Sujit and Kalpana who got married in the ‘70s talk about their ups and downs.

How they supported each other through 40 years of marriage. They lead a meaningful life post retirement with plenty to cheer about. In an interview to the fun loving couple reveals what makes them tick.

Was your match arranged like all traditional marriages those days?
Sujit Banerjee: No. Ours was not a traditional arranged marriage. We were neighbors, met, went on a trip together with our families, fell in love and decided to get married. There was opposition from my family, not hers. This sort of thing was happening for the first time in my side of family (except for another case of one flamboyant uncle in the army).

Do you remember the first time you met him?
Mrs Kalpana Banerjee: First time I met him? Hmm I must have been in a frock! Knew each other since we were in school!

What’s the most romantic thing he’s ever done for you?
Mrs Kalpana Banerjee: Can’t remember! Getting old!

As a couple you must have had (and still do) differences. How did you manage them?
Sujit Banerjee: Of course we have differences. But we don’t let them last. We resolve it soon enough. Sometimes by saying sorry, sometimes by bringing a gift and in my case when she gets my best food made! And as Madhuri, our daughter has observed, we have the capacity to laugh at each other’s jokes and foibles. Mostly I am known by the tag name of ‘ Inspector Cloussue’ of Pink Panther fame with all my faux paux which keeps my whole family laughing.

Did you ever attempt to change him in any way?
Mrs Kalpana Banerjee: He is a Cancerian and hates change! But over the years he has developed the same taste in sarees etc as mine!

During brief periods of self-doubts in the early years, how did both of you support each other?
Mrs Kalpana Banerjee: When young we all have in-laws problems! He always supported me and encouraged me. That’s what I never forgot. He has been a great husband!

How do you show your love for her? Do you cook for her sometimes or sing a song…
Sujit Banerjee: Cook for her! Once I entered the kitchen and put the milk to boil and went to do something else. Soon enough the burning smell from the kitchen indicated what I had done! I bring her flowers or say let’s go and buy you a new pair of shoes or slippers because she loves new shoes and slippers. When we moved to our own house 3 years back we threw away a whole big carton of shoes. But no matter, she had 2 other big cartons by then! I also sing her many songs, every Sunday, all romantic ones. She lifts her left eyebrow and says that one didn’t hit the right note! Hey, I was trying to woo you!

Is the relationship with your wife currently any different from the initial phase of your married life? Is there more depth and meaning to the relationship, now?
Sujit Banerjee: Since I retired 3 years back I’m staying for longer hours at home. Though I have lecturing and other assignments, I am still more at home. So, so as not to get into each other’s way too much we have devised a plan. I go to my basement study to prepare my lectures and she goes to her first floor studio to paint. That way we have a full ground floor to separate us. Then if we have to speak, if at all, we have to call on our mobiles. Heh heh! But seriously, yes our relationship has definitely evolved. I find her to be such a good mother, rather grand mother, (talking to her grandchildren and consequently children almost everyday on Skype) housewife (keeping the house spotlessly clean and nothing out of place) and wife (seeing that I have all my papers when when I’m going out and my tie is tied on straight!). Yes, she is something! And my love for her is as much as the first time I met her and fell in love.

What do you two love to do together when you have the time?
Sujit Banerjee: We have travelled all over India and the world together and have loved every minute of it. But these days we just like to put our feet up and watch a good movie on TV. We also love to Skype with our grandchildren.

What do you two love to do together when you have the time?
Sujit Banerjee: The other day she told me that I have no idea of ‘ timing’ and ‘ importance of a task’. I realized that those were the qualities that she, herself has in enormous measure. How to do something right and when to do it! Today if I have been successful, it is because she stood behind me like a rock through thick and thin. I have had difficult days in my life; very difficult days and years but I never felt anything because of her unstinted support. So the two things that make her the most lovable woman for me- her beauty even today and her quality of feet on the ground, come what circumstances.

What are two things that make him the most loveable man for you?
Mrs Kalpana Banerjee: He always kept me on a pedestal, so I was always made to feel so good! And I always supported him these 40 years! Love and respect for each other is so important. Most of all laugh together and at each other!

What advice do you have for young couples?
Mrs Kalpana Banerjee: My advice to young couples is to have more tolerance and patience towards each other. Laugh off your troubles! As you age and mature you will realize that so many trivial things have upset you. Always discuss things and do things together. Communication is important.

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