Of the 28 years that they have known each other, the Ludhiana-based doctor couple Harpreet Gill and Jastinder Gill — both 48 —have been happily married for 23 years. The interesting part of their love story is that despite being together while pursuing MBBS, the realisation of the need to be together forever struck them when they were briefly separated.
Distance does make the heart grow fond! Jastinder, while recalling the beginning of their love story, says, “We met for the first time in 1985 when we took admission in Government Medical College, Patiala. That time, we were only friends. But, things changed when I came to Chandigarh for a year-long internship in 1988.
That’s when we both realised what each meant to the other.” To this, Harpreet adds, “I stayed back in Patiala for my internship, but nothing seemed to be the same any more. My visits to Chandigarh increased and then everything became obvious.”
It so happened that Jastinder’s family started looking for a match for her that time. “I told my parents that I can’t get married to someone I don’t know. Simultaneously, a different kind of chemistry started making its way between us, so much so that our friends could easily make out that there’s something special brewing,” she smiles.
During their courtship, the couple exchanged letters, something today’s generation would find alien.
“Once, he went to Dalhousie with his family friends and I wrote a letter to him to which he even replied back! Another time when he went to Kullu for a trip, I handed a letter to another group of friends who were supposed to join him. Incidentally, I found those letters some days ago while cleaning a cupboard. That was a time when we lived on letters,” recalls Jastinder fondly.
To the couple’s good fortune, things kept falling into place. Jastinder says she discussed her feelings for Harpreet with her younger brother and later with her parents, who then sent a letter to her grandparents in Canada to seek their consent. Thereon, it was smooth sailing. “We were both of the same age, and many people told us that the medical profession is very demanding and that it would take us very long to get married. But, my brother said that it’s our life and we can build it together, no matter what,” she adds.
Married in 1990, the two say they enjoyed their lives completely. “We were both interns then and would just get Rs 2,400 each as stipend. But we would enjoy life to the fullest in that amount,” smiles Harpreet.
Jastinder now specialises in dermatology and Harpreet in orthopedics. Parents to two sons, the couple haven’t forgotten what attracted each to the other. “The way she carried herself gracefully attracted me. Our mental levels also matched beautifully,” says Harpreet, his wife adding, “I still treat him like my best friend and the same goes for him.”