They grew up “like any other siblings” in south Delhi’s Kalkaji area. But Huma Qureshi and Saqib Saleem admit that after moving to Mumbai, their bond has become stronger. The brother-sister duo got together a few days ahead of Raksha Bandhan, and spoke exclusively to HT Café about their growing love and camaraderie.
What are your fondest childhood memories of Raksha Bandhan?
Huma: While growing up, I would tie a rakhi to a lot of people, but never to Saqib (smiles). This carried on for several years. There was no particular reason for this. But after we shifted to Mumbai, our bond became stronger. So, tying a rakhi mainly started off with the greed of getting gifts, but now, of course, we understand its real meaning.
Saqib: I grew up in Kalkaji. While we would live on the ground floor, there was this girl who used to live on the third floor of the same building. She used to tie a rakhi on my wrist, besides, of course, Huma, who didn’t tie a rakhi to me in the initial few years for some reason. Later, in school and college, I remember, my arm would be filled with rakhis, as I loved having sisters in my life (laughs).
How would you define your equation with each other?
Huma: Saqib is more like a friend to me. I cherish that because sometimes you need someone to talk to and someone you can listen to. He is easy to talk to. We are great friends.
Saqib: Our equation is more friendly. We don’t treat each other like siblings. In fact, I am more like a sister, and she is like a brother to me in a lot of ways (laughs). We talk about everything under the sun — be it our films, our personal lives or our relationships. But I’m the more mature one.
Are you two protective of each other?
Huma: Absolutely, I am possessive of him. But we both give each other space.
Saqib: My way of showing Huma that I am protective is different. I am not necessarily like a typical Delhi boy in this sense (smiles). I am not a violent person, and I don’t get aggressive. Whenever I feel people are overstepping the line, I know how to put them in their place.
What does Raksha Bandhan mean to you?
Huma: The day stands as a reminder of this special bond, which is so protective, so accepting and so loving. It reminds us that apart from our parents, our siblings are the only people who will stand by us no matter what.
Saqib: It is a day for siblings to celebrate their togetherness and love. But I am a firm believer in the fact that you need to make your near and dear ones feel loved every single day, and not on any one particular day.
Did you guys grow closer after moving to Mumbai?
Huma: I am dependent on Saqib a lot because he is like my emotional anchor. He is someone I can talk to, as he is mature. For instance, he always has a good insight into people. I always sort of check with him before taking any important decisions.I am sure I’m important for him because otherwise his life will be even more disorganised (smiles). I bring a little bit of organisation into his life.
Saqib: Mumbai got us closer to each other. We grew up like any other siblings when we were in Delhi. We would fight, love and care for one another. But at that time, I didn’t tell her about my relationships, as I felt she will tell our mum. But when we moved to Mumbai, we really bonded. Also, in a place like Mumbai, you need people who you are close to. Somehow, it has become one of the most beautiful relationships of my life.
How do you two plan to celebrate Raksha Bandhan this year?
Huma: Saqib is in London (UK), so I’ll speak to him on the phone. He will come back in two-three days, and by that time, I will have left for an out-of-town shoot for my next film. But he has promised to visit me as soon as he can. He has also promised to bring me a lot of gifts from London, which I am looking forward to.
Saqib: Of course, I will get gifts for everyone and Huma, too, will have her share. I know what she wants, so she shall have a gift when I am back. When I get back, I will wear every rakhi that has been sent to me, and that’s when my Raksha Bandhan will be complete.