//Where age ceases to matter when one is in love

Where age ceases to matter when one is in love

By Sanu George, Thiruvananthapuram: This is the extraordinary love story of a Kerala couple, Sukumaran, 41, and his 73-year-old ladylove, Kunjamma, who tied the knot after fighting bitter opposition from family members and are supremely happy now.

The story of the "odd couple" is being made into a telefilm. Shooting is complete for the 22-minute film, titled "Kalyana Video (Marriage Video)" being made by Roy Mathew, a journalist, and Raj Divakaran, creative director with a Britain-based company.

Sukumaran, who arrived in the city with his new bride from Puthencurish in Ernakulam district, says love first blossomed two years ago when he helped Kunjamma fill up a widow's pension form.

"Yes, if it had not been for filling of the form, I don't think we would have ever become husband and wife," Sukumaran, a painter by profession, told IANS here.

"From then on we used to meet almost daily in the market and we became close friends when she started telling me her sorrows. She told me that after her husband died three years ago, her four children used to ignore her."

Kunjamma, who was a vegetable vendor, would also do menial jobs in a few houses.

She lived with her younger son, a driver by profession, and frequent trouble brewed between her and her daughter-in-law. Kunjamma felt life was boring and dreaded going to her son's home after work in the evenings. Her only solace was meeting Sukumaran, who would give her a patient ear and console her.

Slowly Sukumaran picked up the courage to ask if she would stay with him, and she agreed.

A few days after she moved in with Sukumaran, his curious neighbours sent word to Kunjamma's children that she was with him.

"My children took me away and for quite a few months I was literally under house arrest," said Kunjamma.

But Sukumaran contacted a lawyer, and on his advice that marriage was the only way out for a life free from any trouble, he mentally prepared himself for the event.

Like Mughal emperor Shahjahan, who built the Taj Mahal for his wife, Sukumaran sold his land in Tripunithura and bought a two bed-room home for Kunjamma with all the basic facilities, including a gas stove, a telephone and fridge at Puthencurish, far away from his sneaky neighbours.

On Dec 6 last year, Sukumaran arrived at the home of Kunjamma and took her away.

"Finally, on Dec 11 last year we got married at the Aluva Cheerakadavu Temple according to typical Kerala Hindu rites. We went straight to my parents to seek their blessings. They were, of course, shattered. But after seeking their blessings we moved to our new home," said Sukumaran.

But when they thought their troubles were over, it became more complicated after Kunjamma's family members forcibly took her back on Jan 11.

Sukumaran approached the Kerala High Court with a habeas corpus petition, which the court admitted on Jan 14, and the 'new bride' was produced in the court three days later.

"Since then, we have had no problems," said a pleased Kunjamma. "I have nothing against my children who are upset and angry with me because I know their feelings. But let me tell you one thing, the happiness that I have been enjoying with Sukumaran cannot just be explained and I know none would understand also."

"My only concern now is that given her age, my aim would be to see that no illness affects her. I don't blame society, which might find it difficult to digest what we have done. I am not upset or angry with anyone because for me she is everything," said Sukumaran.

Sukumaran's parents – his father is 85 – visited the bride and the groom at their new dwelling.

"Yes, he has more or less accepted what we have done and may be it would take time for others. Even if they don't, my agenda is clear and I would be living for her from now on," declared Sukumaran.