“The first time I saw her was in a hospital where I was visiting my father who was admitted. I was sitting beside him and he pointed to a nurse and said, “See that girl? She takes really good care of me” and there she was in the nurse’s uniform walking towards me and honestly, I can say that it was the very first site when I fell in love!”
Recalls Dr R.K Anand, an internationally recognized paediatrician, on how the start of one of the most iconic contemporary love stories of India took place as he saw Mrs Asha Anand for the very first time.
Mrs Asha Anand is the author of 1959: A love story; a story of a woman who had the audacity to love out of her identity in a time when words like inter-caste toppled societal honour and spurred scandals.
What started as a memoir to record her early life as a Keralite Christian for her grand-children, Asha soon started spinning the tale of her love story with a Hindu Punjabi tracing it back to how it all started with Patna, followed by their journeys all over around the world.
“When it was the initial days of our courtship, I was just 17 years old. Later, at that time, I never thought that when he proposed to me whether we’ll be able to marry or not. Because I was from the South, he was from the north. So much of cultural differences” Asha opens up about how she was faced with various hurdles to cross-over for their union to happen. “My parents had a very bad impression of Punjabis and his parents had a very bad impression because I was a nursing student and how can doctor marry a nurse? The nursing profession is not considered a very normal position in India. So I never thought we’ll be able to really make it.”
Dr R.K Anand with Asha Anand
But Asha was determined, that her love would change the way things are. This formed as one of the ice-breakers in her acceptance as a daughter-in-law in Dr Anand’s family. Asha was with Dr Anand’s father the whole time he was bed-ridden during his last years while Raj was away completing his studies. Her compassion to give-out to the one in need relished all doubts that everyone had for inter-caste marriages.
“I remember how after seeing her with my father, I received letters from people who were against our marriage on what a fine choice of a wife I have made. It was not only in the way that she treated my father, but the way she was with everyone; my nephews and nieces. She treated each human with so much care and love.”
Looking at old and strikingly beautiful pictures of Asha, he tells the reason of why these pictures looked as marvellous.
“I remember this one time how she hadn’t worn her mask while treating Tuberculosis patients when every other doctor and nurse had it on. She did so, as to communicate better. And the photographer who had clicked this picture was so moved by the way Asha had taken care of his wife who also happened to be Tuberculosis stricken that he, later on, went to click numerous family portraits for them. And each picture shows that he had put his put his heart and love into it because of the way Asha treated his wife. ”
One of the common points in the union of Asha and Dr Anand was that they both cared about others with equal compassion. And their love for nurturing and caring have made them complete numerous families. The Anand’s have been involved in the adoption process throughout the world. And they have made invaluable bonds with the families and children throughout
“We visited all the families that had adopted children through us in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands and many more places. Each adoption story was more moving than the other and the bonds we formed with them were timeless. In the Netherlands for instance, one family had adopted a handicapped child to nurture her. That girl comes to visit me every year and still calls me her ‘Indian Mom’.”
In a family which was only vegetarian and had Hindu culture has now broadened to accept cultural values to twice of what they began with. Their family is now a proud generation of a fusion of two cultures, incurred in them by Asha and Raj.
Their book 1959 talks about their memories which is sporadically etched in different parts of the world irrespective of their caste and creed, following the story of a woman who had the audacity to love the way she wanted.
To know more about this magical couple, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.