Durban - "HE IS my Valentine every day, not just for one day in a year. We love one another and do the special things together all the time.”
Those are the sentiments of 70-year-old Sumentra Narain, who is still happily in love with her husband of 50 years, Mickey.
“Even if I could turn back the clock, I would chose my Mickey, live the same life and have the same kids.
"We have had a blessed married life because we are one another’s best friend.”
The couple, who live in Kennedy Road, Clare Estate, said their marriage was arranged.
“I was 26 years old looking for a wonderful lady but I couldn’t find her.
"A relative, who was from Glendale in Stanger (KwaDukuza) told me she wanted me to meet a family from the area.
"The moment I walked into Sumentra’s home, I caught sight of her and fell in love,” said Mickey.
Sumentra said: “I was shocked when my parents informed me someone was coming to see me.
"I just received the news and hours later he was at my door. We all had tea and snacks and I gave him my phone number.”
After their encounter, Mickey, now 76, said he could not wait to contact her but held himself back for at least a day before making the call.
“When I heard his voice the next day I was in shock. I didn’t expect him to call so soon and he asked me, ‘do you want to marry me?’. I responded ‘do you?’ and he said ‘yes’, so I agreed as well.
“In those days, I couldn’t say no because my parents were strict but I never regretted my decision,” she blushed.
The couple, who met in June 1967, were engaged a month later.
“I always said he couldn’t find a girl from his home town, so he came all the way to Glendale to find me,” she giggled.
To this, he retorted: “What do I do? You were beautiful and when I met you you, you had all the qualities I was looking for in a partner.”
During their months of courtship leading up to their marriage, Mickey, who worked as a shop fitter at Rebel (a liquor store), would visit his fiancée every week.
“My dad loved him. Every Friday he would ask me if Mickey was coming today and I knew he was, but I would act like I didn’t know and when he visited, he would bring a box of chocolates.
“We would all sit, talk and laugh. If we ever wanted to go out, my dad would send my mother or sister with us and say ‘make sure you go everywhere with them’,” she laughed.
The couple married on December 10, 1967, in front of about 800 guests at her home in Glendale.
Sumentra wore a silver benares sari, while Mickey opted for a navy blue suit.
Guests were treated to vegetable breyani, dhall and soji and were entertained by Deepak Entertainers.
Two years after marrying, they welcomed their first child, Verashne, and then her siblings Rakesh, Pranash and Adesh followed.
In the 1990s Mickey left Rebel and joined a chemical company until he retired at the age of 63 to look after his wife, who had broken her leg.
In their spare time they enjoy watching wrestling and religious programmes, spending time with their eight grandchildren, one great-grandchild and visiting family and friends.
Their secret to a happy marriage is love, honesty and being happy.
“We never fought. I never packed my bags and went to my parents’ home. If we ever needed to do anything, we always went together and up until now we do everything together,” beamed Sumentra.
The couple celebrated their 50th anniversary at their home with their children, who braaied and cooked a variety of meals for them.