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Valentine’s Day Special: Let’s give love a second chance!

They say there’s no love like the first love. But as you will see, it is possible to feel the joy of true love again.11 couples tell stories that can cure any heartbreak — easily!

brunch Updated: Feb 16, 2019 23:23 IST
Veenu Singh
Veenu Singh
Hindustan Times
Rahul Dev,Valentine's Day,Mugdha Godse
On Mugdha: Dress, Amit Aggarwal; shoes, Steve Madden. On Rahul: Suit and shirt Emporio Armani; shoes, Tod’s. On Tanazz: Gown: Alka Bhatia ; accessories, Snehal Jewels. On Bhakhhtyar: Suit and shirt: Zara; shoes: Diesel. On Piyush: Suit and T-shirt, Club Factory at Kunchals; shoes: Heels & Buckles. On Roshni: Top, StalkBuylove; trousers, Mango; shoes, Zara; choker, Swarovski. On Anuradha: Sari, exhibition at Dastkar; jewellery, shop in Ajmer. On Sanjay: Hat, Kangol, USA; suit, Vaish & Sons; muffler, Tushar Kumar; shoes, Bellagio. Namisha and Anindo: Same as below.On Geetika: Dress, Zara; earrings, Neeshi Handbags & Jewellery; watch and bracelet, Swavroski; rings: Gili and Joy Alukkas; shoes: Naturalizer. On Vishal: T-shirt, Club Factory at Kunchals; jeans, Wrangler; watch, Fossil; shoes, Allen Solly Rishi and Bijay: same as below. Kulpreet and Freddy: same as below. On Vasundhra: Scarf, Bandhni, Ahmedabad; top: Hong Kong; trousers; customised from Khan Market; shoes; Hush Puppies. On Rameshwar: Sweater, Calvin Klein; trousers, Raymond; shoes, Cobblerz; muffler, from an exhibition. On Mihir and Maninee: same as below. On Navin: Suit, Tom Ford; shirt, Pink; pocket square, Casa Pop; shoes, Tom Ford. On Raseel: Suit; Rohit Bal; jewellery, Alpana Gujral; shoes, Bombay Gossip. Styling: Shamali Singh and Prraatik Duggad; Art Direction: Amit Malik; Make-up and hair: Vidya Tikari Studio, Sai and Arpana, and (For Rahul Dev) Ram Shankar Singh; Props: La Vie En Rose Fashart Cafe & Studio, New Delhi(Photos by Raj K Raj in Delhi NCR, Shivangi Kulkarni and Sandeep Joshi in Mumbai and Sharwanand Galinde in Pune)

As the day of love approaches both couples and singles get worked up, albeit for different reasons! We, at Brunch, however decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day by raising a toast to those who got lucky in love the second time and have overcome separations resulting from death to divorce, and are now living happily with their new better halves.

Presenting 11 couples who took the chance and allowed love to blossom, with someone new....

Mugdha Godse (37) & Rahul Dev (50), actors

On Rahul: Shirt, Rajesh Pratap Singh; jacket, JJ Valaya; trousers, Arc’teryx Veilance; shoes, Jimmy Choo. On Mugdha: Dress, Rajat Tangri; shoes, Zara ( Sandeep Joshi )

No one could replace Rahul Dev’s wife Rina. That’s what he thought when he lost her to cancer 10 years ago. Being both mother and father to their 10-year-old son, Siddharth, Rahul never imagined that he would fall in love again. But six years ago, Mugdha Godse entered his life, and so did love once again.

Rina and Rahul had been married for 11 years. “There was a sense of cohesiveness between us,” says Rahul. “I don’t recall any conflicts, and I learnt a lot from her. I did question fate when the smooth sailing was struck by disease.”

“You don’t think when you fall in love… that’s why they use the word ‘fall’ I guess!” —Mugdha Godse

He met Mugdha at the wedding of a mutual friend in 2013, on the same day that he met his guru, Tarneiv ji. The celebratory atmosphere added to the sense of attraction both felt for each other, and the fact that Mugdha too became a follower of Rahul’s guru made their connection stronger.

“There is an overall sense of well-being and happiness between us. Coming from the same profession, we both know what it entails and try and help each other progress,” says Rahul.

Now they have the same spiritual master and are in pursuit of similar goals. “So, there is a sense of understanding stemming from that. It makes me believe that life offers more than one chance,” he adds.

“Our relationship has created positive changes in both of us,” says Mugdha. “I had no apprehensions at all about being with Rahul. Everything just fell in place. You don’t think when you fall in love... that’s why they use the word ‘fall’ I guess.”

Love, hate, tolerate

Mugdha: I love his sincerity and simplicity, but tolerate the time he spends in front of the mirror!

Rahul: I love her lively nature and adaptability. Hate? Nothing!

Raseel Gujral (54) & Navin Ansal (61), entrepreneurs

On Navin: Suit, D&G; shirt, Pink; tie, Romeo Giglee; pocket square: Model Zone; shoes, Tom Ford. On Raseel: Sari, Ravi Bajaj; sandals, Bombay Gossip; watch, Franck Muller ( Raj K Raj )

Raseel married very young, and later realised that she and her then husband were not suited for each other. Navin married for all the right reasons, but even 10 years together with his then wife could not sort out their incompatibility issues. Now known as one of Delhi’s power couples, Raseel and Navin began their relationship as business partners, founding the interior design firm, Casa Paradox. Five years later, the two took one more step together, this time to love, and by now they have celebrated 27 wedding anniversaries with their family of three children and a household that even includes Navin’s former wife.

“[At the time we got married] I was old enough to understand what would work for me even though I wasn’t looking for a life partner. But it felt so right!” —Raseel Gujaral

Navin had been a bit apprehensive about marrying for a second time, feeling that the legal tie might destroy the beauty of their love for each other. Raseel, however, had no such doubts. “I was old enough to understand what would work for me even though I wasn’t looking for a life partner,” says Raseel. “But it just felt so right. It was like I had found my best friend.”

Years later, Navin tells us that his fears were unfounded. “Raseel reaffirmed my belief in the idea that we can have a fabulous life regardless of ups and downs,” he says. “We both are very impatient, stubborn and very self-built, yet we can’t live without each other.”

Love, hate, tolerate

Raseel: I love his goodness and hate his anger because he gets very loud.

Navin: I hate nothing about her. She gives me my space. What I like best about our relationship is that we don’t have any ego issues.

Maninee Mishra (43) & Mihir Misra (42), actors

On Mihir: Trousers and shoes, Giorgio Armani; shirt, Zara; belt, Marks & Spencer. On Maninee: Dress, Fuss Pot; shoes, Inc 5; jewellery, Shimmeria Dog Boozy: Leash, Pet Universe ( Shivangi Kulkarni )

What would you call a marriage that happened within a week of dating? A fairy tale romance, right? But do fairytales happen a second time? Looks like it.

When Maninee met Mihir through a common friend, she’d walked out of a dysfunctional marriage along with her daughter. Mihir, however, was unmarried.

“Her daughter [from her first marriage] convinced Maninee to move into my house” —Mihir Misra

“We dated for exactly a week before getting married,” grins Maninee.

That didn’t mean that she wasn’t nervous about keeping their relationship going, or that Mihir wasn’t afraid that her four-year-old daughter wouldn’t take to him. “Even at four, her daughter was mature enough to understand the situation. She convinced Maninee to move into my house and within a week she was calling me papa,” he says.

Love, hate, tolerate

Maninee: I love his kindness and compassion for humans and animals alike. I hate how he procrastinates and his laziness.

Mihir: I love her ability to be calm in the face of a storm, and hate her obsession with perfection.

Tanazz (47) & Bhakhhtyar Irani (40), actors

On Tanazz: Dress, Infiniti Boutique, Goa; necklace, Swati Parikh; earrings, Forever 21; watch, Michael Kors. On Bhakhhtyar: Jacket, Millionnaire, shirt and jeans, Zara; shoes, Diesel; watch, Michael Kors ( Shivangi Kukarni )

Tanazz Irani grins at the irony of age gaps. The 18-year difference between her first husband and herself ended that marriage. The seven-year gap between Bhakhhtyar and her actually makes their marriage work better.

“Bhakhhtyar has no idea where things are kept at home. He’s like a paying guest in my house!” —Tanazz B Irani

Tanazz met Bhakhhtyar during a music reality show, and two years later, they decided to marry. “My current marriage is one of the most dynamic and completely volatile, full-of-life relationships I have ever had,” she says. “We ask a lot of questions of each other before making any decisions. This marriage has brought a very positive change in my life. Earlier, I was very tough. Now I am emotional and very family-oriented.”

Their age difference worked positively on Bhakhhtyar. “Marrying a person who is more mature than me made me responsible and made me look at certain things with a different perspective,” he explains.

Love, hate, tolerate

Tanazz: I love that Bhakhhtyar lets me do my own thing. But he has no idea where things are kept at home. He’s like a paying guest in my house!

Bhakhhtyar: I love the way she handles the kids with so much passion and attention, and hate that she doesn’t show the same love and attention to her husband.

Anuradha Marwah (56) & Sanjay Kumar (58), academics

On Anuradha: Jacket and trousers: Mint Blush; boots: Skechers; ruby necklace, Vamika, Jaipur. On Sanjay: Hat, Kangol, USA; blazer, Mint Blush; shirt, United Colors of Benetton; trousers: Gap; shoes, Pikolinos, Bellagio, Italy ( Raj K Raj )

Teaching in the same university, though in different colleges, Anuradha Marwah and Sanjay Kumar first met as colleagues in a syllabus revision committee in 1991. Both were dealing with incompatibility in their married lives at the time, and became friends.

After a few years and after both had divorced their spouses, their friendship turned into love, and now they’ve been living in for 16 years.

“[The second relationship] destructures and restructures the notion of family. It is challenging!” —Sanjay Kumar

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but as both our marriages had ended and both of us were a little lost and adrift, we decided to take the plunge,” says Anuradha.

Anuradha has two sons from her first marriage and worried how they’d adjust to Sanjay, also a theatre artist. “This has been a challenging space and also constantly negotiated,” says Sanjay. “It takes us into areas uncharted, where people seldom venture. It destructures and restructures the notion of family.”

“Emerging from the toxic relationship of my first marriage, I realised the importance of normal; how unusual ‘normal’ is,” says Sanjay. Adds Anuradha, “Our relationship has made me more confident, less anxious – a happier person!”

Love, hate, tolerate

Anuradha: I love him for his passion for theatre and have nothing to hate.

Sanjay: I love her for what she is.

Namisha Shah (37), design professional & Anindo Ghosh (48), photographer

On Namisha: Gown, Redherring; shoes, Footin; accessories, Shimmeria. On Anindo: T-shirt, Jockey; trousers, Park Avenue; shoes, Mochi ( Raj K Raj )

When Anindo Ghosh moved to Mumbai from Delhi after ending a marriage of four years by mutual consent, little did he know that the person his team recruited as his Woman Friday would, six years later, become his life partner.

Namisha had no qualms about marrying a divorcee. “In fact, I feel blessed to have found someone who treats me as an equal and who has empowered me at every step,” says Namisha.

“I felt that Namisha was so much younger than me that she’d soon get bored of me and move on...” —Anindo Ghosh

It was Anindo who had doubts. “I felt that Namisha was so much younger than me that she’d soon get bored and move on,” he confesses. “But as we grew older together, that age factor has diminished.”

Namisha loves being married to Anindo. “The relationship has helped me evolve as a human being,” she says. “I have found someone I can be myself with; someone who loves me with all my quirks.”

Adds Anindo, “Namisha is my lighthouse in every storm, and my bellwether for every difficult decision.”

Love, hate, tolerate

Namisha: I love his intellect, but I detest his habit of cluttering the house with gadgets and gizmos.

Anindo: Her smile when she wakes up makes my day. Those rare days when she wakes up grumpy, I stay below the radar.

Roshni Sethi (32), YouTuber & Piyush Sethi (30), real estate consultant

On Piyush: Jacket and shirt, Zara; pants, H&M; shoes and belt, Heel & Buckles. On Roshni: Dress, StalkBuyLove; shoes, Zara; necklace, Neeshi Handbags and Jewellery ( Raj K Raj )

When Roshni (better known as blogger Roshni Bhatia of Thechiquefactor) took her young son and walked out of her first marriage, she had lost all faith in the institution. Her husband was a male chauvinist expecting nothing but service from his wife.

“I had no say, even in my own life decisions,” says Roshni. “I was required to stay at home and produce kids, with no independence, as that’s what Indian wives do, according to my ex-husband.”

Disillusioned, she vowed never to fall in love again. But then co-worker Piyush came into her life. His loving nature melted her heart. And when Piyush proposed to her and accepted her son as his own, Roshni couldn’t say no.

“Our marriage is like a perfect partnership, which we nurture with love each day” —Roshni Sethi

Now married to Piyush for seven years, Roshni has only positive things to say. While Piyush’s only fear when marrying her was how her son from her first husband would adjust to his new circumstances. “Thankfully, everything turned out great,” he says.

Love, hate, tolerate

Roshni: I love that he’s very caring, but I’d appreciate it if he was a little more expressive.

Piyush: She is very beautiful and intelligent, but I hate how much of a perfectionist she is!

Vasundhara (63) & Rameshwar Broota (77), artists

On Rameshwar: Coat, United Colors of Benetton; shirt: Blackberrys; trousers: Raymond; shoes:Cobblerz. On Vasundhara: Suit from Abha Bhandare; juttis, Janpath; watch, Omega bangles, Dubai ( Raj K Raj )

Vasundhara joined Delhi art institution Triveni in the 1990s, where Rameshwar was a teacher. When Rameshwar’s marriage began falling apart, Vasundhara started helping him out, and simply being there for him.

“He was very fragile at that time, both physically and mentally,” says Vasundhara. “I wanted to take care of him.”

“[When his previous marriage ended], he was very fragile both physically and mentally. I wanted to take care of him” —Vasundhara Broota

Soon, they decided to marry despite Vasundhara’s family’s reservations. “I felt sure about it,” says Vasundhara. “And we have proved everyone wrong. If the bonding is strong and your core values are the same, you can pass through any problem smoothly.”

Adds Rameshwar, “She is very open and outgoing, while I’m more reserved, but we have a great understanding.”

Love, hate, tolerate

Vasundhara: He is warm-hearted and genuine. But he sleeps so late!

Rameshwar: She is very straightforward and transparent. There’s nothing to hate about her.

Geetika (35) & Vishal Joshi (42), entrepreneurs

On Geetika: Dress, Zara; shoes, Haute Curry; earrings, Lovisa. On Vishal: Suit, Zara; shirt, Pierre Cardin; shoes, Allen Solly; watch, Fossil ( Raj K Raj )

Fifteen years ago, Vishal phoned Geetika on her landline by mistake. He was looking for an electronics showroom. He found a friend. “I was completing my graduation, and Vishal was getting married at that time,” says Geetika. “Gradually, both of us lost touch. Then in 2017, I called Vishal to say goodbye as I was moving to Abu Dhabi for my new professional assignment. That was when I learned that Vishal had gone through a bitter divorce. I myself was going through a rough phase in my marriage and soon parted ways with my husband. Renewing our friendship, we found peace in each other’s company. Last year, we decided to marry.”

“Vishal has adjusted more to my life than I did to his. I love that!” —Geetika Joshi

Today, despite their long-distance relationship, they are both very happy. “After a bad and bitter first marriage, I was shattered and wary about a new relationship,” says Vishal. “But Geetika brought back love in my life.”

Love, hate, tolerate

Geetika: I love how he adjusted to my life more than I adjusted to his. I hate him for being lazy, casual and nagging me while I am shopping as I am a big shopping freak.

Vishal: I love the way Geetika cares for my entire family. But don’t like her love for shopping!

Kulpreet (45) & Freddy Vesuna (45), business people

On Kulpreet: Dress, And; shoes, Clarks; ring and bangles, Tbz; watch, Tommy Hilfiger . On Freddy: Shirt, H&M; suit, Benz; shoes, Lee Cooper ( Sharwanand Galinde )

After going through marriages that involved court dramas, lies and deceit, both Kulpreet and Freddy were disillusioned and untrusting. Nevertheless, they were firm about moving forward, and each signed up on a matrimonial website where they found each other.

Six years later, Freddy is totally content. “I enjoy an amazing and loving marriage, which, to date, comes with daily surprises,” he grins.

“After meeting freddy, I am a strong believer in second chances” —Kulpreet Vesuna

While Kulpreet says that her marriage to Freddy makes her feel complete, she had serious doubts about a second marriage six years ago. “We both belong to different religions and Freddy had a grown up son too,” says Kulpreet. “I confided these doubts to Freddy and he helped me sort them out. Today, I am a strong believer in second chances.”

Love, hate, tolerate

Kulpreet: He makes amazing gajar ka halwa and Spanish omelettes. What irritates me is his habit of leaving his wet towel on the bed.

Freddy: She is a pure-hearted and a happy-go-lucky person. And, on a lighter note, she speaks too much.

Rishi Raj (36), stylist & Bijay Khapangee Thapa (40), techie-turned-baker

On Bijay: Sweater, H&M; jeans, Goodwill Vintage and Thrift Shop; shoes, Jack & Jones. On Rishi: Kurta, cutomised from Shahpur Jat; pants, H&M; shoes, Koovs; spectacles, John Jacobs ( Raj K Raj )

Rishi and Bijay met when Bijay arrived in Delhi from Chennai and needed a flat. Since they had mutual friends, Rishi offered to share his apartment till Bijay found something of his own. “Then Bijay walked in, and about 10 days later, common sense walked out,” laughs Rishi. He was 29 then, and Bijay 32.

Rishi dated often and had several short-lived relationships before meeting Bijay. But he did have a seven-year-long relationship with a man who remained closeted, leaving him unable to express his feelings for him.

“And then Bijay came,” says Rishi. “And, he had no issues being open about our relationship. So I decided to be with Bijay. He is the best thing that’s happened to me.”

Cool, calm and collected Bijay, discovered that his relationship with Rishi made him a better man. “I am kinder now, more aware of the emotional side of things,” he says.

Adds Rishi, “Bijay is my rock. He makes me want to give the best of myself to each day. He makes coming back home so worth it.”

Love, hate, tolerate

Rishi: I love how hardworking and talented Bijay is. And I hate how he stays away from me, working on his cakes!

Bijay: Rishi is a posh princess! When we travel, I almost go local, he on the other hand just parks himself by the hotel pool.

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From HT Brunch, February 10, 2019

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First Published: Feb 09, 2019 21:50 IST