‘The best thing that a father can do for his children is to love and respect their mother.”
This is the philosophy by which Dr Jagdeepak Singh led his married life with his better half Dr Inderjeet Kaur Renu. Married for 32 years, the couple met at Amritsar’s Government Medical College (GMC) in 1977, decided to change their specialties to lead a comfortable married life and is currently working together at GMC. Dr Singh is a professor of ENT, while Dr Renu is an associate professor in the Eye Department.
Strike a conversation with the couple and one is bowled over by the love and chemistry they share. Like friends, they complete each other’s sentences and pull each other’s leg. But the amount of respect and love they share is evident as they regale their love story without inhibition.
“I met her when I was a postgraduate student and she was a final year student. I used to take a few classes of hers, since I was very fond of teaching. Their class had all girls and just one boy, so I used to favour the boy and tell him the questions I would ask in class the next day. It was Renu who suspected something fishy and discovered this setting that we had,” says Dr Singh.
The teaching continued for a few months and later Dr Renu became a part of the ‘special evening classes’. “One day in class, I noticed that she was very busy writing something in her notebook. When I went to see, she was busy drawing my picture,” recalls Dr Singh, adding that he used to follow her on his bicycle.
“He was a very good teacher. Till date, students appreciate his class more than they do mine,” smiles Dr Renu. Their crackling chemistry can be judged from the fact that they have won ‘Made for Each Other’ contest 11 times during the annual function held at GMC. “But now, we have stopped participating; young couples should be given a chance,” says Dr Renu.
During that time period, Dr Singh did everything he could to impress his lady and her family. “In college, there was a swimming competition and I was competing with a national-level swimmer. To impress her (sitting in the audience), I started swimming with my entire strength. For first four rounds, I was leading and the crowd was cheering my name. In fifth, I fainted,” says Dr Singh, as Dr Renu breaks into a laughter.
On completing her degree, Dr Renu went for her internship to Ropar while Dr Singh continued staying in Amritsar. Later, since Dr Singh’s father and Dr Renu’s uncle were known to each other, the marriage proposal was considered.
But there were two obstacles in their way — they belonged to different communities and had contrasting specialties. Dr Renu’s family was Jatt Sikh and Dr Singh belonged to the Khatri family. Secondly, Dr Renu had opted for gynaecology while Dr Singh had taken up surgery.
“Surgery and gynaecology are two contrasting fields, since they keep doctors on their toes the entire life. So, we both sat down and decided to change our specialties to lead a comfortable life with each other,” says Dr Singh. Hence, he opted for ENT, while Dr Renu chose eye.
“Initially, my family was skeptical because of the caste difference, but they agreed because the entire family was very well educated and reputed,” says Dr Renu, to which Dr Singh adds, “When we got married she was the first Jatt Sikh in the family, now all the girls married in our family are from Jatt Sikhs, because all our relatives wish to have a daughter-in-law like her.”
Even a day before his wedding, Dr Singh decided to play a cricket match of district administration officials versus doctors to impress her brother, who was an SSP. “I was running around the stadium to impress her brother. As a result, on the wedding, my face was tanned, my body was aching and I had a Brufen, and my mates had to help me get up for my Anand Karaj while slowly whispering the score of the India-England match,” says Dr Singh. It has been 32 years of bliss for the couple who say their life has been peaceful and comfortable.
The couple has two sons, both settled in the US. “Had my wife forced me to earn more money, my life would have been very short. She is the reason that we lead such an easy and comfortable life. My parents adored her and despite getting so many chances, she refused to migrate to a foreign country, because she wanted to stay with my parents,” he adds.