On May 25, 2007, Smitha Dev was in Dubai spending time with music composer Deepak Dev’s parents. It was her fifth wedding anniversary. But Deepak was away in Chennai for work. That night, the family, along with Deepak’s brother, Dixit, went to the Ibn Batuta Mall to do some shopping. At 10.30 pm which is midnight in India, Smitha called Deepak to wish him on the anniversary, but the phone remained out of range.
Worried that something had happened, she called Deepak’s friend, who replied that the composer must be busy. Earlier in the afternoon, Deepak had called and said that he would be having a lyrics-writing session going on late into the night. “Deepak told me that he was not sure whether he would be able to take my calls at night,” says Smitha. Soon, there was a call on Dixit’s mobile from a neighbour saying that some friends had come to wish Smitha. So the family went back home. At the entrance to the house, there was Deepak standing with a huge bunch of roses. “Happy anniversary,” he said, with a big grin, and the couple hugged each other. And Smitha was overwhelmed with happiness.
“Deepak has always given me surprises throughout our marriage,” she says. Some of the surprises can be tragic-comic. On September, 10, 2008, which is Smitha’s birthday, she got dengue fever in Chennai. “I thought it was a viral fever,” she says. “The children were at home and both our parents were not there. So, I took some antibiotics. But, by the fourth day it became severe.”
Deepak rushed Smitha to the Surya hospital. The nurse was trying to put a drip, but because Smitha was so weak, she could not find a vein in either of her arms to put the needle. Suddenly, blood started oozing out from one of the veins.
“When Deepak saw this, he was shocked and he fainted,” says Smitha. “I had to ask the attender to take the mobile phone from the pocket.” She called one of their mutual friends, who lived nearby, to come and help. Meanwhile, the doctor of the casualty section said, with a grin, “He loves you so much. You are the patient, but the one who fainted is your husband.”
For Smitha, this is one aspect of Deepak’s character that she finds endearing. “He can’t bear to see me in any sort of pain,” she says. “Deepak is always loving and caring.” He dotes on his two daughters, Devika, 9, and Pallavi, 6. “I know that all fathers do the same thing, though he spends very little time with the children,” she says. Deepak prefers to work at night. He comes home at 3 am, and sleeps late into the morning. “So when our daughters get up to go to school, he will be sleeping,” says Smitha. “When he returns, they will be sleeping. That is why they don’t see each other.” But after three days like this, Deepak begins missing the girls. “He will then make it a point to come home when they return from school,” says Smitha. This is easy since the studio is nearby. He spends a lot of time with them on Saturdays and Sundays. “When we are together, my children never listen to me,” says Smitha, with a laugh. “They go to a dad who always says yes.”
Smitha also likes to spend a lot of time with Deepak. They met on July 23, 1995, at a recording studio in Kochi. Smitha had accompanied her mother, Renuka Girijan, a singer, for a recording. Deepak was working there as a keyboard player. He had just come from Dubai, where he grew up, to do his BCom at Sacred Heart College, Thevara. At that time, Smitha was doing her second-year pre-degree in English literature at St Teresa’s College. “We spoke to each other, but it was not love at first sight,” she says. However, by the end of the day, they had exchanged telephone numbers.
“We began speaking on the phone,” says Smitha. “Soon, we became friends. Later, it developed into a love affair.” They would go out and spend time in restaurants and ice cream parlours. “The first thing I told Deepak when things got serious was that I did not want to have a ‘timepass love affair’,” says Smitha. “Because, in Kerala, in the 1990s, if a girl went around with a boy, you tend to get a bad name. So, I asked him for a commitment.” Deepak was also serious about Smitha. They broached their desire to get married. “We did not have much of a problem with our parents,” says Smitha. “The only issue was that we are very close to each other in age, maybe a year’s difference.” Nevertheless, the couple tied the knot on May 26, 2002. “There have been ups and downs, over the years, but I am happy,” she says.