Society

On Valentine’s Day, meet a few couples who’ve made it work at work

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air   | Photo Credit: istock.com

Couples who found love at their workspaces

Gowry Lekshmi (singer-composer) and Ganesh Venkataramani (drummer)

Gowry Lekshmi and Ganesh Venkataramani

Gowry Lekshmi and Ganesh Venkataramani   | Photo Credit: Nikhil

Gowry Lekshmi: Five years ago, he had come to watch my show in Chennai. He took a selfie with me saying he was my fan. We became good friends once he began playing the drums for me. After a couple of shows, we started dating and everything happened at lightening speed. I don’t know who made the first move, but both were eager to be together. There was some resistance from his family because he is a Tamil Brahmin and they had apprehensions about having a daughter-in-law from another State and culture. But everything got sorted out in a week and we were married in 2017. Having an artiste as my partner makes work so easy. It is one of the best things that has happened to me. Work becomes so easy. And there have been no ego clashes till date. The beautiful thing about our relationship is transparency. There are no secrets. If there is an issue, we talk, argue, fight, and that anger or sadness will be vented that way.

SP Sreekumar and Sneha Sreekumar (Actors)

SP Sreekumar and Sneha Sreekumar

SP Sreekumar and Sneha Sreekumar   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Sreekumar: Nine years ago, we met on the sets of Marimayam [sitcom on Mazhavil Manorama], which was like a family. We all worked in a movie as well, Vallatha Pahayan. Later, Sneha and I worked for the first time in a play, Taj Mahal , as the protagonists. When we both realised that we were compatible, we decided to be together. Our families were putting pressure on us to tie the knot and we complied. Otherwise, we would still be moving around like free birds. Acting is both a passion and profession for us. It is easy to understand the nature of each other’s work, which makes our bonding strong. Every day, we are getting to know each other better. Meanwhile, we will soon be acting together in a new play written by Jayaprakash Kuloor.

Aswathy and Srikanth (classical dancers)

Srikanth and Aswathy

Srikanth and Aswathy   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

Srikanth: I met Aswathy in 1999 as a student of dance. I had come to Kozhikode to conduct a workshop on an invitation from Kalamandalam Saraswathy, my mother-in-law now, and Aswathy came to receive me at the railway station wearing a plain green silk salwar set with a yellow dupatta.

From 2001, we started performing a lot as guru and shishya. Also, Aswathy started accompanying me in nattuvangam for my solo concerts. Musicians from both Kerala and Chennai who accompanied us would say that we make a good pair on stage. Once, my vocalist insisted that I propose to her and try my luck. It so happened that she was also pestered by her college mates who had seen me in 1996 when I accompanied my guru on a SPIC MACAY tour to Providence College, Kozhikode. Aswathy proposed to me and it was a conscious decision. Cupid had a very little role to play. We share ideas, help each other in choreography and understand the strength and weaknesses of each other well. It is magical to see the two energies (male and female) simultaneously on stage.

I can’t really call it a disadvantage, but most of the time we end up talking about dance or dance-related subjects.

Sreekanth Nair (light designer) and Monisa Nayak (Odissi dancer)

Sreekanth Nair and Monisa Nayak

Sreekanth Nair and Monisa Nayak   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Sreekanth: I met her at a dance programme in the capital city 15 years ago. I couldn’t help taking notice of this beautiful girl. When she came down again, we renewed the acquaintance. Later when I went to Delhi to work at the National School of Drama, I realised that her Kathak classes were also on the same campus. So I made it a point to take that route often. It was during a trip to West Asia, organised by a television channel, that we became close friends. Some of our friends encouraged the budding romance. After this trip, I moved to Delhi where I worked and would meet her often.

We both were in two minds about getting married. When I felt that we appreciated each other as artistes and individuals, I suggested marriage. She had a few conditions though — she wouldn’t leave dance, Delhi will be her base and since she moves around with men as part of her profession, I shouldn’t object to it. I was okay with everything. In 2007 we got married, with blessings from our families. It was she who encouraged me to focus on my company in the city, Cameo. We’ve worked out an arrangement as well — we will focus on our respective fields for 20 days a month and rest of the days either she will come to Thiruvanthapuram or I will go to Delhi. Now my house-cum-studio [near Ulloor] has a space where she practices and conducts Kathak classes.

Cultural and social differences have never come in the way of our bonding. We are 3,000 km away from each other and it is through phone calls that we keep it going. What matters is we respect each other’s work.

Dr Padmavathy R and Dr Deepak Janardhan (medical practitioners)

Deepak Janardhan and Padmavathy R

Deepak Janardhan and Padmavathy R   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Padmavathy R: We met during our MBBS days at Calicut Medical College, Kozhikode. We were best friends for a long time. And, in our case, ‘Love is friendship set to music’. We were the lead vocal and the lead pianist in our college rock band ‘Elixir’. Music was the all powerful force behind our romance and marriage.

I find only advantages in being married to my best friend. We can understand each other’s exhaustion and state of minds, accept crazy work hours and sudden dashes to the hospital when on call duty. We are equally hands-on in raising our children and fevers and scraped knees are no big deal. Dealing with not only the ailments but also the emotional baggage of patients often drains one of energy. But coming home to an understanding spouse is a gift by itself. Having witnessed the brevity of life through our profession, it brings a unique perspective to us, both as a couple and as parents. We enjoy simple pleasures and live life as though there is no tomorrow.

Balancing full-time careers alongside children and family obligations is probably the biggest challenge we have faced. Then, we find ourselves conversing in medical jargon over the dining table, being completely oblivious to politics and day-to-day news around the world and finding quality time to spend together as a family.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 1:04:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/how-love-blossomed-in-work-spaces/article30809801.ece

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