The decision of Sitaram Bhute,73,and Jyoti Pimpalapure,63,to get married after a live-in relationship has ushered in a new dawn of hope for those lonely who are in the twilight of their lives. While the kin of Sitaram and Jyoti detested the inter-caste marriage at the local Arya Samaj Mandir,there were a few who extended support.
Sitaram,a retired employee of Ordnance Factory from Bhandara,said it was a conscious decision. We came to know each other through Nagpurs Jyeshthanche Live-in Relationship Sanyojak Manal (forum for live-in relationship for senior citizens) about five months ago. We stayed together for a while and after some initial ifs and buts decided to get married, he said. The forum was formed two years ago by the Late Geeta Godbole Smruti Trust and had raised many eyebrows then.
After his wifes death last year,Sitaram was feeling lonely. Though his three sons were ready to look after him,he said,I told them I still feel lonely with all of you remaining busy with your families. They opposed but I was firm on finding a companion.
Jyoti has been ploughing a lonely furrow for long. Her husband had died in 2000 but she had ceased to live with him 36 years ago. I have been staying with my mother since 1977,working as a nurse in a private hospital. My husband was disloyal to me. My son and daughter were brought up by my brother-in-law, she said.
Jyoti said that her daughter is no longer in touch with her and her son is not ready to care. I left the job last year and needed a companion, she said.
For about five months,Jyoti and Sitaram met each other. Jyoti once even thought of opting out,to which Sitaram agreed. He did not grow a beard after my refusal and had also seen another woman from Banaras, Jyoti said. But then she fell ill and Sitaram took care of her. I thought he was worth marrying, she said.
Madhusudan Mudke,a seniors live-in facilitator-cum-counsellor and Jyotis neighbour,Ravindra Palsapure,supported their marriage. In Bhandara,no one were surprised. I freely interacted with his neighbours. Only his sister-in-law cursed us, Jyoti said.
In Jyotis neighbourhood in Nagpur,nobody dared to question her. The two were also clear about their property matters. Its a given that nobody claims others property. I only sought a mangalsutra from him,which I am not going to part with at any time, Jyoti said.
Initially,Sitarams sons feared that Jyoti had an eye on his property. I told them I dont want anything, she said. Mudke said she would only get Sitarams pension if he passes away before her. Meanwhile,Jyoti has warned her son to keep off her husband.
Their married life has already set off with Jyoti taking charge of the home. He didnt perform puja before. I told him he must do it and pray two times a day, Jyoti said. Quick came Sitarams reply: If it makes her happy,why not.
The couple feel that the live-in relationships of the young could be fragile. Its based more on emotions and not on the urge for pure companionship. Of course,its entirely a personal decision of the two to which they have a right, they said. On the likelihood of his sons getting alienated from him,Sitaram said,Things fall in place after a while. Time is the cure. Blood relations arent so weak.