[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of Love Is Blind. Read at your own risk!]
It was three or four days before the wedding day when Deepti Vempati knew she would not marry Abishek "Shake" Chatterjee. The pair had gotten engaged in one of the pods of Love Is Blind Season 2, and were on a massage date before the final part of the show: deciding whether to get married. "We did this eye-gazing thing and honestly, I was just like, this is bullsh--," Deepti told TV Guide ahead of the finale's release. She questioned why she was trying to prove to her fiancé that she was "wife material." "If you don't see it by now, then you don't see it. So I think in that moment, I was like, I just have to move on," said the 31-year-old data analyst.
Part of Shake not being able to "see" a marriage with Deepti was due to the 33-year-old veterinarian and house DJ's professed inability to feel — in his words — an "animalistic" and "instinctual" physical attraction toward her. Shake repeatedly brought up this issue in his interviews, and on multiple occasions likened spending time with Deepti to spending time with his aunt.
In the finale of Love Is Blind, Deepti does move on. Asked at the altar whether she would take Shake as her husband, Deepti said, "I deserve somebody who knows for sure. So, I'm choosing myself, and I'm gonna say no."
Deepti spoke to TV Guide about her decision, and how she has felt about that decision in the months since filming. The cast member also talked about why it was significant to bring Indian culture into her experience on Love Is Blind.
What has it been like watching the show back?
Deepti: A lot of mixed emotions, especially the first set of episodes that aired. Shake, we talked about how physical intimacy was a problem in our relationship and we were kind of missing that chemistry. But just the way he approached it and how he talked about it to the other castmates and his friends was very upsetting to watch back. Even if he's just my best friend, which that's kind of what we were, you don't talk about people like that in general. It was kind of hurtful and hard to watch back. But I'm just excited for the finale because it finally gives me my redemption moment of sticking up for myself and saying I don't accept somebody who doesn't see me fully. And if you don't see my worth, I'm not going to sit here and try to convince you of it.
In some of his comments that have been airing, one thing that keeps coming up is how he feels like he's spending time with his aunt when he's with you. What do you make of that?
Deepti: Just the way he talks about it is so nonchalant. It's almost like, oh look at me, I'm a cool guy trying to be funny about it, but it's at the expense of, supposedly, your best friend and your fiancé. He just doesn't have the self-awareness to know that what he's saying is inappropriate, that it's hurtful and it's just not kind. I hope he learns that lesson watching it back, but I honestly don't think he will. And it's not my problem anymore. [laughs]
At what point did you know you were going to say no at the altar?
Deepti: Shake actually planned a massage date for us and we did this eye-gazing thing and honestly, I was just like, this is bullsh--. Why are we sitting here trying to force something that's not even here? Why am I trying to secure and prove to someone constantly that I'm wife material or that this could be a good relationship or it's going to work? I shouldn't have to do that. If you don't see it by now, then you don't see it. So I think in that moment, I was like, I just have to move on.
Was this massage date planned to strengthen your connection?
Deepti: Yes, exactly. Because it's kind of more intimate and puts you in that romantic mood. It was all very special and sweet, but it just felt so forced by him that it didn't seem authentic.
In the finale, you said, "I deserve somebody who knows for sure. So, I'm choosing myself, and I'm gonna say no." How have you felt about your decision in the months since filming?
Deepti: I'm over the moon about my decision. After filming had wrapped I honestly started seeing more of Shake's true colors. And I could sense that he was kind of putting on an act for the show, [for] whatever, the sake of me? I don't know. But once we got back into the real world, and I started once in a while hanging out with him, or seeing him interact with people, or seeing how he is on social media, I was like, there is a God. Thank you to the universe, whatever forces are working with me that I did not marry that man. I am truly beyond over the moon that I did not.
Throughout the season, you share different parts of Indian culture. For example, you said you always envisioned yourself getting married in a traditional Indian outfit and that's what you wear on wedding day in the finale. Why was it important for you to bring Indian customs and traditions into this experience?
Deepti: My whole life, I tried to not be Indian because I wanted to fit in and I went through so much bullying as a child and I just wanted to not be unique, essentially. But growing into my adulthood, I'm realizing how much of a blessing it is to have that uniqueness. And I will by no means say that I'm the epitome poster child for the Indian community or India in general, but I absolutely love the different aspects of the culture. It's so rich and meaningful and deep, and not to mention the wedding gowns are absolutely stunning.
My parents are pretty religious [they are Hindu, Deepti said] and they've always kept that Indian culture alive in our household, and I know that it means a lot to them as well.
Are you looking for love at the moment? If so, what are you looking for?
Deepti: I'm just looking for my best friend, someone to make the mundane fun. But of course, I'm definitely looking because I'm 31 now and, not that age matters, but I just think that this is the moment in my life where I'm ready for that next chapter. That's why I did Love Is Blind in the first place.
Love Is Blind Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.