We are living in times when honour killings still take place and inter-caste marriages are considered a taboo. Imagine what the scenario must have been in the '70s, when young boys and girls belonging to different religions fell in love. Things were undoubtedly difficult, but love still ruled.
Married for 38 years now, Kuldeep Singh and his namesake Kuldeep Kaur met while studying at the Government Medical College in Amritsar. "She was two years my junior. I first spotted her at a sports meet when I was in the fourth year. I remember it was her simplicity that attracted me towards her," recalls Singh, 64. In those days, there were no frills of dating or courting involved, pitches in Kaur, 62, a practicing gynecologist, adding that boys usually got straight to business and proposed for marriage. To send his message of love across, Singh had asked his friend's girlfriend to talk to Kaur. "In those days, there would be very few girls studying medicine. Those in medical colleges were focused on their studies, so I refused his proposal," she says.
He now decided to approach the object of his affection himself. By now, Kaur had also softened her stand. "I was smitten by his consistent efforts. So, when he asked me again, I told him to talk to my family," she blushes. Dressed up formally, Singh rushed to Verka, near Amritsar, to meet Kaur's father.
Obviously, the girl's father hesitated. "He told me that he needed to discuss the matter with her two brothers, who were serving in the Indian army. I belonged to the Saini clan while she was a Jatt Sikh. Her elder brother was unsure only about this." Kaur, who by now didn't mind an alliance with Singh, asked her brother if he lacked in any other sphere. "From being good at his work to being an excellent human being, he was perfect for me," she smiles.
An entire year spent convincing Kaur's family later, they agreed and with the blessings of both the set of families, they were married in 1976. "Look at the irony, today it's her elder brother that I gel the most with," laughs Singh.
Running their own nursing home and a hospital in Hoshiarpur for many years now, Singh and Kaur are crusaders of inter-faith marriages. Parents to a daughter and two sons, one of their sons has an inter-religion marriage while their daughter too would soon be marrying a boy from another religion. When asked how their journey has been, Singh says they were blessed. "She is an iron lady. Even when she had four or five deliveries in a day, she would ready the children herself and I would take the responsibility of the getting the kids' homework done. We would divide our time in such a way that no one felt burdened," he says.
No wonder the two strongly back spending one's life with the person you love.