Pioneer generation couples: Compromise their binding secret

Mr Mahn Singh Bajaj and Madam Suhinder Kaur, who have been married for 67 years, are still shy about their initial impressions of each other. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Mr Mahn Singh Bajaj and Madam Suhinder Kaur, who have been married for 67 years, are still shy about their initial impressions of each other. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The first time Mr Mahn Singh Bajaj set eyes on his wife was on a train ride from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur 67 years ago.

Theirs had been an arranged marriage, and Madam Suhinder Kaur, 85, lived in Thailand with her family at the time.

Mr Mahn, now 87, had to take a train and two ferries from the Malaysian capital to fetch his bride home.

And the blushing 18-year-old bride remained veiled until they were on the train.

A lifetime after that first meeting, the couple are still shy about their initial impressions of each other. When pressed, both said they felt "okay" when they laid eyes on each other that first time.

Their feelings have since deepened.

"If I had to marry someone again, I would still choose to marry my wife," said Mr Mahn, who runs an import and export business.

Asked how they felt about renewing their vows yesterday, they exchanged glances coyly before Madam Suhinder Kaur said: "It was exciting. It was our first time doing this."

They have six children aged between 50 and 65, and 18 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

And the secret to their lasting relationship, said Mr Mahn, was being willing to compromise, even in small matters.

Cheryl Faith Wee