Alka Yagnik has been living separately from her husband for the past 25 years
"I've lived almost my entire married life alone, and so has he," says singer Alka Yagnik as she reveals why the couple decided to stay apart.
At the tender age of 10, Alka Yagnik was discovered by the legendary actor-director Raj Kapoor. He was so impressed with her talent that he immediately recommended her to the famous music director duo, Lakshmikant-Pyarelal.
Since she was too young to be a playback singer, they gave her two options- she could either become a dubbing artist or wait for a few years and become a playback singer. Alka chose the later and there was been no looking back.
Over the years as Yagnik's career flourished, she got busier with barely any time for personal life. However, in 1986 she met Shillong-based businessman Neeraj Kapoor by chance and sparks flew.
The two kept in touch and after dating for some time decided to tie the knot in 1989. However, Alka Yagnik had only one condition.
Since her worked was based in Mumbai, she wanted to stay there while Kapoor could work on his business in Shillong. So the couple decided to stay apart and have been living separately (yet together) for over 25 years.
Luckily for them, their daughter Syesha was born the same year and has been with her mum in Mumbai ever since. Their long-distance marriage has been difficult but not one that the couple is ready to give up on.
"I've lived almost my entire married life alone, and so has he. My husband visits me and my daughter in Mumbai. And I often visit his family home in Delhi. But I guess the secret of our togetherness is that we're not together all the time, what with everyone's tolerance level being what it is," Yagnik told a website about her unconventional marriage.
For several years, people even speculated that the couple had parted ways. But Yagnik says she has been hearing such rumours for a long time and they don't bother her.
"I've been hearing these rumours for years. They don't make a difference to me. As long as my husband and I know what we mean to each other, people's opinions cannot influence our relationship... We've had an unconventional long-distance marriage for years. People can keep speculating," shared the singer who has been living as a single mum.
But her daughter is not perturbed by the arrangement. She is well settled and recently completed her MBA from London school of Marketing. Incidentally, she is not the co-owner of a restaurant along with two of her close pals.
It seems that Yagnik and Kapoor have found a way to balance work-life. And let's be honest, most working parents have to device ways to do the same. And if you're one of them and struggling with it, here's how you can do it too.
We spoke to Delhi-based psychologist Anuja Kapur who shared a few ways to work around such arrangements.
- Talk openly with your children: Let them know you still care about them and that they're not being replaced or forgotten. Invite them to express their thoughts and emotions, and be open to making changes in how you handle the transition.
- Empathise and sympathise with their feelings: Regardless of your children's ages, an unconventional marriage or long-distance marriage evokes strong feelings that they may not understand or be able to communicate. Children see it as a loss — often at the end of a string of losses. Validate your children's feelings by listening to and acknowledging their concerns and take time out so both sets of parents can be together at once.
- Allow children to take time to adjust: While children may eventually embrace the workings of along-distance marriage, few do so at first. Be sensitive to this need for time to adjust. Do not force children to accept the situation. You can, however, expect them to be courteous and respectful.