, 30, is a physical therapist who until recently worked in New York City and is now planning a move to San Francisco. She received her degree in human development from the University of Texas in Austin also. She is the youngest child of Sharad and Bharti Purohit, both raised in Kenya – he from Nairobi and she from Mombasa – who have lived in Houston since 1980. Sharad is a geophysicist who got his degree in London and started his career with the diamond mines in East Africa. He moved to Houston to continue in the field of geoscience, working for several companies and start-ups until he finally retired in 2011. Bharti worked for 14 years with Bechtel before becoming a homemaker.

Neha’s older sister Niyati, 32, was born in Houston too and is in stem cell research at MD Andersen Cancer Center. Her older brother Ujval, 38, was born in London and is a geophysics scientist, like his dad, at Noble Energy.

The newlyweds are excited about their planned honeymoon in New Zealand, Sydney, Australia and Hawaii, for which they left on December 29. They will make their home in San Francisco and look forward to many visitors from Austin and Houston.