Tell us how you both met and married. Any moving instances you remember?
My parents started searching for a suitable bride for me the moment our business in Dubai stabilised. My mother took the lead and requested her relatives to help her in this mission. Once, when she had gone to Satara, one of our relatives suggested a girl named Vandana Deshpande. My mother saw a photograph of hers and finding her to be attractive and pleasant, immediately took a liking to the girl. My father and I then went to see the girl. I was 28 and Vandana 23 at the time. My family liked Vandana and her courteous behaviour. Our horoscopes also matched.
Our families then decided on a suitable and auspicious date and time and after an engagement ceremony the same month, we tied the knot on 27th June 1994 at Sangli.
There are two moments we both will never forget. First one is before marriage and second after. When our marriage was fixed, we got permission from our families to go outside together. We went to Karad, a nearby town where Vandana was working. Over a cup of tea, I learnt that Vandana’s desire was to marry someone who was settled abroad. I told her the challenges of business and of living in a foreign country. She candidly and confidently told me that she would always be with me in any challenge and never complain. Her determination and honesty impressed me and I fell in love with her at that moment.
The second instance was after marriage. Vandana was supposed to accompany me to Dubai, but her visa was unexpectedly rejected and she had to stay back for a year. Thus we had a long distance relationship. and the only way to communicate with her was by phone. However, this one year of separation really brought us emotionally closer to each other for a lifetime.
What qualities of your wife convinced you that she is the one you want to spend your life with?
Vandana by nature is emotional, caring, helpful, and a little persistent too! Before marriage she worked in a hospital so she clearly had a compassionate and caring side to her. When we went for our honeymoon, she packed our baggage so neatly that I was pleasantly surprised with her tidiness. Later when I understood the managerial qualities in her, I brought her into our business and handed the financial responsibilities to her. With prudent financial management she elevated our business to such a level that even during trying times our company performed excellently. These are some of her fine qualities.
How has your relationship grown over the years?
Vandana has always remained a down to earth person. She is a woman of her word, devoted to raising our children. She joined our business only after our sons became adults. I narrowly escaped from death 4 times in my life. I suffered from various ailments. During all these times, Vandana was the only person who stood firmly beside me. Such moments grew our relationship over the years.
You recently celebrated your 27th wedding anniversary. What is the biggest achievement of your marriage?
Our strong and lifetime partnership based upon mutual love and trust. It is my spouse who really made my life happy and contented. We recently celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary. I gifted a brand new Bentley Flying Spur car as a token of my love. She smilingly took the keys and returned them to me saying- my husband is the most precious gift for me.
How have the two of you prioritized time for each other?
We decided a long time ago to give sufficient time to family. We have always followed that. We set a simple time table. Eight hours for working, eight hours for family and eight hours for sound sleep.
Your son got married six months ago. What advice would you give him and the couples of his generation ?
Always love and respect your spouse. Encourage the unique qualities in your wife. Give her a chance to prove her mettle. Trust her and always walk hand-in-hand in life. Truly build a lifetime partnership.
Dr. Dhananjay Datar is Managing Director of Al Adil Trading Co