In this story, the man becomes your hero long before you meet the couple — for his contribution to the field of theatre, of course. But, it’s the lady who emerges as the real hero of the love story. And yes, they prove the cliché — behind every successful man, is a woman — right. That’s why thespian and actor Samuel John, when mentioning his better-half Jaswinder Kaur, says, “Wherever I go, I don’t leave the chance to tell everyone that my wife is my pillar of success. Whoever knows us, says the same thing.”
It’s the sort of couple you come across in film script — the girl falls in love with a boy from a humble background, he wants to bring a revolution in the society through his theatre. Together, they did bring about change, when they did theatre for Dalits. Though he continued doing the kind of theatre that could never give them a luxurious life, the wife turned to teaching, to run the household.
Rewind to 1992 — Samuel was a part of the repertory at Punjabi University, Patiala, where Jaswinder had enrolled in Masters in Music. John says, “Though we knew each other from her days of doing theatre in Amritsar, we became real friends during her studies at Patiala. The depth of our friendship could be judged from the fact that our conversation lasted for hours, and her hostel used to be the only place where I would land up for paranthas anytime.”
Jaswinder recalls, “Our timing was so perfect that no matter what time I left the hostel, we used to bump into each other at a common point almost everyday. But, in the middle of the second year, it was clear in my mind that he was my man of dreams. From our like-mindedness to his approach towards life — everything pulled me towards him.”
Jaswinder, however, managed to fool Samuel for days, by saying that she had found a partner for herself, and wanted Samuel to meet him. He recalls, “Twice, she took me to some place saying that the boy whom she liked would visit us there. Each time, no one came. So, one day, when again no one appeared, she started laughing and said it was me. My soul loved what she said, but I got emotional, thinking about the status of my life and future. The friend in me wanted the best for her, as I knew that she would not lead a smooth life with me. So, I asked her to visit my village once before deciding. She did, but didn’t change her decision.”
After perpetual refusal for years from Jaswinder’s family, they managed to get married in 2001 and were blessed with a baby girl ten years ago. “After getting married, we did theatre in Patiala and Lehragaga. That was the most precious time of our lives — from a hand-to-mouth life to the chance of doing meaningful work with full energy and masti, we relished every bit of it,” he says and adds, “She used to sing for plays, mostly. And even today, I love her singing more than my theatre. Even today, I want to create such a theatre form that has more music to it.”
Later, Jaswinder taught at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya School, Jammu, for two-and-half years before moving to Chandigarh in 2007, at Dhanas Government School. Till date, Samuel has been doing theatre in Lehragaga and visits his family every 20 days. Samuel shares, “Had we stayed together, we could have done better work. The support of her presence would have made me do more work. But, have you ever come across a couple that does not have financial trouble? I always adore the fact that she never asked me about my earnings or spending habits. Despite being the regular earning hand, she never created any tiff or sense of insecurity amongst us.”
Adding to it, his wife says, “The atmosphere of the house is very artistic. The credit for which goes to Samuel — each and every discussion in the house revolves around work, life, society, theatre and music. When he comes home, the ambience changes.”