On the first Valentine’s Day after they confessed their love for each other, Giri Gopinath had gifted a candy to Thara Damodaran. Since then, they have been exchanging candies every Valentine’s Day. However, Giri and Thara had to wait for almost twenty years to tie the knot and enjoy the sweetness of togetherness. Meanwhile, they got employed as driver and conductor in KSRTC, making the iconic busses the messenger of their love. Giri and Thara, who is now enjoying every moment of married life, is thrilled to share their love story.
Giri meets Thara
Giri and Thara began their relationship when there weren’t mobile phones or WhatssApp chats. They would pour out their hearts on to the tiny cards that wished seasons greetings. However, these cards couldn’t be sent all the time as they were available only during the festive seasons. Every year, they used to exchange love messages on cards, for the ten days of Onam season.
“That was the time when our love was limited to a few words in the greeting cards,” Thara recalls with a smile.
In 2000, Thara, a native of Muthukulam, reached the training centre in Velanchira for coaching in auditing for her CA course. The centre was owned by Giri’s uncle. Meanwhile, Giri had been there assisting his uncle run the training centre. It was at this training centre that Giri and Thara had met each other and fell in love. Giri was 26 then and Thara was 24 years old.
When Giri proposed, Thara asked him to meet her parents with an official wedding proposal. Giri soon reached Thara’s home with his parents. Both the families didn’t object to their relation. However, they insisted on matching their horoscopes.
Every great love story has a villain; and in Giri and Thara’s case, their horoscopes proved to be the villain. The families weren’t ready to say ‘yes’ to a relationship where the horoscopes didn’t match. The proposal was dropped by both the families. Giri soon quit his job at his uncle’s training centre.
In 2007, Giri got employed as a driver at the KSRTC depot in Haripad. He invited his beloved Thara into his life again. But, Thara wasn’t ready to go with him without her family’s consent.
Thara, meanwhile, was adamant that she wouldn’t marry another man, when Giri is waiting for her. Both of them waited patiently, hoping that they could live together one day. Thara too was determined to earned a government job as she wanted to stand on her own. She began writing PSC exams, determined to land a government job. In 2010, she got job as a conductor in KSRTC. Interestingly, she even was posted as the conductor in the bus in which Giri was the driver.
It was only later that their colleagues in the depot came to know about Giri and Thara’s relationship. Their love bloomed as they got the rare opportunity to work as the driver and conductor in the same KSRTC bus. The KSRTC bus number 220, in which the couple worked too has some specialities. This ordinary bus that runs in the Haripad – Karunagappally route was modified to suit the modern times. Giri installed a chic music system, by spending money from his own pocket and takes care of the bus as if it is his own. He would wash and clean the bus on all the days he has duty. Meanwhile, the regular passengers of the bus encouraged him by forming a fans association for the bus. A leisure trip too was organised in the bus for the members of the fans association. There are lots of passengers who regularly rely on this bus for their daily commutation. For them, Giri and Thara had become close like their family members.
KSRTC trips were cancelled during the lockdown period. Thara and Giri couldn’t even see each other then. However, by that time, both the families had shown ‘green flags’ for the wedding. On 5 April 2020, Thara and Giri tied the knot at Ochira Klappana Kallessery Bhadrakali temple and began a permanent service into married life.
Even though they got married during the lockdown period, it took them longer to join back the service. They expressed their willingness to work when the bus services were resumed after the lockdown. Now, Giri is driver of the ordinary bus service to Ambalapuzha from the Haripad depot; Thara was the conductor in that bus. Meanwhile, Thara and Giri booked their seats in KSRTC’s inaugural leisure trip to Malakkapara and Vagamon from the Haripad depot. They, hence, became the first couple who celebrated their love and then the honeymoon in KSRTC bus. They have been working together, in the same bus, since they joined the service. However, as per the latest schedule that came out on 30 January 2022, Thara will be working as a conductor in the Kollam – Alappuzha fast passenger while Giri has been moved to the Alappuzha – Karunagappaally chain service.