The Unbelievable Love Story Of Maniza And Iqbal Jumabhoy
In a six-part feature to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Singapore Tatler Weddings, couples share how they celebrate significant milestones in their relationship and what they celebrate most this anniversary. Part 5: Maniza and Iqbal Jumabhoy.
When two people are meant to be together, not even distance can set them apart. In the case of Iqbal and Maniza Jumabhoy, the 12,667 kilometers between Boston, where Iqbal lived at the time, and Maniza’s hometown of Hyderabad was but a small obstacle to their meeting, and eventual relationship. Today, Iqbal, CEO of SilverNeedle Hospitality Group, and Maniza, owner of theatre company Limelight Arts, have two children and are celebrating their 33rd year of marriage.
How did you meet?
Maniza Jumabhoy We met by default. We had no dates as such, as I lived in a very conservative Hyderabad and Iqbal in Boston. But we had long conversations on the phone and exchanged lots and lots of letters.
Iqbal Jumabhoy We met by chance when I travelled to her home city. Our mothers knew each other and, I think, planned our meeting. I am sure that she was not drawn to me because she totally ignored me initially! I was intrigued by this and pursued her more, to try to figure out why I was so uninteresting. Along the way, something happened, I guess. One day, I might figure out why she said yes, but that has not happened yet!
What does a wedding anniversary mean to you?
MJ A wedding anniversary is special because you celebrate the years you have been together—especially important in this day and age when divorce is so common.
IJ The day itself means little beyond a mark in the calendar. What is more meaningful is that we spend some “us” time together on that day, which reminds us of why we decided to get married in the first place.
What comes to mind every time your anniversary rolls around?
MJ To me, it is a reflection of a commitment of vows that one made, for better or worse, and through thick and thin.
IJ Lots of thoughts about the years that have gone by, the many happy occasions, time together, and the ups and downs of life. It’s even better if we are fortunate enough to have our children with us on our anniversary.
How do you mark the special day?
MJ We used to celebrate our anniversary as in the Hallmark pages: with champagne roses and candlelight dinners. Now, we like to have meals at special restaurants with our family and friends.
IJ We have no set piece. We were married on 26 December. At one point, we would spend the year-end in Hyderabad, so anniversaries were with Maniza’s family around us, lots of parties and perhaps a quiet dinner on the day itself. More recently, celebrations have been in different places: Singapore last year, Thailand one year, and Sri Lanka in another. Once, we went to the Ice Hotel in Sweden. We used to plan the celebrations together, but these days, the children plan for us. It is always low key, as we prefer that, with a special dinner. Gifts are spontaneous. Maniza has an eye for “special” items, usually with some historical significance, and quite rare and valuable so I always treasure what she selects for me.
How do you intend to celebrate this year?
MJ I want to celebrate by doing the things I can still do. I want to go on an adventure!
IJ I have asked Maniza to select any place that she likes. I have given her some suggestions. Let’s see what she chooses.
What’s the greatest gift you’ve received from your spouse?
MJ His love, and understanding and unquestioning trust.
IJ Our children.