Friday, April 27, 2012


The Vintage Love Gurus

They have celebrated fewer Valentine's Days than most of us, but if you want to know the secret of an everlasting marriage, these much-in-love couples will happily share it with you

Dhwani Pathak Dave

Posted On Friday, April 27, 2012 at 08:59:25 PM

If you thought everlasting love were just words buried in yellowing pages of old romantic novels, you must meet these happy couples. They'll reinstate your faith in undying love. For they have withstood the vagaries of time, celebrating the triumphs and braving the tribulations together. 

Now, with bifocal lenses, bypassed hearts and toothless smiles, these couples are role models for a generation notorious for extravagant weddings and fashionable divorces. 


Shirish Desai &  Geeta  Desai Ramanlal Desai & Shushila Desai
During any discord, we turn to my parents for their advice. We look up to them Mutual respect and trust are very important in a marriage. There can be no love if you compromise on those factors

There was a time when holding hands was part of our romance. Now, when we hold hands, it is to support each other," says Ramanlal Desai, 98, winking at his wife Shushila, 94. Married for 75 years now, the former station master is full of praise for his wife, the only "best friend" he has.

Ramanlalbhai's 75-year-old son Shirish, a geologist, is in the 50th year of wedded bliss with Geeta, 74. Like father, like son, we say. 

The match was fixed by Ramanlalbhai who believes he could have not found a better partner for the son. 

Shirish nods his head in approval, saying, "I couldn't have asked for more. She is perfect for me. We turn to my parents for advice even today when it comes to any discord. They are two bodies and one soul. We look up to them just like our children look up to us."

What more, the Desais live under one roof in perfect harmony. 

They are just two of the 51 couples from across the state who will be felicitated on Sunday at an event organised by Bajkhedawal Brahmin Samaj in Maninagar. They will reveal the secret of their happy marriage during a question- and-answer session with youngsters. The event will also have a baraat comprising children of these couples celebrating glorious years of their togetherness. 

Reminiscing the "good, old days", Ramanlal says, "I still remember the day we had gone to watch Raja Harishchandra, India's first talkie. It remains etched in our memories as one of the happiest days of our life."

He adds, "Mutual respect and trust are very important in a marriage. You cannot compromise on them." As for Shirish and Geeta, they have grown to "enjoy" their dissimilarities over a period of time. "Just yesterday, we had an argument. She recently suffered a fracture and instead of taking rest, she got busy cooking for me. I told her not to bother, but she wouldn't listen to me," he says.

Ask Geeta what she detests most about her husband and she replies without thinking too much, "He is unorganised even after all these years."

The husband counters jokingly, "An organised life blocks creativity. All the time goes in putting things in order."

Shirish and Geeta have three children. Their grandchildren are settled in the US. "My wife and I are more like friends now. We take good care of each other. Apart from blood pressure problem, we do not have any health issues." 


Ramesh Dhruv & Anila Dhruv
Ramesh Dhruv, 76, and Anila, 71, are another model couple who believes that a relationship thrives on mutual trust and respect.

Married in 1960, they have faced several ups and downs in life. But that has only brought them closer. For four years of his life, Ramesh, a former class-I officer, worked out of Gujarat, leaving Anila alone to look after their children. Her only grouse is that their elder son chose to become a sanyasi. 

"I was very upset. I am his mother and it was very difficult for me to come to terms with it. But my husband made me understand that our son was doing it for the society's good. It still hurts sometimes, but I have accepted it."

Asked what they appreciate most about each other, Ramesh says, "She ensures that nobody visiting us leaves without having food, even if it means inconveniencing herself." Anila is in awe of her husband's "large-heartedness".  "Due to my age, I am not able to do the daily chores as effortlessly as I used to. But he is always ready to help me. Besides, he never complains."


Manhar Shelat & Kokila Shelat
Married for 50 years now, Manhar Shelat, 75, and his wife Kokila, 68, have never addressed each other by their names. They call each other 'Gaurang', which is the name of their eldest son. "It's similar to the aji sunte ho in the serials these days, " says Kokila, coyly. The couple has had their share of upheavals, but that did not shatter them.

"Our second son was detected with cancer at a young age of 25. He battled against the disease for three months before  we finally lost him," he says.

"It broke the family, but my husband and I stood strong. It was the most harrowing experience of our life," she says.

Unfortunately, they do not have their wedding pictures. "My family thought hers would get the photographer and her family thought mine would. So, there was no photographer on the most important day of our life. We plan to get our pictures clicked on Sunday," says Manhar.

The couple also has some advice for youngsters. "It is easy to give up, but difficult to stick together. The incidents of divorce are increasing because couples are no longer tolerant towards each other," says Kokila.


Jayendra Dave & Bhanumati Dave
Humour has been the secret ingredient of their happy married life, reveal Jayendra Dave, 68 and Bhanumati, 66. 

"My family wanted me to get married to her elder sister, but I was keen on marrying her. Once we got hitched, people would tell me that she is jabri. Well, she actually is," he guffaws.

Talking about their courtship days, she says, "We are from the same village. He stayed near the temple I used to visit every day. I saw him several times, standing near the well of his house, brushing his teeth. But we spoke to each other for the first time only after our engagement."

Pursuing activities together is also a great way to bond with each other, believes the couple.

"We make sure that we go on trips frequently. Though we have been to religious places more often, every trip is a new honeymoon," says Jayendra.

What irritates him is her "laughter when it is not required". What she doesn't like about him is his short-tempered nature. "I do not react when he gets angry. Only after he is calm, I point out his mistakes. He accepts them, but not always," she says.

20, DESCANSO, APRT 1321,

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