Doctors Hari Prasad and Suma Kantipudi, who have been married for 30 years, might have a very busy schedule but they make sure that breakfast and dinner are family time. Hari is the CEO, central region of Apollo Hospitals while Suma is an IVF and infertility specialist with her own facilities.
The couple understands the long hours and the stress of medical practice. They feel sharing professional and family life, and overcoming challenges together, can strengthen the marriage.
“We try and simplify the concept of marriage. We believe that two individuals who have grown up in different environments come together with marriage and create a new environment. The process of creating this environment is critical and major differences occur in this phase for couples who have a difficult relationship,” says Hari.
It all started at Gandhi Medical College, 30 years ago. Hari says, “We were friends. We met during college and were classmates. It was that time when I was attracted towards Suma — because of her attitude.” “All of my friends knew about it. So it came to her as no surprise when I proposed.”
Was there any kind of restrictions when they broke the news to their parents. “No,” says Hari, adding, “I always knew that she was the one all along. And she knew it too. We conveyed that to our parents and they agreed.”
Keeping the spark alive
But after 30 years of marriage, how do they keep the spark alive? Suma emphasises on regular surprises. “Just a few things like regular surprises in terms of gifts, celebrating each other’s milestones and most importantly the children.”
Recently, for her 50th birthday, he gifted her a palatial bungalow. “I was in the process of buying a house for some time but my son pushed hard and made sure it was ready for my wife’s 50th birthday. It was great fun celebrating her birthday in the new house,” says Hari.
In any field, couples enjoy having a companion who shares their perspective and passion, it’s the same with them too. As doctors, their lives are so incredibly busy, so how do they manage their time together?
“Now that the children are settled, we have started focusing more on our work. I travel quite a bit but when I am in Hyderabad we make sure breakfast and dinner time is family time,” says Dr Hari.
“As a principle we do not discuss work at home. But when you’re with someone who shares the same set of values, we are comfortable. We can do things we want,” he adds.
What do they do after having an argument? She says, “We never hold grudges. When one gets aggressive the other remains controlled and sober till the heat comes down and then it is back to normal.”
The couple, who has two kids — Swathi and Ramana — says the best thing about being married is togetherness, sense of belonging and knowing that someone loves you irrespective of what you are.
Everyone wants to know their “secret” to a lasting, loving marriage. He says, “It’s a lifelong thing. Be patient and respect each other. It’s natural. An understanding, one needs space as an individual apart from being together as a couple and arriving at a consensus when common issues are involved. It is always easy to separate but difficult to live together.”