ON VALENTINE’S Day, it’s almost a ritual for couples to exchange flowers, candies, kisses or warm embraces. The day symbolises love. But is romantic love bound by age?
The mass media would lead us to believe that, given that young couples are often the focus of most marketing campaigns and TV series. What about the elderly couples?
Does their love fade after a certain point, more so when they end up being depressed and isolated after being ‘dumped’ by their children as jaded objects to spend the rest of their life in old-age homes?
Not at least for Gopal and Varsha Naphde of Bhopal - a couple in their 70s, residing at ‘Anand Dhaam’ who have been living their vow for 55 glorious years.
“Initially we felt very rejected and neglected because we had become practically non-existent for our children. But then we realised that this emotional catastrophe had something unique in store for us …a new dawn, a new realisation where we could be just ourselves, celebrating our freedom and togetherness.
It felt like an exclusive ‘couple holiday’ where only the two of us could enjoy a comfortable company and experience an overwhelming satisfaction of getting an opportunity to spend time with each other…a thing that both of us would seldom do since we began a family” says Gopal.
“All kinds of responsibilities and tensions took precedence to anything else in that phase and we could hardly notice love spacing out itself from our relationship. But now, since we are left with each other’s sole support, we have fallen in love all over again. We still have our share of bickering but now the loneliness has melted away”, says Gopal.
This Maharashtrian couple is all excited about entering their 56th year of marriage on March 15, 2007. So do we still need a predetermined day to show affection and devotion for each other?
Absolutely not, quip Anuradha and Madhav Khare in unison, another elderly twosome in their late 60s that have been happily married for 48 years now. Madhav Khare can barely move around. But his physical limitations have not discouraged Anuradha a bit.
Having run from pillar to post for his treatment for a year now, she has finally seen the writing on the wall. “We were settled with our sons are in Vidisha and Chhindwara after my husband’s retirement but I had to shuttle to Bhopal now and then for his treatment”.
“Love is something that happens everyday and need not be necessarily reinforced through gifts on a particular date. “Jo Puneet Man Se Pyaar De Ek Aisa Mitr Chahiye, Jo Dukho Mein Dulaar De Bhaavna Aisi Pavitra Chahiye”, is all what Anuradha had to say in poetry.
Sunder Singh, a widower who lost his better half seven years ago, says, “Although the younger generation may bitterly differ with me, I believe that Valentine’s Day should celebrate the idea of relationships. If it is a day for celebrating love then it doesn’t have to traditionally include romantic love”, he says.
“My genuine affection for my co-inmates is my tribute to my wife on this Valentine Day. I am rediscovering her love by exchanging it in my own little way”, he says.
Madhuri, the coordinator of Anand Dhaam is planning to throw a bash for her elderly friends on February 14. Incidentally, it is Madhuri’s 19th marriage anniversary on Wednesday.
What a way to celebrate!