From Russia with love
By Jude Toyat
A long-distance relationship can either pull a couple apart, or bring the two closer together. In the case of power couple, Dr Dalvinder Singh and Dr Esther Michael, the distance made the heart grow fonder.
Twenty-nine year old Dr Dalvinder, or better known as Dalvin, is a Punjabi gentleman who was born and bred in Ipoh, Perak. After finishing his studies at the Moscow Medical Academy in 2010, he came to Sarawak to start work as a medical officer with the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) that year.
Meanwhile, Dr Esther is a 24-year-old Sarawakian of mixed Bidayuh-Chinese-Iban parentage from Bau who is now working as a medical doctor at SGH.
“I first met Esther, who was also my junior from the same medical school, when she was doing her practical at SGH in 2010. She immediately caught my eyes – and attention – since then,” said Dalvin when met at their engagement cum registration of marriage ceremony held here recently.
It was the Malaysian Medical Fellowship (MMF), founded by Dalvin, which brought the couple together.
“That was the time when Esther really captured my heart as we were doing a mission under the fellowship together. At that time, we were going around the interior of Sarawak – including to Bau – together, providing aid to people there. That was when I looked at her and how she served the people.
“I was amazed by a lady with such a big heart,” he added.
Their first date, however, wasn’t under the best of conditions. Dalvin was still recovering from a breakup and thought that he was never going to be with anybody.
“But when I went out with Esther for the first time, I told myself that I was not there for a date. If I was going to be with someone I was going to marry that person.
“After having several conversations together, I already knew that she was that person because she had all the attributes I had told God I would want in a life partner,” said Dalvin, adding that Esther is a calm and steady lady who always makes him feel great.
After knowing each other for six years, the couple felt that it was time for them to tie the knot, which prompted Dalvin to propose to her in Moscow on June 29 under the pretence of attending her graduation from the Moscow Medical Academy.
What seemed to be just a mere visit to celebrate Esther’s graduation, turned into something that promised to change their lives together forever.
“Graduating with Honours and getting the Dean’s Special Award were just icing on the cake for that day and I couldn’t be happier to spend that day with my loved one who flew 20 hours to be with me,” said Esther who thought that the celebration had just ended at the graduation.
The next day, on June 29, Dalvin planned for them to have a photoshoot at Red Square, touted to be the heart and soul of Russia.
“All primed and groomed, we head off for the photoshoot. Cameras were everywhere and for me, it was just another photoshoot to commemorate the place we called home for six years,” said Esther, recalling the day clearly.
“In a blink as I turned my back, there he was on his knees, with a diamond ring in his palm blessed by both our parents,” said Esther gleefully as she recalled his next words.
“’Esther, there are a lot of decisions I have to make in life, and they are never easy except this decision to marry you. It is the more certain and easy one to make.Would you be my wife? To have and to hold till death do us part?'”
“With St Basil Cathedral as our witness, I said ‘yes’ to devote the rest of my life, loving and marrying my dream man, my only Dalvin,” Esther said, relating how the crowd that had begun to gather around them had then given them hugs and congratulated them.
“Some even asked if it was a movie shoot!”
Their perfect day in Moscow ended with a perfect Russian classic – a date to the Bolshoi theatre to watch the ballet.
Hearts for Giving
One thing that has always been a major factor that brought the couple together is the act of giving.
They have been doing missions for many years together even before Dalvin founded the community initiative known as Help Somebody in May this year.
Help Somebody aims to connect volunteers to make a difference in the community and was founded with a basic premise which was to “find a need and meet it, and to find a hurt and heal it”.
Among the activities that they did together through Help Somebody were giving out care packs to patients’ family members at hospitals, including SGH and the Miri Hospital.
“We also went to a school here to be with the students, sharing inspiring stories with them and reminded them that they have a good future.
“When we tell them that, we are also telling ourselves that God has good plans for us. We also believe that if we look up for others, God will take care of us,” said Dalvin, who is currently working as State Health assistant director since 2014.
Dalvin’s capacity for empathy was what drew Esther to him and captured her heart.
“As a doctor who works with lots of patients, he has become a very empathic individual. Looking at him, meeting hundreds of patients in the hospital per day, he still goes out in search of more patients in the interior and try to serve them and make sure they get all the basic medical needs.
“He has a really big heart and it is exactly the kind of man I would love to spend my life with,” said Esther.
To date, about 350 people have signed up as volunteers with Help Somebody Visit http://www.helpsomebody.com.my to know more.
“If you are focusing on something that we mutually love doing, then it becomes something that we are passionate about, talk about and enjoy, more like a hobby.
“When we find a need and meet it and find a hurt and heal it, we can help to change people’s world. With little gifts and talents that we have in the medical line, we can also make a difference. Just like how others in different line can do the same too,” said Dalvin, the first runner-up of the Asian Youth Ambassador (AYA) Award 2010.
“We hope that we can still inspire others out there to offer help because one thing that people should remember is when we think about other people’s needs and wants, and try your best to help them, you actually realised that things will eventually fall into place for yourself too.”
Esther said that it is also important to have the same vision and passion to ensure they become strong couple.
“It will be hard if he likes to do something and I feel that it is something that distract our lives. I feel happy to join and support as it also helps us to organise our lives and time better. We always do meetings together to plan our days because we know we will have lots of things to be done in a week and to keep things stay organised.
“We will also ensure that every decision is made over a mutual agreement. Both of us plan a lot of things together and all decisions need to be made together, that is our policy to ensure that we stay on the same page no matter where we may be. It is easy for us to make plans together because both of us have the same vision and know what we are stepping into through this relationship that will eventually lead to marriage,” she added.
The couple will be getting married in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 10.