We asked Manoj Jain and his wife, Shikha, some leading questions to try and understand their equation.
What’s the one thing you do as a couple every day without fail?
Shikha: Manoj has crazy travel schedules and is always on the move. Each day, the meals vary depending on his travels. But breakfast is one thing we always have together before we both start our day – him at office and me at school.
Manoj: Breakfast is nearly always the same, egg white omelette, two slices of toast and a glass of cold coffee. Shikha tries to vary it by making interesting changes to the eggs. We discuss our day’s schedule. My mom has breakfast at the same time, so it’s our family meal at the start of the day and precious for me.
When you fight, who takes the first step towards reconciliation, and how?
S: It’s always Manoj. I seem to be at a loss for words, at least the correct ones.
He seems to know how to say the right things to end the fight and I love him for that.
M: It bothers me that Shikha’s response to an argument would be to clam up and remain silent. I would rather close the matter and move on (to the next fight J). I believe that a couple should close all arguments before going to bed, but that seldom happens in most cases. When I was younger, I would get angry and upset, but now I think I am much calmer. Shikha is very sensitive.
What’s the one thing about your partner that keeps you in love with them?
S: Manoj is the most caring person I have met. Whether it’s his family or his friends, he always does things for everyone which makes them feel special and loved. He’s always there to lend an ear or a helping hand to anyone. This is one of the many things that keeps me in love with him.
M: There are too many things that I love about Shikha, some skin deep, some emotional, such as she is the mother of our children, gratitude for the care she takes of me. I love her for her organised and capable nature; she is intelligent and can silently manage a lot, including me.
She gives me the space and freedom that a free spirit like me desires. She never nags.
What is one annoying or irritating thing about your partner and how do you deal with it?
S: Those Marlboro Light cigarettes! I wish he would stop smoking. He knows I don’t like it and I know he can quit. He just has to make up his mind and he’ll do it.
M: Shikha does not reach out to others, she is an introvert and a reclusive person (but does not hold me back). It saddens me to see her not give of herself, consequently she does not get the full extent of love and friendship that makes life so much fun.
What’s one quality in your partner that fills a gap in you?
S: Manoj is a people person. Very social and enjoys going out with friends and family. He loves everyone and accepts them for what they are. I’m an introvert and reserved. So I guess he balances me.
M: I like to put myself in many situations. I sometimes do not know my limits and can cross lines. Shikha balances me in a way that I sail through it all. I also try my hand at many things: Shikha always supports me and goes along with all the crazy plans, and is usually the backbone for all the effort the plans take.
How do you like to be pampered by the other?
S: A relaxed holiday – just both of us. Long walks, spas, siestas, good food… that’s pampering.
M: I feel pampered all the time by family, friends and even strangers. I think anything anyone does or says makes me feel pampered. A simple sentence, a touch of the hand, a kiss on the check, a hug, a dish made for me specifically, time given to me are the biggest indications of pampering for me.
One thing you like doing that they don’t get at all, no matter how much you explain it.
Related reading: How our differences make our marriage a success
S: Indian Music – I don’t think he likes it too much but I listen to my favourites or attend programs without him and he’s ok with that.
M: Meeting people, talking to strangers, visiting art shows are some of those things. For instance, I visit the Delhi Art Fair on my own, as Shikha would not like to travel for a day only for art’s sake.