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Love has no bars
Love increases with time. The more you spend time with the person you love the more you love that person.
Ranvir Mehta, 68, and Saroj, his wife of 40 years, enacted, at their community get-together recently, a skit written by their daughter-in-law on the varied ways in which different generations express love. Interspersed with songs, the skit highlighted the early days, when life in a joint family imposed severe restrictions on the expression of marital love. "At the most one could hum a song," reveals Ranvir. But now, inspired and encouraged into a revolutionary transformation by the younger generation, Ranvir and Saroj do sit next to each other and even hold hands at family gatherings.

Though seniors still feel embarrassed and reticent, expression of love is no longer shunned. Most acknowledge the continued importance of love in their lives.

Of course, the concept of love has undergone change for seniors. Love for them seems more centered on emotions and bonding, rather than the physical aspect. Yet, certain factors and views have remained rock steady.

"I am still very much in love with my babu." declares Heena Agarwal, married for 24 years. "Age definitely takes its toll, but there are constants. My husband was, and remains, very caring and loving, and has given me the freedom to be my own person, which is important."

Heena's husband, noted astrologer Ashok Agarwal (64) elaborates on the enduring nature of senior love. "Age is immaterial," he insists. "Heena looked good, was intelligent, had guts, and the abilities, and I value them still." He, however, admits that both of them have had to accept change, as a pre-requisite to continued love.

Retired bank employee Roma Changulani, married 33 years also, also emphasises learning to cheerfully accept change. "Thankfully, my husband and I have retained common interests, such as travelling, movies and eating out. He was, and still is, jovial and loves a good laugh just as much as I do. Of course," she continues mischievously, "he regrets that I no longer look like Madhubala. Today, it's friendship, which is valuable for me. I know we are always there for each other. I know I can rely upon him."

As the mother of two adults, Roma tries to shrug off the continued presence of conventional romance in her life, but not quite successfully. It does touch a deep chord in her that her husband has placed a big picture of her in his room, and that he craves to be left alone with her, keeping at bay a swarm of relatives. "I do feel nice," she admits.

Mature love often brings welcome insights. Ranvir has always admired Saroj's practical nature and common sense, which enabled her to adjust totally to her in-laws' family. "I cherish her spirit," he declares proudly "She was elaborately veiled when she stepped into my life and now she's actively involved in social work and has even abroad on her own steam!"

Saroj concurs: "Love changes, it sure does. Looks mattered then but it's warmth now. A feeling of wanting to do something for this person whom you love and who you know loves you and for whom I could spare little time in the early years, due to family responsibilities." Saroj is grateful that Ranvir is supportive of all her aspirations.

Most seniors have learnt to walk the tightrope between doing things together and giving space to each other. Roma says, "Being mature doesn't mean that you don't have differences of opinion. My husband likes to cook what he relishes, and I resent the mess he makes in the kitchen. But we patch up quickly. And our two children are, of course, a lasting bond between us."

Ranvir has in his bag a surefire trick for peace on the home front: to walk out of the room when there's a disagreement. "It works," he grins. Heena has a useful tip. "I never sleep over a fight: we thrash it out and then tomorrow's another day: bright, fresh and full of hope."

Indeed, for couples who haven't allowed their spirits to be grayed with their hair, each day is a new beginning in a maturing relationship of love.
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Posted on : 18/11/2005
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