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Mumbai celebrates Navroz

The Agyaris and Atash Behram temples in the city buzzed with activity on the eve of Navroz or Parsi New Year, on Saturday, as hundreds of men, women and children belonging to the Parsi Community queued up to worship the holy fire. With two-thirds of India’s Parsi population living in Mumbai, the celebrations in the city were quite palpable.

The week before the Navroz is marked by a period called Mukhthad and Gatha.  The Mukhthad is a period of mourning for the community as it cherishes the memories of both joy and pain that the previous year bestowed upon it, while readying itself for a new year that would mark a new beginning.

“It is believed that during Mukhthad, our ancestors and those loved ones who have passed over to the other side, come back on earth to feast with us. We believe that it is they who grant us this New Year”, says Tushna Mistry, a final year student of Sophia College. During this period the fire temples are cleaned and decorated by those who maintain the premises.  Devotees throng the Agyaris to pay their respects to the departed. “I lost my aunt this year. So we went to Banajee  Atash Behram at Churney Road to pay her our respects. Usually, one leaves a silver vase with fresh flowers on the many marble top tables that the temples provide. One may also leave food and fruits for the souls. It signifies that we invite them to the feast”, adds Tushna.

The Mukhthad is followed by Gatha in which one does not cut nails or hair. This period is considered sacred and no part of the body no matter however miniscule must be shed. The day before the New Year is called ‘Pateti’. Pateti ends the period of mourning and the Parsis wish each other ‘Pateti Mubarakh,’ praying for good luck and a beautiful year ahead. The next day is what every Parsi awaits excitedly. It is a day of celebrating togetherness.

“Our Navroz begins at six in the morning unlike the midnight hour of December 31st that you guys celebrate every year’, says a smiling Mrs Anahita Mistry, a home maker. “We take a head bath early in the morning. Little children are bathed in milk and rose petals. New clothes are worn especially the Sadra and the Kasti. Sadra is a thin vest like silk shirt that is worn inside. Kasti is the holy thread that men wear. Much like the ones that Brahmins in the Hindu community don. The women in the house decorate the doors with garlands of flowers and glass beads called the ‘Toran’,” she adds.

The members of the Parsi community then visit the Agyaris and pay their respects to the fire. “Our God is the Fire. We call our God ‘Ahura Mazda’. Just like the Muslims, we do not have a picture of our God. But we worship our Prophet Zarathrushtra. On occasions such as these, the Agyaris are lit with lamps and decorated with flowers. You will not find a single artificial decorative in the entire temple”, says Mr. Kirsy Mistra, a resident of Mumbai.

The celebration immediately begins after the prayers. Members of families gather and have ‘Jashan’. “We Parsis love food. It is mainly the coming together of families and having toothsome delicacies that holds real significance on the New Year. Our breakfast consists of Rava or Sev cooked with sugar. The lunch is called Dhansak  in which we have Mutton Biryani, Mutton and chicken Dal and Kebabs”, says Pakshad Mistry, a school student.  “There are Parsi-Gujarati plays called Nataks that take place on New Year. Mostly belonging to the comedy genre, it is fun to watch them too”, he adds.

The Parsis are an adorable bunch of people. To celebrate the New Year with them teaches one a lot about their culture and traditions.

– Neelkamal Mishra

TYBMM Journalism

Sophia College for Women

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VASAI: TRAFFIC ISSUES IGNORED.

                      ARE TRAFFIC SIGNALS REALLY A THREAT????

 ( VASAI SENIOR TRAFFIC INSPECTOR- Mr. Shubash Deore)

Besides Mumbai, Vasai is a place that faces traffic issues which are often ignored by Vasaikars. Since the past 20 years, Vasai has been a town which has taken up development projects in construction, repairing roads and various infrastructure projects too but has turned a blind eye to the issues related to traffic. The issue has been not highlighted either by the people or Municipal Co-operation nor by the traffic police force.

The streets of Vasai reek of traffic problems. There are no facilities for a signal even where the four roads meet up in areas near the station (the chowks) or even at the 100 feet wide roads. Eg. at Babola naka, Evershine City (East), Vasant nagri, Ambadi naka etc.

In order to receive first-hand  information, I decided to speak to the traffic inspector of  Vasai, ‘Inspector Shubash Deore’. “ There’s not even a single signal in Vasai, no parking slot allotted, the bike riders don’t wear the helmet- such things are ignored by everyone.” Due to the absence of a traffic signal, Accidents are rampant due to which other issues of negligence by drivers have to be ignored. When wearing a helmet had become a law, people were taking the initiative to do so but this phenomenon lasted for a very short period of time. After a year, no bike rider is seen wearing a helmet. On 26th December, 2011- A bike and rickshaw collided with each other. On Investigating further, it was noted that two passengers in the rickshaw died on the spot and the rickshaw driver’s with minor injuries and Mr. Gokhale (the bike rider) is in a critical condition. Doctors are trying their best to bring Mr. Ghokhale to consciousness. Inspector Shubash Deore stated, “Mr. Ghokhale was half drunk and speeding up a bike without wearing a helmet.”

Cars and bikes tend to speed up as there are no traffic signals and many a times no traffic police to control the smooth flow of traffic. There’s no parking slot available due to which people tend to park it on both the sides of the road, this leads to traffic jam mostly near the vasai station. Inspector Shubhash Deore also stated, “No traffic signal contributes towards people ignoring the law of wearing of helmet, parking anywhere on the road and over drunken driving due to the absence of traffic polices many a times.”

Who is to be blamed for the traffic issues, is it the responsibility of the municipality co-operation or the traffic police? Or shouldn’t the public take initiatives to be responsible to avoid such issues and follow the traffic discipline without any law? This remains a vital question that may never be answered appropriately to anyone’s satisfaction.

picture credits: the photo was shot by me, once the traffic police had been interviewed.

BY  NICOLE FERNANDES

TYBMM

SOPHIA COLLEGE

HOW SAFE ARE WOMEN IN MUMBAI?

 

Breaking the Myth.  Facing the Reality.

“No way!” yelled my father when I tried to persuade him to let me fill out the forms for admission into Delhi University. “Don’t you know how unsafe the city is?” added my mother who was as furious as father. It was after my standard 12 results that I was keen on pursuing Bachelor of Arts in the prestigious Lady Shreeram College in Delhi. I finally enrolled myself in Sophia college, Mumbai, much to the joy of my parents, who, like many, unequivocally believe in the myth of Mumbai being highly safe for women.

After the unfortunate incident that occurred in Andheri, where Young Keenan and Reuben were brutally assaulted on the streets for raising their voice against the lewd remarks that were being passed on the women friends in their group, the city was shaken to the core. Mumbaikars woke up to the fact that it is not only the woman who is unsafe on the streets of Mumbai, but also the man who dares to intervene when the woman is being harassed sexually. But the sad aspect is that the aforementioned incident could have been averted had people and the police been a little more aware of the falling standards of safety in the city.

Miss Kaschit Mishra, a clinical psychologist, recalls one such incident. “I had just got off at Kurla station and was heading towards the bridge. The CST bound train on the harbour line arrived and the commuters walked up the bridge while an equally heavy crowd, including me, were walking down the stairs. The man behind me was practically clinging on to my body trying to feel me up. As I turned around and yelled at him, another man groped me from the left side. I held his arm and twisted it. All I wanted was to drag both the miscreants to the RPF station. But they managed to disappear in the crowd.”

A student at Sophia College remembers how a man tried to rub against her on a crowded BEST bus. “It is a lot safer in trains where at least you have the ladies compartment. But on a bus, it becomes very easy for men to harass you. I yelled at him and so did the other women on the bus. He eventually got off,” she said.

Though Mumbai, as opposed to Delhi, is better in terms of gathering support from bystanders during incidents of sexual harassment, this does not always hold true. In 2007, a woman was practically stripped and raped in full public view in the middle of a huge crowd that gathered at the Gateway of India to celebrate New Year. The Hindustan times- Akshara Survey conducted by Cfore Market Research Company, reports that out of 4,255 women, 99 per cent feel unsafe on the roads of Mumbai. According to government statistics, as reported by NDTV India, Mumbai alone recorded a whopping number of 194 rape cases in the year 2010. The figure is just a number, which in reality is way lower than the actual cases of rape and sexual assault that happen. The Indian Penal Code states that only penile penetration qualifies as rape, and not the other forms of penetration, which results in the sweeping away of many brutal sexual assaults in the name of “Outraging Modesty”.

Newspapers carry incidents of rising sexual harassment on an everyday basis. Hindustan Times had  dedicated two pages on this particular issue for the month of July and even goes out of its way to interview the police, college students, both male and female, professionals from different fields, women who have been sexually assaulted in the past. It is important for women to know about their rights when it comes to incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment. It is important for people to gather and protest against miscreants who have turned the once safe Mumbai into a city as unsafe as Delhi. Laws must be more severe. Instances of stalking that are on a rise must not be taken casually. CCTVs must be set up in buses, trains and public spaces. Besides the helpline 103, that is available across the state of Maharashtra, more and more police squads must be formed to look into the gravity of the situation. The Indian Penal Code requires changes and additions that can empower both men and women. Also, the language in the various sections needs to be less ambiguous and more lucid.

It is important to turn the myth of a safe Mumbai into reality. Women must not feel that they have got no choice but to keep quiet. The issue of Sexual harassment in educational institutes, workplaces and public spaces must be addressed with equal seriousness as Terror attacks and blasts.

NEEL KAMAL MISHRA

TYBMM JOURNALISM

SOPHIA COLLEGE FOR WOMEN

The Pious ‘Stringer’ – A Rustic Musician on the streets of Mumbai

Ram Ghorpe and his most prized possession – the veena.

In a sea of Mumbai’s multitudinous humanity, it becomes difficult to look upon one among thousands with any great degree of interest. Individuals, however peculiar in form, are all one or all nothing, depending purely on perspective when observing a horde. But on occasion, every once in a while, you see a sight that draws you in. It need not be something startling or wondrous. Yet, its distinct incongruity emerges from the crowd and perks your curiosity.

Not long ago, a fascinating sight caught my gaze. He was an old man, dressed in saffron. It was a colour of religious devotion but not quite that shade of dark orange. He carried with him a two-stringed veena, which seemed to be his sole possession. His chosen spot of rest was the signal next to the Bombay High Court. It was to be a busy day for me but I halted in my steps. I wanted to know more about this man. I wanted to know his story.

He rose to his spindly legs, walking into a lane. I followed and watched as he helped himself to a glass of cutting chai. He seemed amiable and kind. Essentially, approachable. I smiled at him. He regarded him with a curious glance. I broached my questions cautiously, only later introducing myself as a media student. Something about the word ‘media’ (note how far-reaching are its connotations) caused him to believe that I was a journalist. An impromptu photo-op convinced him that he was going to appear in a local newspaper. This was a declaration he began to make to every passerby that walked past. I did not have the heart to burst the proverbial bubble of his joy. Deeply flattered that he was, Ram Ghorpe (as was his name), spoke a little about himself.

He hails from Pune. Or somewhere from around there (he seemed unsure and merely gave a head-shaking grunt on being asked again). “Travelling musicians like him are called ‘varkaris’,” a female cowherd helpfully offered. She was seated nearby (and is also present in the background of the picture above), interpreting the musician’s yokel dialect for me.

“Where did you get your veena from?” I asked.

Ghorpe said something in reply which sounded like “Pandharpur”. An enquiring look at the cowherd confirmed what I had heard. Pandharpur is a small pilgrimage town located in the Solapur district of Maharashtra. The Vithoba temple attracts countless devotees during the Pandharpur yatra during spring. I am aware of this, as my house help is unwavering in her devotion and her annual visit to the holy spot.

Ghorpe has no family, explained the girl, and therefore travels freely through villages. He sings bhajans and kirtans (religious songs) as he wanders. “Money is not important for me,” he said. The cowherd elaborated further on his drifting. “He says he sings devotional songs for any religion. Devotion matters to him, not God.”

“That is a very big thing to say,” I smiled.

I am not sure if he knew that there was more where my admiration came from.

“I taught myself to play the veena,” he said with pride.

“Are you trained in singing bhajans?” I persisted.

“No!” he exclaimed, more proudly still. “I sing anyway I fancy! I sing anything!”

On my insistence, he sang a few strains on his veena. The notes were discordant at the edges. I believed his claims of self-tutoring. His scraggly hands strung the veena as his untrained voice made by-standers out of passersby. Some handed him loose change. I gave him a fifty-rupee note for questions answered and services rendered.

Before I turned away, he proudly displayed the ‘tulsi mala’ he wore around his neck. It was made of seeds from the tulsi plant, a mark of religious belief. I thanked for his patience and left to catch the Virar Fast home. And all the while, I could not help but marvel over the rustic musician’s belief. An untrained villager survived on the basis of an unacquired skill, a two-stringed veena and a single octave voice.

He lived on the pennies of his listeners and the mercy of the One above. Either way, the Lord Almighty works in strange ways, with stranger people as his conduit. And some, like Ghorpe, were a living example of faith and devotion.

NIHARIKA PURI
TYBMM JOURNALISM
SOPHIA COLLEGE FOR WOMEN

Kevi Rite Javana Aapde?

Dhollywood gets fresh lease of life 

The younger generations have faith in Gujarati cinema and just like every other sphere, they are open to experimentation, says Abhishek Jain, director of ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’  to our reporter, Disha Deshpande

Dhollywood has come of age after 30-year long wait! As the Gujarati film industry completes 60 years, the industry is undergoing a slow metamorphosis with newer film themes. After the golden era of the 70s, came the clone period where the films and music lacked innovation, post which the Gujarati film industry saw its viewership dwindling. But the silver lining may yet be visible as the young filmmakers explore newer and bolder themes to move past the long shadows of the Gujarati films revolving around the same old themes like mythology and love stories. But is it a comeback yet?

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First time directors seem to be taking the reins in their hands, instead of migrating to television and Hindi films like before. “The younger generations have faith in Gujarati cinema and just like every other sphere, they are open to experimentation. They want to get into the Gujarati film industry and change its face. Their involvement will bring fresh perspective to the films. I have lived in Ahmedabad all my life, so I understand Gujaratis better. This gave me the confidence to make a Gujarati film,” says Abhishek Jain, debut director of upcoming comedy film ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’ (How will you go?),It is a satire on the fascination and obsession of Patels, a farming community, migrating to United States of America and starting a life afresh there. It has received a lot of attention post release, specially from the gujju crowd.

Multiplexes have a different story to tell. “Gujarati films lack the basic audio-visual quality. Even if the film is screened, it is a no show. People do not come to watch. The acting is not up to the mark and the actors lack the intensity in their expressions. It becomes pointless as the films are just not worth it,” says Manubhai Patel, owner of Wide Angle Multiplex. Owner of Ashok and Roopam theatres in Ahmedabad, Vandan Shah adds, “People are ashamed to watch Gujarati films. The government give filmmakers a sub- sidy of Rs 5 Lakh. Despite this, on an average, 40-50 Gujarati films are produced every year. Last year, the industry churned out 63 films.”

The involvement and contribution to the Dhollywood is definitely on the rise. But direc- tors are making sure they give the audiences a lot of variety to choose from. ‘Megh Dhanushya- Colours of life’ is one such film which is sure to raise some eyebrows. “My film is about homosexuals, their lives, and their struggles. They are criticised, mocked in public and used as humour props in several other films. The film is not aimed at increasing their acceptance, but to sensitize people about gays and their turbulent world.” says director K R Devmani, another debutant. His film is scheduled to be released worldwide. He is quite sure that his film will be accepted as it is an informative one, for all age groups, with no offensive scenes.

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A still from Meghdhanushya

The new age directors and actors of the Gujarati film industry are very optimistic about its future. Devmani adds, “For the past several years, films were not very well made, and the repetitive aspect of the rural stories was not getting the audiences. Now, with new concepts pouring in, one hopes the audiences will re- turn.”

“Marathi cinema was in a similar position a few years back. But young directors gave a slew of great critically acclaimed films and they just could not be ignored anymore. The Maharashtra government had stepped in and it was made compulsory for cinema houses to carry Marathi films,” says Abhishek Jain, positive that a few good films will be an urban contemporary wave and everybody will accept Gujarati cinema as a something valuable. Will this new wave in Gujarati cinema turn the tide is something that one can only wait and watch! 

 

Disha Deshpande

HAPPY AND GAY

SITUATION 1-
A: Hey look, Ronie is coming?
B: Ronie! Oh, he’s a gay!

SITUATION 2-
X: Kya baat hai bhai aajkal tu Jeet ke saath bada dikh raha hai?
Y: Yaar, dost hai mera.
X: Dost hai ya….? Waise bhi Act 377 lagu ho gaya hai. Ab toh legal hai ye sab.

Today we can see many such examples where, “being a gay or lesbian” has become someone’s identity. Most of the people don’t even know what is the Act 377 all about? What does the law says? What is written in it? When and where it is applicable or why?

Homosexuality is neither mental illness nor abnormality nor immorality. It is just the way few of us wish to express our love and sexuality. But homosexuality is considered crime from the time 1860s when we were still under the control of British rule. According to the law, Indian Penal Code (IPC) Chapter XVI, Section 377, punishes “whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.” Violations are punishable by a prison term up to 10 years and possible fines.It was criminalized because it was “against the order of nature”.

But on July 2, 2009, the New Delhi High Court overturned the 152-years-old law section, a bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar, changed Section 377 and decriminalized consensual sex between LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender) adults. They said that if this law is not modified, section 377 of the IPC would violate Article 14 of the Indian constitution, which states that every citizen has equal opportunity of life and is equal before law. However Section 377 continues to apply in the case of sex involving minors and forced sex.

In today’s world, people believe that they are so-called modern but when the actual time comes to prove their “modernity” they back out. It very much applies on accepting gays and lesbians in the society. Everyone has their own version of modernity. Different people have different opinions about LGBT community. Some believes that it is highly offensive. The act is ‘against the nature’ and the gays are criminals. Others are accepting them but they are very few. Some also believes that peoples’ opinion does not change just because the law has changed, which is very true. Also, some others believe that legalizing such relationships will make the society impure and increase the problems of HIV/AIDS.

However the one thing that has changed with this new improvisation is that, people have been open about their sexuality for the first time in families and in workspaces.

One of my friends whom I talked about this whole issue said “Now I am more comfortable to confess that I am a gay. Although there is still no good social acceptance for people like us, the good part is that we are no longer criminals under the law.”

I believe that for LGBT community it is very important that they first accept themselves. They should believe in themselves, and then only they can be confident enough to confess others about their feelings. And this act has somewhat helped them to overcome the family and societal fear. Even though the situation is not so good but now they are not charged under some crime and they can fight without their hands being tied with law.

I think it’s the high time we should start accepting the change in this law. Also, respect individual’s privacy. When there is a change in society time to time, why can’t there be change in the laws which are formed so many decades ago and are enforced on us even today, even if it doesn’t make sense in today’s world.

-Anusha Pathak
TYBMM

BEHENJI – STATION CHALOGEE!!

As soon as the alarm rings, each one is in a hurry to go somewhere. This ‘somewhere ‘ may include ‘station’, ‘temple’, ‘school’, ‘morning walks’ etc. The prime feature of every office goer or outstation college students is looking out for a rickshaw or a cab to leave them till the station. The first two trials is always a rejection and many a times ‘Bhaiyaji, station chalogeh’ brings back a reply as ‘Nahi, waha janeka mood nahi banta.’ This in fact makes local travellers get annoyed day in and day out.

But what if one comes to know that the very first call is heard to, taken into consideration and one is made feel like each passenger is important? It would lead to the start of a satisfying and most comfortable morning of each and every passenger. The address statement that will be needed to change is ‘BEHENJI, STATION CHALOGEE!!’ One may even wonder and hesitate to how the ‘Bhaiyaji’ statement can also have a distinguished address to ‘Behenji’.

Seeing a ‘Rickshawali’ around on streets brings up surprised expressions on each face and may even imagine that may be he or she is dreaming. But well this unseen dream is into a live example known as ‘Anita Kudtarkar’- who has left a trademark in the profession of becoming a rickshaw driver.

One of these days, when the back bent down to request , the statement seemed to change into ‘Behenji- station chalogee? And the immediate answer to it was ‘yes’. The very first goodwill that each passenger uttered was ‘Chalo Aaj Mera Din Accha Jayega.’

A descent ‘chashma’, ‘Salwar kameez’ taking up the skill most enthusiastically to feed her family had started by her about 10 years back. The kind ‘Haa’ to any request of ‘Chalogee’ is all that makes her a unique’ identity’ and ‘stand out’ in this profession. A face to face conversation with ‘Mrs Anita’ helped in knowing the roots of such a trademark in a gender biased profession.

The very first entry of  a female rickshaw driver like her was rejected by each male driver. ‘Aurat jaat par dabaa hai tu’, ‘Aurat hokar kya chaar seat marad ko bhi station chodti hai’were the unbearable comments passed on to her by ‘rickshaw walas’. Ignorance and strong will helped her decision to remain firm and move forward with her three wheeler vehicle.

These comments itself raise up questions in relation to gender biases still existing in such professions. Is women only meant to be a person who can help the family by working in other people’s houses, recipe business and no other profession?  If the question regarding  the ‘shame’ of a woman is raised up eith relation to not being selective of her paseengers, then the male rickshawalas should prefer not to take lady passengers as well!  This won’t be agreed by any rickshaw wala due to the stereotype thinking even in today’s generation.

As the conversation went on, different such reasons were expressed freely by her. The RTO was the one who supported her among the union of ‘rickshaw walas’. The questions raised by the RTO were answered with simplicity and truth. ‘Mujeh jo rashta maloom hai, waha pe meh jaane ke liye tayaar hoo’. This convincing statement helped her get a confirmation certificate to drive on streets with a ‘No Fear’ factor. Even after this, several attempts of discouraging her were taken up. Comments like ‘Tapori ke jaise kya kar rahi hey’ and the answer to this has always been ‘Kya, meh tapori hoot oh hoo, lekin imandaari se kama rahi hoo’ this has zipped off the negative towards her.

The ‘Nagar Palika’ then after trained 50 women as additional rickshaw- walis , but after the training none seem to become rickshaw drivers. When Mrs Anita was asked to comment, this was the statement given out by her, ‘ Aaj ki Naari ab tak jaagi nahi hai, areh yeh profession mai dang se jeeneh ke liye sida sada paise kama sakte hai, lekin hum sab sochte hai log kya kehenge? Log hamarah pet nahi barteh hai, tumaraha mehant he tumeh aageh badah payega.’ This statement highlights her wish to see more rickshaw walis in and around.

Today, due to her unique passion and struggle, she is well known not by her name but a ‘RICKSHAW WALI’. This in fact can justify the saying –‘KHUD KI PEHCHAN’. Taking up such an inspiration as a great example, one can even spot out two more rickshaw walis in Bandra itself.

So are you ready to accept that there will soon be a time when you will also have the privilege to say-‘ BEHENJI- station chalogee’

BY

NICOLE FERNANDES

TYBMM

SOPHIA COLLEGE

PS I Love You.

Niharika Pandit speaks to three couples who have been married for decades now. They share their joys of love and the secret of a happily ever after.

At this day and age, when marital discord is on the rise and young couples seek counselling to retain their relationship, these couples, who have been together of decades epitomise the idea of ‘happily ever after’

Even after years of togetherness, petty arguments and disagreements haven’t lessened their love for each other. No matter what the misunderstandings and confusions, it was being together that mattered. They never let go of each other even when times were bad.

Duru Bhambhani (83) with Roopchand Bhambhani (87)

The BHAMBHANIS

Married for 55 years now, Roopchand Bhambhani, 87, and Duru Bhambhani, 83, do not recall having serious arguments with each other.

Three years back a sudden paralytic attack had paralysed Roopchand’s left side of the body. But this could never cripple their bond. It is intact. In fact, stronger.

“Back in 1977, we had gone to Nepal. Films shows and adventurous trips together make it the most memorable trip with him.” recalls Duru.

“He is very helpful. Be it relatives, friends or even acquaintances, he is always eager to help others financially or otherwise. I admire this in him the most.” she says.

Duru and Roopchand have five children; three daughters, two sons and eight grandchildren.

Duru has an immense interest in needle work and sewing. “Back in 1973, when I had planned to start my own boutique to sell baby frocks, skirts and blouses, he never questioned but supported me.”

“He has always been a fun-loving and a very naughty person. At times I do feel bad for him. Such a generous person like him could be in such a pitiful condition. But that’s what strengthens our bond.” she smiles indulgently.

Duru also has some advice for youngsters, “Relationships are easily to break but difficult to maintain. One must learn to adjust and respect each other.”

The SAPRUS

Anand Kumar Sapru, 84, and Pushpa Sapru, 76, had seen each other for the first time only after they got married in the year 1959.

“I belonged to an orthodox family of Lucknow while his family was based in Mumbai. With my in-laws I never felt the need to adjust. They were all so loving and more than just a family to me.” reminisces Pushpa.

Anand, who worked with HUL then, had to go out on frequent tours. In the initial years of their marriage, the couple hardly lived together. But that only brought them closer.

They believe that mutual respect for each other has strengthened their relationship. “Ups and downs are a part of life; sometimes sacrifices become important for happiness. And this is the secret of our happily ever after.” says the couple in unison.

Asked what they appreciate most about each other, Anand says “She is the cutest girl in the world.” to which the wife smiles coyly.

“He has always been very supportive throughout. Even today, he never asks me not to do anything.” says Pushpa.  “But I don’t particularly like one thing about him; he never points it out if I forget to add salt in sabzi or dal. Instead I have to ask him to say it out loud.” she further adds.

Mr. Sapru has immense affinity towards teaching while Mrs. Sapru has involved herself in social work.

The RAMCHANDRANS

“We had gone for our first movie Leader starring Dilip Kumar, on the very next day of our wedding ceremony.” the Ramchandrans recollect.

K. Ramchandran, 76, and Mangala Ramchandran, 67, had met only once before they got married in 1964.

“The toughest time was when in 1974, he was posted to Nagaland in the special armed forces battalion but later on I had gone there for a month.” recalls Mangala.

When asked what they admire most in each other, K. Ramchandran says, “She is very outspoken, she never hides any of her feelings but sometimes that can be hurtful to others.” Mangala truly admires her husband’s simplicity and his jolly nature.

Unravelling the secret of their relationship, the couple says “If we have any difference, we don’t argue. We both sit together and try to find alternatives for the problem.”

The couple believes that the best way to cope with individual differences is to spend time talking about issues which bother each other. “Nowadays, couples leave each other for petty issues without even trying to resolve problems.”