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Valentine's Day

Vintage love stories of three elderly couples

Meeting on the hills, love at first sight and romance after arranged marriage

Jaismita Alexander | Published 14.02.23, 05:30 PM
Love stories of elderly couples

Love stories of elderly couples

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Love in the time of handwritten letters and secret meetings seems to exist only in movies now. Making innocent approaches, stealing glances and lifelong promises were a part of many classic love stories. Risky calls on the house landline were considered a gutsy act of love back then.

On Valentine’s Day, three married-for-several-years and much-in-love couples spoke to My Kolkata about their journey of bitter-sweet togetherness and the true meaning of love.

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Of hills and love letters: Sipra and Jayanta Sarkar

Sipra and Jayanta Sarkar

Sipra and Jayanta Sarkar

Sipra and Jayanta Sarkar

Sipra Sarkar and Jayanta Sarkar’s love story began in the hills and continued through letters till they got married in 1991.

“I had gone to north Bengal with three of my friends and their brothers and that is when I met my husband,” recalled 59-year-old Sipra.

Jayanta, 63, a resident of Bali, Uttarpara, remembers seeing three ladies trekking to the top. “We joined them and it was an immediate click among us all. We went to Darjeeling together and exchanged addresses. Later, she sent me a few photographs we clicked there. That’s how we started exchanging letters.”

At that time, Jayanta was working at the Durgapur Steel Plant while Sipra was in Kolkata. Their friendship grew stronger through letters and they continued writing to each other about 4-5 times a week. “I knew we shared a good rapport… you can call it friendship. But it was not something that would make me think it was love,” said Sipra. Later, the duo would also talk on the phone, but it was not very convenient and economical back then. “It was also a little awkward to talk on the phone because everyone would be around hearing our conversation.”

Soon, Jayanta planned a visit to Kolkata and set up a meeting with Sipra at Rabindra Sadan. On their very first date, Jayanta proposed marriage to her. “I was surprised. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting it. So, I took some time. I told him I would think about it. I discussed it with my family and friends. I was almost 26-27, which then was past the eligible age for marriage. Everything moved fast and we got married in six months,” said Sipra.

In the last 32 years, this sexagenarian couple have only grown closer and realised their love in different ways. They have two children, who are proud of their parents.

The couple find strength in their understanding and support. “My husband has always supported me. I have keen interest in reading, music and recitation. I am involved in various groups and I perform with them frequently. My husband has always stood beside me. Love for me isn’t the gifts he gets for me, but it is the support he has shown in all these years,” Sipra summed up.

Love after arranged marriage: Supriti and Swapan Dasgupta

Supriti and Swapan Dasgupta

Supriti and Swapan Dasgupta

Supriti and Swapan Dasgupta

Swapan, 70, and Supriti Dasgupta, 68, have been married for 38 years. Although theirs was an arranged marriage, they found love gradually. “I met Supriti at a friend’s wedding. We spoke to each other but that was all. I believe what is meant for you will always find you. A proposal of marriage came from her family and we got married,” recalled Swapan, a resident of Ashoknagar. He was the eldest of six siblings and the sole earning member of the family back then. Eventually, he and his wife took care of the younger siblings and their parents, too.

“Supriti was a quiet homemaker. As days passed by, we got to know each other better. I fell in love with her personality. She was so amicable and accommodating. She knew how to keep a family together. I was the first among the siblings to get married and she was the only daughter-in-law. We had financial issues at home but we faced it all together. She could adapt to any situation. And I think it wouldn’t have been possible if we weren’t in love with each other,” Swapan said.

Now, Swapan runs his own business and coming home to his wife and daughter still gives him great joy. Love for them is togetherness and caring for each other. “My husband is very caring. We trust each other. That’s how we were able to spend so many years together,” Supriti said.

Swapan feels love grows with time when two people are willing to believe in it. Enjoying little things in life together is their way of loving one another. “I love Supriti’s cooking. We enjoy eating together. We couldn’t go on holidays as much as others, but we have had our share of joys. The most memorable day for us would be the day our daughter was born.”

This couple also have their fights but Swapan makes sure they don’t stretch. “We also fight like other couples and I do the cajoling. I guess that is the story of most men in love. I enjoy it,” laughs Swapan.

A proposal to the MIL: Jaba and Ranjit Chanda

Jaba and Ranjit Chanda

Jaba and Ranjit Chanda

Jaba and Ranjit Chanda

Ranjit Chanda met Jaba for the first time when he visited her home with a friend who wanted to set them up. For him, it was love at first sight. But at that time, Ranjit could not muster the courage to tell Jaba about his feelings. Instead, he went straight to her mother and asked for her hand in marriage. “Jaba stole my heart,” recalled 58-year-old Ranjit, a resident of Garia.

But Jaba was initially not impressed. “I was doubtful. The idea of leaving my own house and going somewhere else was scary. I had just lost my father and I was vulnerable. So I refused the proposal immediately, but later thought of giving it a chance,” she said.

With time, Jaba came to know Ranjit better and fell in love with his soft and caring nature. About three months after the proposal, Ranjit and Jaba tied the knot on February 18, 1990. Their younger daughter, Annesha, joked, “My parents’ love story seems like a plot straight out of an SRK movie.”

The couple started their journey together when they didn’t have a house of their own. Jaba recalled, “We used to live in rented houses and would often have to shift from one place to another. We changed about 17 houses before we got our own home. We have been through our share of struggles but what kept us going was the responsibility, love and care for each other.”

Love for this couple is more like a habit. Thirty-two years of marriage have made them depend on each other and they can’t think of a life without the other. “We enjoy simple things together. Something as simple as drinking tea together while watching TV,” said Swapan, who loves the way his wife cooks. His favourite dish by her is shorshe pomfret.

The couple is blessed with a son and daughter and think the birth of their children were their happiest moments. “As a couple, we shared the joy together. Especially when our first child (son) was born, we were on the top of the world. Then came our daughter and our family was complete.”

Love to them is all about sharing everything in their life with each other. Ranjit said, “As a couple, we share our happiness as well as our sadness with each other. It is important to hold each other’s hands in difficult times too. The expression of love is important, both verbally and it should reflect in your actions too. We have been doing just that for 32 years.”

Last updated on 22.03.23, 08:02 PM
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