Blend of Enthusiasm and Dignity ~ Tamilian Couple Surya Parameshwar Natarajan

by on August 5, 2011

As we interviewed them, we were struck by how her friendly enthusiasm is perfectly balanced with his quiet dignified warmth – a perfect blend of ENTHUSIASM AND DIGNITY. She enjoys experimenting with cooking, crafts and mural making while he surfs the net & watches cricket on television. He has been an Industrial Radiologist and she a school teacher. Having lived in Mumbai, Kuwait & Saudi Arabia, they currently reside in Chennai.


Enthusiasm and dignity - Surya-Parameshwar Natarajan

J&P: We have heard from Shobha (their daughter who heads Karadi tales) about your love story beginning in a train. Tell us!

She: Oh yes…like in movies (laughs). It was 1957, I had just finished high school & was travelling by train along with my father from Chennai to Bangalore. He (Natarajan) was travelling by the same train without a seat. My dad offered to share his seat and in the course of conversation, invited him home. He would visit us once in a while since he had no friends or family in Bangalore.


He: I was in search of a job & wanted to settle down before thinking of marriage. Subsequently, my uncle got me a job in Bahrain. But despite the distance, I kept in touch with her dad & her.


J&P: So when you announced your decision to get married, how did the family react?

He: Her family had no objection, but my family objected because they wanted me to marry a girl of their choice.


Interview with Elders

J&P: Did you rebel?

She: No, never, we never rebelled. My parents were happy when I announced the choice.


He: Rebellion was not even an option for either of us. We were just hoping to convince the elders. I wrote a letter, a free and frank letter to my Uncle. He in turn wrote to my father & convinced him.


She: No horoscope matching, no dowry…all in all, a simple marriage. We spent approx Rs. 2000 on the marriage way back in 1960 – can you believe that!


J&P: Over years…the traits you admire in each other?

She: He is not impulsive & thinks before he acts. He has never spent unnecessarily which is truly admirable.


He: I admire the great care she takes of me. And one more thing – we have never heard raised voices of each other.


J&P: One change you would like to see in each other.

She: He could have spent more time with the children and not had such a hectic work schedule.


He: I can’t really think of anything to change. I think when there is no greed, problems do not come up.


J&P: Mrs Surya, your daughter says that you never fail to surprise her with the variety of dishes in your kitchen. Is food really a way to the heart?

She: To some extent (laughs). If that was true, then eating out should have been the best option. In a restaurant, you can get whatever varieties you desire, but can it win your heart? You can win another’s heart by your behaviour patterns & by being respectful, otherwise you can’t win anyone’s heart.

Wisdom Of Elders


J&P: Your favourite home style foods.

She: I learnt basic cooking from my mother-in-law, but also learnt new dishes wherever I went and enjoyed that.
He: Though she learnt from my mother, she added her own ideas & innovations.


He: Her Orange Tholi Pachchadi is delicious, and so is her Akki Roti. Wherever we went, she became popular because she was a good hostess and entertained plenty of parties.


J&P: A tip for youngsters – about love, marriage & commitment, and home food.

She: I believe in a give & take policy. Do not fight for every petty thing & respect your elders. Eat more at home & be healthy since homely food has one special ingredient called love.


He: I will go one step further – these days children are smarter and do things better than us. I am willing to learn from them (I am learning computer skills from my nephew), but I expect them to show respect for elders & tolerance towards friends.


First published in Aug 2011 in Harmony – Celebrate Age Magazine for the column – Soul Food and Soul Mates. Part-2 of this post are recipes from the kitchen of Surya & Parameshwar Natarajan – the 2nd couple featured in this column: Orange Tholi Pachchadi and Pahakkai Podi – Healthy Bittergourd Powder.
Photo Courtesy: Bhargavii Mani


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