Tuesday, March 20, 2012

“I believe in love”

COLUMN: Spouse's Turn

A chance meeting in a television studio led Manju Haridas to marry actor Narain. She talks about her love story

Photo: Manju Narian. Taken by Martin Louis

By Shevlin Sebastian

Manju Haridas met Narain in real and reel life on the same day in February, 2005. At that time, she was working as an online producer in a private television channel. “Narain had come to the studio in Kochi to do an interview for 'Achuvinthe Amma',” says Manju, who also saw the promotional rushes from the film. “We met, but there were no fireworks. It was a professional interaction.”

But thanks to a mutual friend, they began seeing each other and discovered that they had a lot of things to talk about, be it work or friends. “Looking back, it seemed that we were destined to be together,” she says.

A few months later, Narain officially proposed. It was a time when Manju's parents were looking out for a suitable boy, and that was the case with Narain's also. “So we told them about our intention to marry and they agreed,” says Manju.

But Manju's parents – her father is a retired professor of history at Malabar Christian College, while her mother is a former principal of Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College in Kozhikode – insisted she complete her studies. So Manju went ahead and did her masters in mass communication and journalism from Calicut University. “I also felt it was important to complete my education before marriage,” she says. “After tying the knot, it would be difficult to find the time.”

Once, during this period, Manju had gone to Chennai for some official work and met up with Narain. They went to the Lifestyle Mall. She saw a beautiful crystal curio in a store. “It was so beautiful that I was tempted to touch it,” she says. Anyway, the inevitable happened and it slipped from her hands, fell to the floor, and splintered into a thousand pieces. “I was in tears and wanted to run away, since no one had noticed what had happened,” says Manju. “But Narain held my hand, and said, ‘We have to take responsibility and pay for the damage. Otherwise, the sales people will suffer.’”

This was a time when Narain was not yet on a strong financial footing, and the curio was prohibitively expensive. “Anyway, we told the sales people that we had broken it,” says Manju. The couple waited an hour, but the shop employees finally concluded that it was their fault. The crystal was not placed properly and hence there was no need to pay. A relieved Manju and Narain left the mall.

“I felt so proud of Narain and realised he is a nice guy,” she says. “It is only in critical situations that you really understand a person’s character. I knew I had made the right choice in selecting Narain as my husband.”

The wedding took place in Kozhikode on August 26, 2007. And what strikes Manju about Narain are his patience, determination, and ambition. “Narain is a balanced person who only gets angry when there are problems at work. Otherwise, it is very difficult to provoke him into a fight.” But she gets upset over a small matter. “In his heart, Narain still believes that he is a bachelor and lets his things lie all over the place. On the other hand, I like to keep my house spotlessly clean,” says Manju.

Meanwhile, unlike many wives of actors, she enjoys basking in the spotlight caused by Narain's success. Even in Chennai, where they stay, he is well known because he acts in many Tamil films.

“One plus point is that our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Tanmaya, receives a lot of love and affection from people,” she says. “I don’t think the spotlight is an invasion. My husband has chosen this public career. So, we have to accept the good and the bad. And the best part is that well-wishers tell Narain that they are praying for his continued success. Isn't that a wonderful boon?”

Asked whether she feels nervous because Narain is always around beautiful women, Manju says, “Narain has got used to it. They are a part of his life. I don't feel insecure at all, because I believe in love.”

(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)


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