COLUMN: Spouse's Turn
Jesna Joy talks about life with the ace musician Stephen Devassy
By Shevlin Sebastian
When Jesna Joy's father told her that there was a proposal from Stephen Devassy's family, she was not very keen. She had just completed her B. Tech from Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, and was planning to go for higher studies abroad. “Dad found it difficult to say no because we are close family friends,” says Jesna. “So he told me to meet Stephen. And if I did not like him, then we could leave it.”
At that time, Jesna was staying with her parents in Dubai. The day before Stephen was supposed to come and meet her, she prayed to God. At the end, she said, “If we are supposed to be together, please make Stephen wear a white shirt and blue jeans.”
The next day, they met at a cafe at the Dubai Festival City. While Jesna came with her parents, Stephen was accompanied by his elder brother Sam. They had flown in from Chennai.
But the moment Jesna saw Stephen, she got a shock. Stephen was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. “That was a turning point for me,” says Jesna. “I realised that this was a sign from God.”
Four days later, she gave her assent to the marriage. The wedding took place, on November 16, 2010, at the Indian Pentecostal church at Ottappalam. And at the wedding reception, Jesna remembers, celebrity musician Shivamani came to the stage, raised his hands, and blessed the couple.
One day later, she was in Delhi because Stephen was performing in a show in honour of the Dalai Lama. It was the first time Jesna was seeing her husband play at a concert. “There is no doubt that Stephen has a God-gifted talent,” she says. Jesna also met celebrities like Mahesh Bhatt and Rani Mukherjee. “I was in awe,” she says. “I was thinking, 'From where to where God has taken me. I had been getting prepared for something else in life'.”
After the show, Stephen and Jesna met the Dalai Lama. “He told Stephen that he liked his way of playing Western fusion, and blessed him,” says Jesna.
Today, the couple lives in Mumbai with their five-month old son, Shawn. Asked to list Stephen's plus points, Jesna says, “He is a very loving person and always buys me gifts.” After his last international trip, to the USA, last month, Stephen presented Jesna with a bag which contained an I Phone, a perfume called One Million, a Michael Kors watch, sandals and handbags.
As soon as he returns home, after a long tour, he takes the family out for dinner, “That is because I am a foodie,” says Jesna, with a smile.
And because Jesna loves travelling, Stephen has taken her to many places – the USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. Their last trip was to Rio Di Janeiro in Brazil. “It was a breath-taking experience to see the Chris The Redeemer statue [located at the top of the Corcovado Mountain],” says Jesna. “We also spent time on the beautiful Copacabana beach. The Brazilian people are friendly and outgoing.”
Stephen is also outgoing as a father. “He loves to spend time with Shawn,” says Jesna. “In fact, he is sometimes amazed that he has become a father.”
Despite this deep affection for their child, Jesna is frank enough to say that music is Stephen's first love. “Stephen has been in love with music for as long as he can remember,” says Jesna. “He has been in the profession for 18 years, while I came into his life only four-and-a-half years ago.”
Asked about his negative traits, Jesna says, “Like any artiste, Stephen has mood swings. He gets upset and angry very suddenly. He can also get excited and happy very quickly. I have got used to it. I can see his mood changes on his face. At heart, he is a child. And I try to give him the space he needs.”
Stephen needs the space because he does a lot of the composing in a small studio at his home. He works late into the night. “But he tries to wake up by 9 a.m.,” says Jesna. “After breakfast, he spends some time with us. Then he goes to his studio to do some work.
Thereafter, he works out at a nearby gym. He is careful about his health. In the evenings also, he does gym work. And he keeps a sharp watch on what he eats.” However, for the major part of the month, Stephen is travelling, for performances, so Jesna has learnt to manage the home on her own.
Finally, when asked to give tips for a successful marriage, Jesna says, “In every marriage you have to give it some time. In the initial months, it can be very tough, but you have to be patient. You should stay together no matter what happens. I believe that nothing can work out without the help of prayer. Human beings have limits. So you need to rely on a limitless divine power. It is also good to remember that, at all times, God is with us.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)