Jolly talks about life with jewellery business magnate Joy Alukkas
By Shevlin Sebastian
Jolly saw Joy Alukkas during an arranged marriage meeting at her home in Koratty in July, 1984. “I liked him from the beginning,” she says. “He was handsome.” Joy was wearing a brown shirt and a white mundu. They spoke little since there were relatives all around. But they both liked each other.
The marriage took place at the St. Joseph’s church at Kuriachira on September 16, 1984. For their honeymoon, the couple went to the then not-so-well-known resort of Ponmudi. “It was beautiful and I saw fog for the first time,” says Jolly. “I enjoyed the cold. In those days, people would go to Ooty or Kodaikanal and that was why we decided to go to Ponmudi.”
Thereafter, the couple went on many travels all over the world. In fact, Jolly’s most exciting moment was when she went to New York in 1989. “I could not imagine that one day I will be able to see this big city with its tall buildings,” she says. “Till then, I had only seen Abu Dhabi and thought it was a big city, but it looked small as compared to New York.”
The couple also went to the Niagara Falls and later took a 45-minute flight on a small four-seater plane to see the Grand Canyon from top. “It was such a magnificent spectacle,” she says. “But when I tried to look down, Joy told me to sit still. He was very nervous and told me, 'I am not sure this flight will land safely.' Even today, I tease him about how tense he was.”
When Joy is at home, in Thrissur, he gets up at 5.45 a.m. Thereafter, he will have a glass of warm water. Then the couple will go for a morning walk, which lasts for 45 minutes. Following their return, their physical trainer, Justin, supervises the freehand exercises which they do for 20 minutes. After that, Joy has a cup of tea and, later, a bowl of fruits. He also reads the newspapers, has his bath, and gets ready. He leaves for office at 10.30 a.m.
In the evening, he returns at 6, 8 or 10 p.m. “Nothing is fixed, because he is so busy,” says Jolly. When Joy comes home, there is a family prayer, which lasts for half an hour. Now, only their youngest child, their 18-year-old daughter, Elsa, lives with them.
The couple has two more children: John Paul, 27, who lives in Dubai, with his wife, Sonia, and is looking after his father's jewellery business in many countries of the Middle East, and Mary, 25, who is married to Anthony, lives in Dubai, and is learning the ropes of the money exchange business.
“As the chairman, he is very firm in the office,” says Jolly. “But at home, he is very relaxed with them. When they were growing up, he was friendly and easy-going. I was the strict parent.”
When asked about his other qualities, Jolly says, “Joy is very direct. I like that about him. Once he promises to do something, he will do it. His word has a lot of value. He is also a humorous person and cracks jokes all the time. His great quality is that he can tell something funny with a straight face. As a result, I end up laughing a lot.”
But Joy can have a hot temper and is a perfectionist. Recently, at their home, a worker tried to put a nail between the tiles in the bathroom. As a result, several tiles broke. “He got upset about it,” says Jolly. “In places like Dubai, they have special equipment to do this.”
The one negative for Jolly is that, like most successful businessmen, Joy is on the mobile phone a lot. “I always worry about the radiation,” she says. “I tell him he should use the land-line more.”
On days when Joy comes home looking tense, Jolly will immediately ask him about what is troubling him. “But, generally, he does not show much stress,” she says. “He keeps it inside him. I try to look bright and positive. Joy says that his best stress-reliever is when he has a bath and the water falls on his head and body.”
Not surprisingly, the biggest advantage of being the wife of a man, who has a large jewellery business, is that Jolly has access to all the best diamond and gold jewellery. “In the early days, Joy used to give me a lot of jewellery,” says Jolly. “Now, because of his busy schedule, he asks me to go to the shop and select what I want. All women like gold and diamonds, but they like the gift of love the most.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)