cute -- J.
Enjoying sixty years of marital bliss
"True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart." Honoré de Balzac, French novelist and playwright.
Former magistrate Nazrudeen "Naz" Khan and his wife Doris may have never read the above quote but have certainly lived it, keeping romance alive in their marriage for 60 years.
When the Sunday Express visited the couple last week at their Champs Fleurs home their living room home was decorated with a number of pictures, narrating the tale of their long life together.
Though 85, Doris is quite active and exuberant, pointing out that she drives herself around. Her husband is less mobile, and notes that he is two years younger than his wife.
"She steal me from my mother's house," he joked.
The couple first met either in 1943 or 1944, on a train from San Fernando. Doris was an 18 year-old nurse and Naz was a 16 year-old civil servant.
They were both travelling with relatives heading from San Fernando, Naz's hometown, to Arima for a wedding.
"As soon as I saw her I fell in love with her," he said.
Though it was more than 60 years ago he still remembers what she wore that special day, "a nice silky lemon dress".
Doris said her first impression of her future husband, who interjected that she was "flabbergasted", was proverbial love at first sight.
The couple soon began dating and Doris recalled that Naz would visit her at the General Hospital where she worked and at her home in Fyzabad. She was not allowed to go out very often, but they went to the "pictures" a few times at the old New Theatre in San Fernando.
Doris noted that her father had received many marriage requests for her from potential suitors "but I really loved Naz". And though her father also liked him he felt he was taking too long to "write" for her.
Naz explained that back then you had to write to the parents asking permission to marry their daughter. After four years of courting, and concerns that Doris might leave him, Naz wrote for her hand in marriage. They were married on December 30, 1947.
Naz then left for London to qualify for the bar and become a lawyer. He recalled that because of the trip he saw "white woman" for the first time.
"I tell her better come quick, you might lose me," he quipped.
Doris spent 21 days on a ship to join her husband in London.
In 1950, Naz returned to practice law in Trinidad. He recalled that it was Doris who encouraged him to become a magistrate.
Doris noted that one of the perks of having a magistrate as a husband was getting six months vacation every three to four years, which they used to travel all over Europe.
Naz served as a magistrate from 1955 to 1995 when he retired.
Even as they enjoy the blessings of a happy marriage, the couple's life has not been without sadness. Their three children have died, two in adulthood and one a babe in arms, and the couple has no grandchildren. They were difficult losses to bear leading Doris to take up yoga to help her deal with pain.
The couple are both practicing Muslims. Naz spends most of his time at home while Doris has busied herself working with several organisations including the National Muslim Women's Organisation, Indian Women's Group and the Trinidad Muslim League Ladies' Association.
The couple celebrated their 60th anniversary last December. Doris said that her husband never forgets birthdays or anniversaries, and always does special things to surprise her.
The couple advised other couples who want a long lasting marriage to practice love, forgiveness and to compliment each other in small ways. Naz said that though he and Doris do fight now and again and have plenty of disagreements, love and understanding were the most important things to their relationship.
"I am sure we are soulmates," he added.