Saroj and Kamlesh
Updated: Oct 3
Saroj and Kamlesh met while studying at Leicester Polytechnic in the early 1980s. They shared their ups and downs of married life, throwing off the shackles of outdated Indian tradition and culture of their parents. They did things differently and made their own rules together.
The first memory of meeting
My initial memory of seeing Kamlesh was when he was walking towards me in the underpass of the university campus. I was heading to the market to pick up some fruit and veg because as a student I had a tight budget. I was walking through the underpass and I saw him coming toward me. It was the most bizarre thing because he appeared to me as a vignette. Everything and everyone went out of focus and all I saw was him. He was always immaculately dressed wearing a jacket, polished shoes and designer clothes.
We didn't start dating until the first term of our second year. We were introduced to each other by a friend a year earlier in the student's union bar. As Kam sat down; he ignored me and concentrated on wooing my friend who sat diagonally opposite him. Nothing happened between them because she had her sights on someone else. He did keep going on about how beautiful she was at the time!
We eventually got together on the 31st October at our Halloween party and my housemates often joked that he came to our Halloween party and never left. He told me in the first week of us dating, that he knew he wanted to marry me. I felt the same way. Things just clicked that night, and we have been together since.
He never asked me to marry him, it just happened!
We lived together in secret for 5 years. Once we bought a flat, we told our parents that we intended to get married to each other. We broke tradition by living together before marriage, had an inter-caste marriage that was not arranged by our elders. We really did things our own way and it's worked for us.
How we overcome our differences
Our path to love has had its difficulties, with the first one overcoming the issues of the caste system. He can be insecure and I am stubborn. We are friends first and foremost and we never sleep on an argument. We're both honest and hot headed and won't allow each other to sulk or hold grudges.
Always make time to be together
Throughout our marriage we’ve made time to be together, even after our children arrived, we maintained the intimacy of marriage. Being in a committed relationship with young children is hard work, you are exhausted, have money issues and don't have access to babysitters - the list goes on. We always find moments to sit together, even if it is just in front of the TV.
What has kept you together all these years?
Love isn't just about the fairytale romance, it's about commitment, caring for the person you are with through thick and thin. I would advise anyone in a relationship that when things get rocky, reflect on why you fell in love. The day we held our son for the first time was a precious moment, especially because he was very sick and did not survive. It's not a typical couple's moment. But that day I knew that no matter what happened, we would always have the strength to stay together.
If I had to describe love, it is an all powerful feeling that envelopes you at the beginning of your relationship, a unique bond that keeps you together through the rough times and completeness that never fades.
We have a favourite song but it’s not from the eighties ‘Mere Sapno ki Rani’ Kishore Kumar, Anand Bakshi, Aradhana 1969 because he has always believed that we were meant to be together. He doesn’t have a great voice, sings off key and sometimes gets the lyrics wrong, but every time I hear the song it takes me back to our first year in 1982.
When I think of the One of my favourite songs from the 1980s is ''Tu Tu Hai Wahi' by Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle, Gulshan Bawra, from the Bollywood movie 'Yeh Vaada Raha' 1982. The lyrics resonate with me so much 'Let's meet like crashing waves, this is my promise.'