By -Rekha Rajvanshi
Romance, love, flowers, gifts, chocolates, cards and messages were floating around. Young and bold, new and old, all were seen buying roses for their loved ones. Everyone looked beautiful. Valentine candles were lit, perfumes were worn, aromatic oils were applied and love songs were played, all this created romantic mood and atmosphere. After all it was Valentine’s Day! A day of love and laughter! I talked to two musical couples to find out how they met their valentine.
Murali & Lalita Venkatraman
Murali is a multilingual composer, singer, arranger and writer with an experience of 22 years in music. He is well-known in Sydney as a Ghazal, Bhajan and semi-classical singer. His talented wife Lalita is an accomplished teacher, choreographer and performer with a Masters degree in Indian classical dances. Murali tells us the story of how he met Lalita and how they fell in love-
“We were in our twenties and we met at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA. I was pursuing my PhD in Chemical Engineering and Lalita had just joined for her PhD in Statistics. We first met at an Indian Students Organization party at the university of South Carolina (USA) where we were pursuing our PhDs. I had been in the university much longer than Lalita but had quietly slipped out of the cultural scene due to reasons of my own. But Lalita, a new entrant to the university who was also a cultural coordinator, was told about me by a few other friends and she was looking to rope me in for the Diwali cultural programme. We got talking about music and other things right away.
Was it love at first sight? No it was not love at first sight although I (Murali) admit to being attracted early on, as any guy would be seeing a pretty girl. We discussed a lot of music and used to go to the local temple to perform bhajans with other friends and organize occasional mehfil sessions. She did not talk about her dancing abilities for quite long and when discovered I was amazed how decidedly low-profile she had chosen to keep allowing me to ramble on about music.
How did you decide to get married? Marriage was not in our minds at that time as we were concentrating on completing our PhD degrees and having fun doing music and dance. We decided to get married later.
Is your love still the same? I believe the original (immature) parameters by which we measured our love are defunct. Our love has steadily grown in an atmosphere of honesty and mutual respect and has metamorphosed into different things in life.
Abhijit & Srijani Dan
Srijani is a born music lover, who started learning music at the age of four. She learnt Hindustani Classical Vocal from Guru Imam Ghulam of Allahabad (Prayag Gharana). Currently she teaches classical vocals at Nataraj Academy in Sydney and appears on numerous live concerts in Sydney. Abhijit Dan is one of the most accomplished Tabla players of Australia. I spoke with Srijani about how she met her love, and here is her love story with Abhijit-
I was in year 12 nearly finishing high school. While returning from Bangalore we were in the same train and that’s when we officially we started interacting with each other. It was me who initiated the first conversation commenting on his T-shirt!
Was it love at first sight? I met Abhijit at Sai Centre in a bhajan. I was singing a bhajan and he was on the Tabla. I’m not sure of it was love at first sight but he was an attractive, handsome young guy. I liked him, other than his good looks, he was very sensitive, well behaved and kind to everyone around him. I was in year 12 nearly finishing high school. While returning from Bangalore we were in the same train and that’s when we officially we started interacting with each other. It was me who initiated the first conversation commenting on his T-shirt!
How did you decide to get married? Initially we had no plans, he was a bit senior to me, and was very quiet. He was not that romantic who will use his charm to captivate a girl. Yet he will have genuine gestures; which will tell you how he feels about you. Slowly and steadily we became very good friends. Abhijit was always there for me whenever I needed him even if it be for the smallest thing like going to buy my hair clips. He was always just a phone call away. He always made me feel as I was special.
Is your love still the same? I am thankful that my life is beautiful. Now we both are parents with a lovely 6 years old son. Our dream of having a family together has come true and we feel blessed. I think our love is grown in proportion. It has matured with time, with the feeling of belongingness for each other and responsibilities. The key factor in our relationship has been our passion for music. We are often referred as the “musical couple”. In him, I see the man who I can trust, respect and depend. That is how I sum up our love story.