Couples Who Prove Love Can Last Forever!

“We were both born and brought up in Sindh, which used to be a part of India back then. Even though we grew up in the same place, our paths never crossed. It was during partition that both our families left for Bombay -- hers by train, mine by boat. Those were terrifying days -- bodies and riots every, we didn’t have any money...forget that, we didn’t even have shoes on our feet! We slept on VT station for the first 3 days, until my father found a job and life returned to normalcy. All of us ‘refugees’ were hungry to start over, we worked our way up and slowly built a life for ourselves. In time, I shifted to Kuwait where there were many opportunities and she was studying to be a doctor in Bombay. Once when I was visiting home, I was at the window and saw her in this lovely sari, standing at the bus stop. She looked so sweet and innocent, I used to see her everyday from my window...and then as fate would have it, I found out my sister was married to her uncle! After a lot of convincing, my sister ‘set up’ a meeting for us, we dated for 10 days and then I proposed! It was that simple -- now days, you don’t even know whether you’re dating! Then came the dreadful long distance -- I still remember, I used to set aside time and money to make a long distance phone call from my hotel to call her. In between, we wrote each other letters but they would reach after months, so our letters would be long...trying to cover everything we’ve missed! That was true romance to me -- being happy in just ‘knowing’ that the other was happy...even without you! I always felt bad because she gave up an excellent job opportunity in Boston to be with me, but in my heart I knew that her dreams were as important as a few years into our marriage she did end up going back there to work and I moved with her. Those were the days, and believe me we still talk about all these memories. One thing we love doing together is being in nature, so very often you will find us watching the sunset or the moon together and talking about life, and how amazing it has been. That’s the best part about this life -- reliving those special memories over and over with the same person and watching that sunset together, knowing that you’re creating more of those memories as you go along.”

“We first met 39 years ago at a wedding. The girl was my best friend and the boy was his relative, but we’d never met before. During that wedding we became really good friends and continued to meet pretty much everyday after. I don’t know at what point our friendship became love…or maybe it always was love but there was never really a need for him to ask me to date him — we were already madly in love. We were both working and at that time there were no cellphones — so we had one designated bus stop or a particular spot at the train station where the person who got done with work first would wait for the other. From writing long letters to each other to sipping on hot tea in the rain…our old school romance was innocent but so pure. The best part of our relationship was that we never needed to use words to understand each other — even about our marriage. He didn’t need to ask me to marry him…the question was never ‘will you?’ The question was ‘when should we?’ “We got married in 1982 and started building our life from scratch. We moved out on our own and were financially independent from day1. We were both working around the clock to pay the bills and make ends meet. It was during this period of struggle that we realised that the one thing that kept us going was our relationship. When the hours were long and work was demanding the thought of my wife waiting at home for dinner is what pushed me. She pushed me to work harder, to be a better version of myself and the life we have right now has been created by both of us together. From wanting to educate our children at the best of schools to moving to bigger spaces we’ve achieved everything together. In 1999, we both began to discuss the prospect of starting a business but neither of us were sure of taking the risk of quitting a well paying job. Over time, I realised just how passionate she was about running a business so I encouraged her to quit and told her not to worry about the finances. That was the best decision because over the next 6 years she grew our Logistics business idea from strength to strength and eventually in 2005 I left my job and we both worked on our business together! “Our lives became comfortable from there and with our children being well settled we had the freedom to travel a lot more. We were taking 2 or 3 trips a year, but we wanted to spend more time together. It was around this time that we stumbled upon a post on Facebook about a couple who travelled by car from Bangalore to Paris in 111 days and we fell in love with the idea! We immediately started planning our trip and within a few weeks we had mapped out our route from Bombay to London and back — a 8 month road trip across 52 countries. And what a trip it was — we’ve visited places that are so remote and unknown but have so much soul in them, eaten the most delicious local food and met some of the best people on the way. At 55 and 61 we were discovering the world together but by the end of it we rediscovered ourselves and our entire relationship. From re- visiting old memories to fighting like children our dash cam has seen it all. Honestly we’ve felt a rollercoaster of emotions during this trip but the one emotion that stayed is love. In the little things he did — putting my comfort above his, making sure that I eat well and bundling me up with that extra blanket when it got cold. Isn’t that what it’s about? Not so much about the destination but the little things, the journey there and knowing that you have someone to unconditionally share it all with.”

I used to work for the Air Force in the meteorological branch but I’m now retired. My job has given me a lot - it’s given me my values, culture, priorities and many great friends, but the biggest thing it’s ever given me is my wife. We had an arranged marriage back then and my wife here, said ‘yes’ to marry me, thinking that we will romantically travel everywhere together, not knowing what travels actually awaited her! We were posted in the remotest parts of India, but she stood strong like a rock, supporting me through all my ups and downs. I still remember, when we were posted in Jamnagar during the 1971 war - there were frequent black outs at night and our lives were in danger, but she never complained. In fact, when I used to feel low, she would comfort me and remind me that we were here for a much larger cause. She would say, ‘eating without lights is romantic!’, smile and cheer me up. When we began a family and I was away, enjoying the Air Force life my wife worked hard, to raise our three children in the best way possible. Our son and two daughters have gown up now to be strong, confident people and I give all the credit to the efforts of their mother. Being in the Air Force, my wife and I learnt that religion doesn’t matter — at the end of the day it’s the love that unites us and we’ve tried out best to pass on these values to our children. I guess they learnt by example because all three of them have had inter- caste love marriages and we were thrilled will all their choices…touchwood, they’re all so happy. We’re also grandparents now — and the joy in that is something we can’t even describe. Two of my children now live abroad and my wife and I miss them terribly, but whenever they’re here she’ll drop everything to babysit the grandkids…we can’t believe how much our family has grown. We’ve spent 49 years together and we still often fight like we used to, not because we have a serious reason to fight, but it just keeps us young… the silly fights, the sulking, the making up! How do you plan on celebrating your 50th anniversary? “By celebrating our love…with our children, their partners and our grandchildren. My God, 50 years it’s been! How time flies when you’re going through life with the one you love by your side — building a life together, celebrating each other — it’s so surreal, I feel so lucky…it’s been such a beautiful life!”

“I was 19 when I first met her during Navratri. I immediately asked my cousin if he knew who she was and to introduce me — which he did. The first thing I said to her was, ‘you dance really well’ and from there it all began. I used to wear an artificial limb back then, but I believe that when God takes something away from you, he gives back to you in 10 other ways and for me that has always been my confidence — I’ve never felt handicapped. Our dates were like any other — I still remember the first time I asked her out to a movie and she said, ‘but I’ve never travelled out of Ghatkopar — I won’t be allowed.’ So I told her to tell her parents that she’s going with her friends and that’s where the real burden was — I didn’t mind paying any amount for her, but along with her came a group of 5 friends who I was also paying for! But I was so in love— nothing mattered! Those were the days — the 90’s pubs like Slip Disc and Blue Nile were the best and we really partied! Our courtship period was around 2 and a half years after which her parents wanted her to get married. Both of us were from similar backgrounds and the same religion but they were vehemently against her marrying someone who was handicapped. Honestly, I would feel the same way if my daughter asked me to marry someone without a limb, but it was those difficult times that actually made me realise what love really is. Even though I was madly in love with her, I was ready to let her go because maybe that was what was best for her — her happiness was more important than my own. I spoke to her and asked her what she wanted to do and to do what’s right for her. She thought about it and spoke to her parents. She told them, ‘If I was married to someone without a handicap, and they got into an accident and lost a limb — would I leave him? I love him and I want to marry only him.’ When they still didn’t agree, I told her that I would do anything for her — I would make all the arrangements and keep her happy for the rest of our lives. That small conversation between us was enough — I picked her up, we got married at Arya Mandhir and the rest as they say is history. Her parents were fine within a few months, but that decision has been the best one. I married a gem — she’s so caring and kind. She has loved and accepted me from day 1. She lifts up and carries people…she’s carried me my entire life.” “What’s the best part about him?” “He is the most intelligent and independent man I’ve met. Not having a leg doesn’t stop him from doing anything — he travels abroad almost every other week, he swims, plays table tennis and has done every adventure sport from sky diving to scuba diving. But more than anything, he will do anything to see his family happy. He’s always protected me…limb or no limb — in every way he’s my superman.”

“What’s beautiful about our family is that we all respect each other’s decisions and accept them without trying to change anyone. The love we have for each other transcends our choices —that’s why we’re happy about our older son’s decision to move abroad, even though we miss him terribly, or our younger son’s decision to get married only once he crossed 40. All these things seem small, when you put love above everything else because looking back, I can tell you that the only constant has been love. We’ve moved houses, gone from being young parents to 70 year oldies who enjoy nothing more than a good evening walk. Our looks have changed, the children have grown up and made lives for themselves, but through it all, the love has remained. That, and the fact that he still looks at me the way he did 40 years ago and it still gives me butterflies! So my only advice would be to never let any situation or temporary problem overpower the love. Let people make their own decisions, even though you may not always agree with them. Because that’s what love is, isn’t it? Accepting the ones who matter, just the way the are and not agreeing on everything, but loving them just the same, anyway.”

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