“I was a student of Wilson college. During my first year itself I was part of a managing committee and we had to elect the secretary of our committee. There were two candidates, one Maharashtrian and one Gujarati running against each other, and because I was Maharashtrian everyone assumed I’d vote for the Maharashtrian candidate. Instead, I voted for the Gujarati candidate because I thought he deserved my vote and was more capable than anyone else. That little vote of mine created quite a stir and I still remember the day when a meeting was called and that particular candidate insulted me in front of everyone calling me a traitor and blaming his loss on me! That didn’t sit right with me at all, so instead of being shunned, I marched into the principal’s cabin and told him how disappointed I was that our college was being divided based on our religious communities. I said we were all students, where did the question of religion come in? He immediately summoned him to his office and asked him to explain himself, at which point he apologised to me, but I was not okay with just that. He insulted me in front of everyone, so he had to apologise to me in front of those people as well…and that’s exactly what he did.
Through this whole time, that Gujarati candidate and I ended up spending a lot of time together because the principal would call us all to his office, or we had to explain ourselves to different groups of people. Even after this whole controversy died down, we used to meet and he was such a gentleman— I fell for him. I remember him telling me, ‘you stood up for something when you were so new to college, you’re so principled and fiercely independent…it was hard not to fall in love with you!”
“What’s your happiest memory together?”
“There have been many since then ofcourse, we’ve been married for 62 now but I think our dating days are irreplaceable. Back then, we didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend…so we would wait a long time to watch one film, share a bucket of popcorn and then he would walk me home after. Even when we didn’t have money we would go to the beach or hanging gardens…but the thrill of spending those few hours with him is something I can’t even explain!”
“What has been the key to your relationship?”
“There has never been any ego… it has always been about love first. Giving up a few things, compromising or making adjustments are such small things when compared to love and that’s what these last 62 years have been about— knowing that love is bigger than everything else.”