Siva Kanapathy, 65 and Selvarany Appuduray, 61
Married 32 years
ON April 11th every year, Siva Kanapathy puts on the recording of his wedding ceremony 32 years ago and watches it with his wife, his children or sometimes just on his own. It’s a ritual he hasn’t missed. He even made sure he converted the recording from its original video tape format into a compact disc to preserve it.
“Why do I watch it? I don’t know ... I just like to go over it for the fun of it,” he trails off, a little bashful.
In the process, Siva and his wife Selvarany will go over details of that meaningful day and exchange insights on what was going through each of their minds during the ceremony. They are still discovering new things about each other – like how Siva never really liked the wedding saree his bride had on!
Siva and Rany met in 1983.
“It began as a proposal. My father was looking for a match for me and a mutual family friend spoke of Siva. So he came to see my at home with his mother, sister and his friend. Basically, he came to check me out. Even though it started out that way, Siva was adamant right from the start that we should go out and get to know each other before we made any decision,” relates Rani.
The meeting went well... at least for Siva who was pretty sure she was the one for him. “It clicked,” he says, simply. But Rany was more wary of the idea of an arranged marriage and took a couple of months to decide if she wanted to pursue a relationship with him.
“I was studying at the time, doing my Diploma in TESL ( Teaching English as a Second Language) and I didn’t want to give that up. I wasn’t sure if he would support me or stop me from furthering my studies. So right from the start I told him that was one of my criteria and he agreed without any hesitation,”hesitation, she says, her voice softening a little as she recalls the past.
Even so, Rany wasn’t fully convinced.
Her friends who’d met him and their mutual friends were all gunning for the two to get together but Rany remained on the fence.
“Everyone kept saying what a nice man he is, how we were right for each other ... no one had anything bad to say about him. I was sceptical but once we started going out, I could see that he really was a nice man. He is a true gentleman,” she says, placing her hand on his arm, adding that the rest is history.
“It clicked for me too,” she says, with a giggle,
The following April, the two got married.
The early years of marriage was challenging for the young couple who had their two daughters in close succession soon after they married. Rany continued to pursue her studies and Siva dutifully worked doubly hard to support his growing family.
“She was studying and was only getting half her teacher’s salary. To compensate, I took another job at night, managing a car wash in the heart of KL. During the day, I was a loss adjuster and after my day job, I’d go to the car wash at 6pm until midnight or sometimes even later, seven days a week. At the time, I was also pursuing my degree in law. But I couldn’t cope and gave that up. I have no regrets. I’m still working and very happy,” shares Siva.
Siva’s support, says Rany, is something that has never waned.
“At the time, he really supported my desire to study. This is something I don’t think I can ever forget. It was tough but he was with me all the way. Not only did he support me and the family financially, he also helped to type out my assignments at night as I didn’t type very well. We’d stay up late into the night together ... he would always be there for me,” says Rany.
The key to their lasting marriage, they both agree, lies largely in their willingness to support each other through adversities.
“There is a lot of give and take. I give, she takes,” says Siva, clearly teasing his wife. As if on cue, she gets a little riled up and responds.
“No. That’s not true. I give too,” she argues. “We help each other out whenever we can. He is very helpful in some ways, very particular about keeping the kitchen clean, for example. Before we go to bed, he will always make sure he cleans the kitchen. And so, we leave it to him. We may wash our plates but we leave most of the cleaning to him,” she says, breaking out in cheeky laughter as he looks at her knowingly.
A sense of humour, the ability to laugh at each other and shared values and priorities have strengthened their marriage. Siva and Rany value their families greatly and put the needs of their children ahead of their own.
“Family is important to both of us. When my mother, father and grandmother were ill ... not all at once, of course, they came to stay with us and we’d look after them. It’s the same with the children ... there was no delineation of duties, we shared the responsibilities willingly,” says Rany who has been caring for her mother- in- law who is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“We depend on each other a lot. And no doubt about it, she has contributed a lot financially, too. She’s recently written a text book that’s being used in schools nationwide!” he says with an unmistakable ring of admiration and pride in his voice, putting his arm around her.
Siva and Rany have supported each other through thick and thin. — IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/ The Star
A sense of humour and shared values and priorities have strengthened this couple’s marriage. IZZRAFIQ ALIAS/ The Star —