LOVED & MARRIED TOO : the comfort factor

It is not often these days that a college romance fructifies into a wedlock. Corporate Citizen unlocks the story of love that has culminated into marriage, for we believe in the stability of a relationship and family unit. We bring to you real-life romances that got sealed in marriage

Married for over 17 years, corporate couple Nishant (42) and Chanchala (41) Baranwal are firm believers in the strength of simplicity to keep their relationship and careers working

Marriage works if you want it to. A single line that sums up the multiple facets of a marriage in as fuss-free a manner as possible. Also, a single line that hints at the Baranwals’ story: simple, dignified and fuss-free. From their first job together, to the early demands of married life to kids-career sabbaticals, adjustment, career rises and more.

Software professionals by training, both came to Pune from Jamshedpur and Ghaziabad respectively to pursue their engineering. She, an alumni of Cummins, he from DY Patil, Pimpri.

It was in their first job together in 1997, at Kanbay Software (now Capgemini), Talawade that they first met. Before long, they both discovered they got along very well. “Our wavelengths matched; she was rather easy to talk to,” reminisces Nishant. “She was good-looking, driven, cheerful and intelligent.”

For her part, Chanchala liked him for his sheer niceness. “He wasn’t a man who was trying to prove a point, a far cry from your archetypal chauvinist,” she says. “There was something rather nice about him; he wasn’t in-your-face aggressive, but someone rather more understated.”

They began to hang out together— meals in the canteen, discussing career goals, long drives and such. “We gelled so well that it was a very quick and logical progression from friendship to romance,” grins Nishant. A few months later, they decided to get married.

“Honestly, there wasn’t any dramatic proposal or any such thing,” says Chanchala. “I think we were chilling out one day when we casually discussed marriage, and decided to!

Easier said than done though. Nishant’s from the Baniya community, while Chanchala is a Bhumihar Brahmin from Bihar. “Both sets of people are known to be clannish,” she says. “I had relatives demanding to know why I was taking such a step, when there were perfectly good alliances to be made within my own community.

Mom wasn’t happy either, but luckily, all through I had my dad’s unwavering support,” she says. “All through the process of getting both sets of parents to approve, I made sure not to leave Pune at any point. Someone wanted to lecture me? Great, they could come here,” she grins.

Nishant’s parents, fortunately were more open to a bahu from another background--just so long as both were happy. However, as things went, Nishant’s dad was very unwell—and the wedding had to be postponed. Even so, he did not get better.

“But the second time around, his family insisted we go through with a small ceremony in Pune, even if his parents couldn’t attend,” says Chanchala. Nishant’s dad passed away less than a month later.



Given that he was the elder son of the house, it was natural that Nishant’s mother and two siblings would come to stay with them. “There were adjustments to be made, and despite a few hiccups, everything fell into place. His mother found it easier to have their elder son on hand, especially since his younger brother was only in Standard X. As for me, when I had my elder son Neil (now 14), I had a solid support system in the form of my mom and sister-in-law,” says Chanchala. After a few years of managing both a baby and career, Chanchala decided to take a sabbatical. “Nishant was going to South Africa on posting, and I decided to go along. In the coming year, daughter Cherise (nine) followed. I now had two kids and we had the perfect family. But soon I realised, I needed to work in order to be content with life.”

However, software development is a taxing line of work— almost like being in the thick of the battle field---and after some deliberation, Chanchala decided to make the switch to technical writing — which was a more relaxed arena. “I enjoyed this line of work; it kept me happy and absorbed, at the same time allowed me to work nine to fivex and pay attention to the home front as well.” “It helped that unlike many other technical writers, I understood the nuts and bolts of the product and service on hand. On the whole, the experience was rewarding.”


As of today, Nishant is vice president, Nihilent Technologies, while Chanchala has once again taken a second sabbatical from her work. (A tough call, considering she was General Manager, apart from being one of the founding members at Tritek Consultancy, a software development and services firm.) “But things are rather demanding on the home front right now; the kids’ schedules are more demanding, plus Nishant’s schedule is quite tough lately. So I thought it would be better to be at home a bit.”

“The call to work or not—has always been hers,” says Nishant. “I realise she’s accomplished, educated and has dreams of her own--and I have always backed her decisions. In fact, from the outset, we were clear that it would never be a case of my aspirations versus hers.”

At the same time, says Chan-chala, life is a careful balancing act. “The field that we are in, software, always gives us that choice. It’s up to you what your priorities are. Truth be told, the corporate world is stressful. It sure helps if you are in sync with both your career needs— as well as the requirements of the family,” she says.


“I would say understanding is key to everything,” says Nishant. “In our case, we both are from similar academic and professional backgrounds. It works in our favour that we get the demands of the line. Of course, trust and care are basic to the relationship too. A husband and wife are meant to complement and supplement each other in every way possible. She’s pragmatic, while I am more emotional. However, I am more analytical while she’s more creative”. Chanchala loves the fact that he is ‘caring and dependable, the sort of person who is very passionate about giving his all, at home and at work. In fact, when he’s around, he takes care of everyone and everything so well, that it’s hard when he’s away.’ Though fights and arguments are part of relationship, it does not do for both partners to lose it at the same time. “If one person is angry, it is a good idea to give them their space — even back off if required,” says Chanchala. “Happily, neither of us is particularly short-tempered, and we believe in talking our way through every situation.” While Nishant is away a lot, the family makes it a point to take long vacations together. “Driving down to Goa, or exploring a wild life sanctuary far away from mobiles and internet, now that’s our dream holiday,” she laughs. On the other hand, Nishant loves to bring in a quality moment or two — by fixing them both a drink at the end of the day, or taking off on a long drive, “just us together.”

The mantras of a marriage

  • “Give some, gain some” —that’s how it works in both marriage and life. Hold on to your cool.
  • A husband and wife are a team — not the competition.
  • Trust, space, respect and understanding are the four pillars of your relationship.
  • Respect your partner’s dreams.
  • And last but not the least, the wife is always right and the husband left.

Parenting is another aspect they are united on. “We are both clear that disciplining kids is not about hammering them down. Also, if one parent is being strict at that time, the other ought to be the more lenient and approachable one,” says Nishant. “On the whole, she’s the stricter one, plus the kids are a bit closer to her.”

The journey has been a joyful and fulfilling one. “At no point of time, no matter what, did we think of giving up on each other, or the life we had built together. Also, unlike youngsters in their 20s today, we were more open to life’s little surprises, and reacted more spontaneously,” rounds off Chanchala.

By Kalyani Sardesai