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Nothing beats true love, not even coronavirus, as 100-year-old man ties the knot

Yawar, 100 and Noor, 60 

LONDON: Love knows no bounds, not of age, gender, nationality, religion or viral outbreaks. Nothing could stop centenarian Yawar Abbas, from marrying the love of his life -- the bold and beautiful Indian-origin writer, Noor Zaheer, 62.

Because of the looming threat of the viral coronavirus, the couple had to ditch plans for their original wedding function scheduled for 27th March and decided to get married 10 days earlier than originally planned. They held a private function at their home in West London attended by only six of their closest friends.

Yawar Abbas got commissioned in the British Army in United India in 1942 as a second lieutenant. He was enrolled in the Pakistan Army in 1947 serving as a Major and made a commissioned film on Pakistan and the partition. He resigned from the army and shifted to London to join BBC and has lived and worked in London ever since.

Yawar’s marriage to Noor is his third one and Noor’s marriage to Yawar is her second. The newlywed couple has children from their previous marriages and their grandchildren are grown-ups as well.

Noor, wore an elegant mustard traditional Indian Saari while Yawar wore a black tuxedo with a bow tie and a mustard pocket square to match during their ceremony at the registrar's office. For the party at home, a kurta with a red waistcoat was deemed to be more appropriate attire.

"He proposed to me in an elevator and asked me to make a permanent move to London," Noor laughed as she recalled the unexpected way her husband proposed to her. "We were more than friends so I said yes," she told The News and Geo.

Despite knowing each other for over 12 years, the couple realised they loved each other when they reconnected during the mystical times of London's Faiz Amn Mela in October last year. Geo News and Jang group has sponsored Faiz Mela every year for the annual get together which brings together leading progressive intellectuals.

Yawar Abbas, who is also a prolific poet, impressed Noor with his commitment to humanity and strong ideals. "We believe in the need to work for equality and social justice. Yawar has been very consistent in his films and his writings, that really attracted me," Noor told Geo and The News.

It's hard not be attracted to Yawar who started his career as a photographer for BBC during World War 2. Since then, the filmmaker from Lucknow has witnessed the cold war, the fall of the Soviet Union, the formation of the EU and much more. His voice carries the clarity of his mind. It;s easy to lose one's defences around him.

"Like all love stories, there’s nothing unusual about ours except for the fact that we belong to different generations, otherwise, we are driven by the same things," Yawar said.

"I feel complete after Noor became my wife."

Noor Zaheer is the daughter of the legendary Marxist intellectual couple, Syed Sajjad Zaheer and Razia Zaheer. Sajjad had an illustrious career as a writer and was also one of the founding members of the Communist Party of Pakistan.

Following her father's footsteps in the literary realm, Noor has risen as one of the most influential writers from South Asia, with bestsellers like My God is a Woman, The Dancing Lama, Denied by Allah, and At Home in Enemy Land under her belt.

She is also the president of the Indian People’s Theatre Association, the national secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women, and a recipient of the Times Fellowship.

One of their closest friends, Ms Durdana Ansari who knows Yawar for 30 years, said: "They have brought electricity into my life. The spark of happiness I see on their faces is deeper than any other couple's I've witnessed. No young couple has a romance like theirs."

The NHS is advising all people above the age of 70 to stay at home after more than 286,000 global cases of COVID-19 have been reported with a total death count of 11,889 as of this writing.

People over 70 are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus since it can badly affect their respiratory systems. Most of the deaths by this virus are of people over 70 and those with pre-existing medical conditions but this is not keeping Yawar and his lovely wife from entertaining themselves.

"Yawar knows a lot about films so we are revisiting our favourite movies. I'm somewhat glad to have more time to read now otherwise London can get really busy with all the events", the prolific writer of bestsellers and daughter of Marxist ideologues Sajjad and Razia Zaheer said.

Noor mentioned how she had lost touch with Urdu after her parents' passing but Yawar, being a highly renowned poet, rekindled the love for Urdu in her heart.

Yawar shared his poetry which was soothing and discomforting at the same time.

"Araam kabhi paas Nahi Aa Sukta

Jab Tak Ye Ehsaas ye Nahi Aa Sukta

Wo Log Jo Sadiyo say rahay mil Jul Kar

Batwara Unhay Raas Nahi aa sukta"

(Peace can never come to them

until they realise

that the people who lived together for centuries

will never accept separation)

He repeated the poem with more vigour, making me realise that this man was not only an ocean of knowledge but also experience.

Yawar is one of the very few men alive who have witnessed the Japanese surrender in World War 2. He is a man who has lived through modern history and has witnessed how life and human beings have fundamentally changed over time.

In extremely high spirits after their recent nuptials, the couple is a living testament to the power of love and shows how there are no boundaries in this phenomenon. It can happen any time, anywhere and with anyone.

When asked to dedicate a couplet to his beloved wife, Yawar recited this, "Mohubattain to hoye aur bhi tum say pehlay , Magar jo tumsay hoye wohi yaad kertay rehtay hai".

(I have fallen in love many times before I met you. But I only remember the love I have for you)

Yawar's love story gives hope to all aspiring Romeos of the world. If he can marry the love of his life at 100 years of age, what excuse do other people have?

What made him fall in love with Noor?

He said: "The best quality of Noor is her capacity to love, not just me but humanity and her sense of values, her activism and her dedication to doing whatever she can to improve the lives of her fellow citizens. She’s inherited a lot from her own father. This whole thing that makes Noor, I love that."

Their inspirational love story has put a smile on many people's faces. It has been covered by various national and international media organisations.

At a time when the world is obsessing over a new virus which poses a significant health risk, two people in this world are the living embodiment of true love and are spending every moment with happiness.