“I joined PGI, Chandigarh, in January 1986 and four months later he asked me to marry him,” Dr Yashbala, 51, a Chandigarh-based gynaecologist, tells us how she first snubbed her would-be husband, Dr Jagmohan Singh Verma, 57. Dr Yashbala, who was studying at the Post-graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, popularly known as PGI, admits: “Instead of being flattered, I asked him how dare he!” Dr Jagmohan, who was extremely reserved, did not pursue the matter further despite studying in the same environment day after day. Today, he is a noted cardiologist in a private hospital in Mohali.
Picture abhi baaki hai…
So how did their story progress? Dr Jagmohan recalls, “Well, pregnant patients have heart problems, and heart patients might have complicated pregnancies. We were constantly with each other.” Dr Yashbala adds, “He was good in his subject and that impressed me.” The couple had their fair share of laughs during their college days. Dr Yashbala tells us how he was a rival cricketer to Team India’s one-time captain Kapil Dev, but got out on the first ball when she went to see his match. “He would never run. Either it was a four or a six or this lazy guy would just stand and watch,” she recalls.
“We were going for lunch with our common friends and I was cleaning my scooter’s seat for her. By the time I turned around, she sat on my friend’s scooter and was off,” Dr Jagmohan says laughing.
Then again, after six long years, Dr Jagmohan finally proposed again to which he got a reply in the affirmative but which lasted only for 10 hours. “We had a small dinner for seven to eight people, finalised everything and the next morning she backed out,” he says.
Now if you’ve got thinking how they ever got married for good, well, they did. Well, they did, after one and a half years, in 1993, over a simple affair with six people. They both thought wedding ceremonies were disrespect to money, and said their vows in a rather pious and peaceful manner. “I wasn’t exactly waiting for her, but you just can’t marry anybody. You need someone to fight your life battles with and I was ready to wait for that person,” says Dr Jagmohan, who was 37 when he married Dr Yashbala, who was 31 .
“Our younger siblings got married before us and our parents were fed up. My mother had mockingly asked him, when we went to tell my parents, why he was taking such a huge risk. She had to do it because she had no choice,” says Dr Yashbala.
Despite being just the opposite, he being reserved and she being impulsive and restless, (as she says), they managed to strike the perfect balance and understanding. “I went around blasting people in the corridor. I needed too much freedom, and he understood that. Over the years, he has developed a confidence about the person I am,” she smiles.
Happily ever after
Dr Yashbala, over time, was engulfed with guilt for turning his offer down and realised she had no reason to
do so. “He never made sly remarks even when I said no. He wasn’t like other men; he commanded so much respect from me for this,” she says. “I want my marriage to be successful, I will make my marriage successful; are two very different notations. I never invaded her personal space. My daughter, Deepali, used to feel we don’t care much about each other,” he says. Deepali, 19, currently pursuing medicine like her parents, feels differently now.
“We never even held hands back then. Maybe coffee now and then, or a long drive; but that was about it. Today’s generation believes in too much physical display of affection.” The night before the wedding, the commitment-phobic bride called off the reception. “Only the reception? That’s okay; you’re still marrying me, right?” the anxious groom had said, almost with relief. “My parents called me the previous night to confirm if they should reach the venue or not,” Dr Yashbala says. So maybe it is really about that one person who would come along and just belong to you.