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Parents' love story: He did laundry so he could meet her!

Last updated on: February 13, 2012 11:05 IST

Parents' love story: He did laundry so he could meet her!



We invited you to share with us the love stories of your parents. Anu Lakkaraju gives us a fascinating account of how her parents first met, fell in love and stood by each other all their life.

The year was 1959. In the sleepy little province of Parbhani, a tall, dashing twenty year old man got off the train from New Delhi and boarded a tonga to the Government Veterinary Hospital in Parbhani. The young man, my dad, was in Parbhani to drop off a parcel at the home of the vet who ran the hospital and lived in the government quarters on the grounds of the hospital. My mom, then sixteen, was the veterinary doctor's first child.

They tell me when she opened the door it was love at first sight for both of them. Dad stayed at the vet's place for a couple of days, before he returned back to New Delhi.

Before he left Parbhani, however, Dad and Mom managed to exchange mailing addresses with the promise to keep in touch. Their pen-friendship soon blossomed into long-distance romance. My dad eventually joined his MA at the Delhi School of Economics, and my mom moved to the women's hostel in Hyderabad and joined her BA at the Osmania University College for Women in Hyderabad.

With their new-found independence, my mom and dad started meeting each in secret in Hyderabad. Dad would travel by train all the way from Delhi, and Mom and he would traverse the many gallis and bazaars of Hyderabad together.

Their favorite hangout was the then famous Persis restaurant in Hyderabad. The restaurant has long been torn down and no longer exists. Their first date movie was the 1960 Bollywood film Barsaat Ki Raat. My dad tells me that the romantic Mohd Rafi number, Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolenge yeh barsaat ki raat, from that movie, depicts exactly what he felt for mom when they first met.

I once asked Dad how he could afford the expenses of all these rendezvous. Dating someone was expensive, even as far back as 1960, and my dad had absolutely no financial help from his parents, even though they were extremely well-off.

"I earned my own money. I ironed people's clothes at the hostel. I handwrote several copies of class-notes for everyone as there were no copy machines back then. I did the laundry of my hostel-mates. I prepared hand-written guide books before exams," he replied. Truly, love makes everything possible.

Personality-wise, mom and dad were as different as mango pickle and Creme brulee. Dad was an Army General's son -- well-read, well-bred, and well-travelled. Mom had had a typical middle-class upbringing in a big family large on love, but short on money. In Mom, Dad discovered a raw but natural earthiness that was in stark contrast to the sophisticated, yet sterile environment of the elite boarding schools he had grown up in.

Mom was full of life and personality, and Dad was and continues to be absolutely charmed by her. In Dad, Mom saw a zest for life like she had never seen before. Mom remains fascinated, and sometimes puzzled, by Dad's devil-may-care attitude and uncanny ability to enjoy life to the fullest.

Mom and Dad got married five years after they had met. There was minimal family opposition from Dad's side. From Mom's side the family opposition was non-existent as over a period of time, Dad had already won everyone's hearts over in Mom's family. Their love story, however, does not end with marriage.

Mom and Dad had several plans and dreams for the future when they got married. Mom wanted to study further and become financially self-reliant. She wanted a small one-bedroom home they could call their own, and a baby girl she could dress up, love and play with. Dad only wanted one thing -- to keep a smile on Mom's face for the rest of her life.

Dad did everything in his power to make Mom's dreams of higher education come true. He dropped her to college and picked her up. He paid her college fees, never ever letting her know that her education was, in fact, a financial burden.

He packed lunch for her every day and made tea for her on the nights that she wanted to study. Mom completed her BEd, MA, and MEd, and started working as a lecturer in a college. During this period, my brother, sister and I were born.

It's a tale of romance all children want to hear -- how their parents met and fell in love! Write in to (subject line: 'My parents' love story') along with a photograph of them, if possible and we'll publish the best entries right here.


Parents' love story: He did laundry so he could meet her!

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There was never any segregation of duties at home between Mom and Dad, no clear role definition, and no clash of egos. Both of them were bread-winners, both of them were homemakers, and both of them were involved in parenting the three of us.

If one was tired, the other automatically picked up the slack without being asked to. If one cooked, the other cleaned; if one cleaned, the other helped the kids out with their homework; if one travelled, the other took time off with the kids.

I witnessed the romantic love between two young people blossom into a partnership that ran the home like a well-oiled machine with all the parts in perfect sync with each other.

Were there hiccups? Certainly!

Mom and dad went through several financial crises together. Dad was a highly-placed executive in a private company. Twice in his career, he lost his job and was unemployed for what back then seemed like long periods of time.

The financial troubles were many during those bad periods. We had to give up our cars, and put up our beautiful large bungalow as surety for a bank loan. A lot of hard-earned money was lost because of poor financial decisions and Dad's trusting nature.

My mom never let the financial troubles turn into emotional troubles. She always had a big smile on her face, no matter how worried or tense she felt inside about her family's future. I have never seen mom weep. She knew that the day she shed tears, dad's heart would break into a thousand pieces for not being able to keep her happy. But love conquers all. Mom and Dad went on to fulfil all of their dreams and more, and neither of them could have done it without the other.

Mom eventually went onto complete her PhD and retired as a college principal. Dad is a top-ranking marketing consultant and is well known and highly respected in his field of work.

Today Mom and Dad own not one but three homes of their own, have three children they are very proud of, and four grand-children who adore them.

Now at ages 72 and 67, Dad and Mom have become best friends and companions. Dad reminds Mom to take insulin injections for her diabetes everyday. Mom chides Dad whenever he gorges on sweets, especially because she is not allowed to have them.

They take long morning walks in the park together, and have animated conversations with their walking buddies about the Anna Hazare movement and political future of the country.

They await the late-night phone calls from their daughters in the USA, and weekend visits from their son, daughter-in-law and grand-children in Hyderabad.

We are often told that another name for love and marriage is compromise. Mom and Dad, however, have shown me that a successful relationship has little to do with compromise and adjustment, and a lot more to do with mutual respect and trust. Both of them have stayed fiercely true to their individual identities, yet remain deeply in love with each other.

The huge gap in their outlook and mentalities is bridged by a rainbow called 'Love' with its many colours -- friendship, romance, partnership, and companionship.

Over the years, the love between a couple evolves and changes colours, but some things do not change. Mom still begins her morning with a smile on her face, and dad still ends his night by saying 'I love you', to mom. And yes, Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolenge yeh barsaat ki raat, remains their favourite love song. Happy Valentine's Day!

It's a tale of romance all children want to hear -- how their parents met and fell in love! Write in to (subject line: 'My parents' love story') along with a photograph of them, if possible and we'll publish the best entries right here.

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