He Got Her Attention, but the Guitar Hero Had to Go


Dr. Chloe Ciccariello remembers looking forward to a quiet nap one day in August 2006 at her Columbia dormitory, which was then assigned mostly to freshman engineering students. Suddenly the deafening sounds of electric guitar music outside her door roused her from bed in search of the source.

She opened the door and found Dr. Krishn Khanna, then a college freshman, rocking out while playing Guitar Hero. “I scolded him pretty good,” said Dr. Ciccariello, who majored in biology and human rights.

So good, in fact, he began asking, “Who was that girl?”

Dr. Khanna, now 32 and a spine surgeon in Andover, Mass., who is to begin working at Orthopaedics Northeast in the fall, found out more about the woman who scolded him the very next year, when he and Dr. Ciccariello ended up in the same organic chemistry class.

Despite their shaky start, Dr. Ciccariello, now 33, and Dr. Khanna became solid friends and study partners.

By the end of the semester, they had become a romantic item, and after completing their undergraduate degrees, they stayed in New York to begin medical school, she at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and he at Columbia. She will begin working in the fall as a primary-care physician at Boston Medical Center.

They continued to date and were nearing their six-year anniversary when it became clear to both that they would greatly benefit by living together. Beside being in love, each had demanding schedules and living on student stipends.

The problem, Dr. Khanna said, were his parents, Seema Khanna and Pradeep Khanna of New Delhi. “My parents did not support the idea of us living together outside of wedlock,” he said.

Dr. Ciccariello said that “it really hurt to think that I wasn’t accepted by his family.”

In July 2014, Dr. Khanna matched into an orthopedic surgery residency at the University of California, San Francisco, while Dr. Ciccariello stayed back in New York for her last year of medical school.

Feeling distant both emotionally and geographically, they broke up. Two weeks later, Dr. Ciccariello matched as an internal medicine resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and followed Dr. Khanna there a year later.

Upon arrival, Dr. Ciccariello and Dr. Khanna would meet occasionally for dinner, but spent most of their time apart. They dated other people, and grew into more independent adults.

Dr. Khanna said that his time apart from Dr. Ciccariello left him in a “sorry state” and made him think more critically about the kind of partner he wanted to be.

“It got to the point,” he said, “where I wanted her back, and my family, who saw the condition I was in, began rooting for us to get back together.”

After 18 months apart, Drs. Ciccariello and Khanna did just that. Within six months, they were living together, and within a year, they were engaged.

On Feb. 16, they took part in a celebration ceremony in the seaside resort in Kochi, a historically vibrant Indian port city in the state of Kerala. The three-day celebration featured all the fanfare of an Indian wedding, including an elaborate Sangeet ceremony where family and friends performed choreographed dance performances.

On Aug. 16, they are to be legally married in Harbor Springs, Mich., before 10 guests, including the bride’s parents, Lloyd Speed and William Ciccariello of the Jamaica Plain section of Boston.

The Rev. Al Shands, an Episcopal priest, is to lead the outdoor ceremony, where there will be more than just a marriage to celebrate. In June, they welcomed their first child, a daughter, Indrina Khanna.

“My parents have only seen our daughter on video chat,” Dr. Khanna said. “But they are freaking out because they cannot wait to visit us and meet her in person.”



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