More than half a century, after they promised to love, 'till death do them apart', three real life couples tell us what makes their marriages work
Perhaps Love is Like Ocean
70 Years Together — Janaki and Subrahmanyam Bhagavatula
Married since 4 March 1944
"Life is like an ocean, full of waves and tides. We faced many tsunamis in our life. As I had no academic education and was financially dependent on my husband, I sincerely and obediently followed his lead. I managed the housewife's responsibilities, and let him take care of providing for us. I guess that must be the reason for 70 years of a successful married life, despite trivial disturbances in between, like any other couple. I am thankful to the Almighty for showering his blessings on us, and making our life worth living even at this stage."
Janaki Bhagavatula, 85
"Happy married life mostly depends on the wife. She has to understand her husband and give him the necessary cooperation for the husband. We have had nearly 70 years of married life with some misunderstandings. By the Grace of God, we continue to live together. Our children and grandchildren, give us happiness, affection and love. This is the main reason for our Happy Married Life."
Leave your shoes and ego outside
56 Years together — Alwyn and Celine D'Mello
Married since 20th February 1957
"We met the traditional way and married, within 13 days of seeing each other, on 20th February 1957, in Mangalore. My husband worked for LIC of India and I was a homemaker who, after her five daughters grew up switched to tutoring school children. If I had to offer one piece of advice, it would be, don't act on impulse when there is a disagreement. One of the two has got to be silent. Somehow, between the two, you will know who is actually right and the disagreement will pass off."
Celine D'Mello (77)
"Life was not a bed of roses for a migrant couple who moved from Mangalore to Mumbai in search of livelihood and who had five daughters in quick succession. Times may have changed, but each generation has it's own set of problems. I'd advice the young men of today to be supportive and helpful in any little way, even if it is not noticed by the world, such as sharing the load of cooking and cleaning or getting the groceries. Above all shed your egos and be simple human beings in a marriage."
Alwyn D'Mello (88)
Just a Little Patience
50 years together — Radha and R Shankar Narayan
Married since 30 January 1963
"I was 24-years-old and she was 14 when we first met. She was dressed in the traditional pavadai, hair tied in braids and a school bag rested on her back; she was on her way to school. Radha didn't know that I was, in her house, in Tanjore, as her prospective husband. I found her beautiful, smart and active. For the last 51 years, she has stood by me as an understanding companion. She always wanted me to excel in my career and never let any domestic upsets or problems reach me. She would sort it herself, so that I could focus on my job. She always ensured there was peace and love in the family."
R Shankar Narayan (75)
"He is patience personified. If I was angry, he would let me be and not retort with fury. His parents and he always encouraged my music. They ensured I pursued my passion for music without having to sacrifice at the cost of family and children. What has held us together is the old-world joint family system, our love, understanding and most importantly respect for each other's passion and needs."
Radha Narayan (65)
Living on a Prayer
50 years together — Raymond and Helen D'Souza
Married since 28 December 1963
"My mother took me to Pune 'to meet some relatives'. Little did I know what she was up to. Helen, was in SSC then. She had long luxurious hair; her innocence and simplicity were alluring. She had no idea what our families were up to. I insisted we go back to Bombay the next day. We came back to Bombay and my mum told me she had already given her word that I'd marry Helen. I told her, she couldn't do that; Helen had to say Yes! I wrote to Helen and she wrote back with a Big YES! Six months later we were married. I stopped smoking because Helen didn't like the fumes, but she doesn't remember saying a word about it. I used to play for a band after work, and no matter how late I arrived home, we would have dinner together, sometimes even at 4 a.m. She's raised our children well, while I worked."
Raymond D'Souza (80)
"When I parents asked me about it. I told them, I would be happy to marry whoever they chose for me. Prayers, love and the need for each other, have kept us together."
Helen D'Souza (71)
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Coordinated by Averil Nunes
With inputs from Sanyukta Kaza, Renita Rodricks, Quenten D'Souza and Rama Sreekant