Bhopal: There was a time – and not in the hoary past, mind you – when Valentine’s Day was unheard of in this part of the world. There was no Hug Day, Rose Day and Propose Day. But the Cupid’s arrow did strike even in the times gone by, though the ways and means of expressing love of the romantic kind were very different. Love, after all, has little – if anything – to do with chocolates and teddy bears.
This Valentine’s Day, Free Press spoke to some young-at-heart elderly residents of the city to know about their jab-we-met moment and what transpired later. Of course, all these are- and they lived happily thereafter stories. After all, who wants to hear sob stories on the day that celebrates love! Excerpts:
Rajesh Joshi, 73, poet
I met my wife Nirupa Chatterji at our office. We worked in the same department of State Bank of India. We both are science graduates but we had great interest in cultural events. We used to go to theatre to watch plays regularly. Gradually, a bonding developed between us and we became good friends.
Then, I proposed – and she said yes. After dating for a year, we decided to get married. We chose to go for court marriage to ensure that our parents are not able to nix our plans. Later, we came to know that our parents were very good friends and there was no opposition from their side at all. There was no theatrics.
We wanted to get married on Basant Panchami but unfortunately it fell on a Sunday in that year and the court was closed. But we got married on same day at an Arya Samaj temple at Jawahar Chowk. We have completed 38 years of married life. I think, basic understanding is important for durable relationships.
It is also essential to know each-other’s nature very well. Earlier, there was no trend of celebrating V-Day. Yes, we used to celebrate Basantotsav as a festival of love. I see nothing wrong in celebrating the Day. In fact, it is good to know that there was a saint who talked about love and spread love. Es tarah ke sadhu -sant aur ho jaye to achchha hi hai…
Shruti Kriti Barik, 60, ballet choreographer
I met Madhav Barik – who was to become my husband later – at LBT (Little Ballet Troupe) for the first time. He was an assistant director there and used to teach us. He was very sober and of a shy nature. But he was very hard working. He knew how to respect women.
His way of teaching and his dedication to his profession, attracted me a lot. I proposed to him on January 20, 1993, the foundation day of the LBT. He said neither yes nor said no but only that he will think over it. Actually he wanted to obtain the consent of his mother. He belongs to Odisha and I am from Bhopal.
After some initial resistance, his relatives agreed. I went to Odisha once before our marriage. After one year, we got married on December 10, 1994. Our mentors, choreographers Gulvardhan and Prabhat Ganguly were very happy. At that time there was no concept of V-Day.
Before marriage, we used to celebrate our birthdays and after marriage, we celebrate our marriage anniversary. I think, mutual understanding and faith keep any relation strong and long. Sometimes we do quarrel but sorries follow quickly. Jahan pyar hota hai wahan thoda bahot takrar to hota hi hai…
Rajendra Kothari, 77, Businessman
My wife Asha, whom I love to call Annapurna, proposed to me. She rang me up on July 10, 1973 at 3 pm and without much ado just said, “Let’s get married.” I said okay, fine. Then we went to a notary and got affidavits made. We got married at 5 pm on July 10 the same year and threw a reception on July 26.
She hails from Bhopal and I am from Indore. We met for the first time at the wedding of a common relative at Indore. And from then on, we began liking each other. But her parents would have none of it. She tried to convince them for 10 long years but couldn’t succeed. Then, she gave up her family for me. Our friends, including famous satirist Sharad Joshi, helped us a lot in getting married.
We had to struggle a lot. We struggled for material wealth, education of our three daughters and their marriage. And we are still struggling. At that time, we knew nothing about Valentine Day (V-Day). We are married for 45 years now and for us every day is a V-day. I think, the kind of joy being in love gives you is unmatched. Unfortunately, nowadays, we are talking more about hatred and less about love