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Cynthia Jairam-Persaud, in a black short-sleeved top, and Anil Persaud, in a white button-up long-sleeved shirt, dressed up, seated at a round table with drinks in front of them
Cynthia and Anil. Photo courtesy of Anil Persaud and Cynthia Jairam-Persaud

From Homework to Teamwork

For Anil Persaud and Cynthia Jairam-Persaud, meeting as first-years meant growing up together

Anil (BA 1999 UTSC, BEd 2002): We met for the first time when Cynthia asked a mutual friend at U of T Scarborough to introduce us. But I didn’t seem to take much notice of Cynthia. I had been engrossed in a book, which she says I was just pretending to read. But then we kept bumping into each other, almost every day for the next week. Once we started talking, we just meshed. It’s hard to put into words, but it was very natural. We’re both Guyanese, and we hung out at West Indian Students’ Connection events, played cards and dominos, studied together and hit it off. We always had fun together. We started talking about marriage after graduation. We were both adamant that we didn’t want children, but we now have three so it’s funny how that turned out. We’re very complementary. She’s a hands-on doer, and I’m more of a big-picture procrastinator. I think, over the years, we’ve figured out how to keep everything in perspective, which has helped us to move along our own paths and grow together.

The Persaud family dressed in Halloween costumes, sitting on the front steps of their house. Cynthia (on the left) is dressed as a pirate, Anil (on the right) is wearing a Star Trek uniform, one of their children is dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the youngest is dressed in a bear costume.
The Force is strong with the Persaud family! Photo by Philip Dehaney.

Cynthia (BComm 1999 UTSC): We were together for seven years before we got married, so I think we already had a really clear understanding of each other. I think it helped that we were in the same stage of life – our needs and wants matched up. We’ve also always been good at giving each other space. We’ve always had our own separate group of friends, instead of just merging everyone together. We’ve got our own independence and distinct identities. That can be harder now, managing a family with three children, but Anil and I have similar views. We’re able to balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m great with organization but he’s great with finances. He’s very kind and generous and has a great ethical core. He has very strong opinions, yet he doesn’t try to sway you. But he’s always challenged me to think about things more deeply. He’s always there to support me, but he also really makes me think about what I’m doing and why.

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