Sania Mirza’s wedding to Shoaib Mallik was the biggest story on every news channel just about a month ago. While few people think of tying the knot at 23, Mirza surprised the whole country with her decision. "I never really thought about it. I used to say that I would get married early, at around 24 or 25. I’m close to that age right now. I’ve always wanted to marry early, because I want to have children at a young age. I never thought about the age or month. It just happened," she says proudly.
Currently, the tennis ace and her hubby have been living in her Hyderabad home. Marriage doesn’t seem to have changed her life, but living with her husband has brought them even closer. “Life’s the same as it was before. Nothing has changed, except that we are living together. We don’t feel like we are married, though we’re really happy that we live together,” she adds.
So far, very little was known or written about the couple. They’ve known each other for the past six years. In fact, newspapers would often link her to stars from Telugu actor Navdeep Pallapolu to Shahid Kapur. Mirza reveals, “I first met Shoaib a long time ago, maybe 2004 or 2005, but I’m not even sure. Someone introduced us. We happened to meet again at Mohali after a long time. Finally, we started talking when we met in Hobart, Australia earlier this year. After that, we kept chatting regularly.”
How did the topic of marriage come up after months of chatting on the phone?
We ask Sania who popped the question and she responded: “Who do you think? Honestly, no one proposed to anyone. We just started talking about marriage. It wasn’t like he went down on his knees or anything. We just went with our instincts and it felt right at that point,” she confides.
Do you plan to become a Pakistani citizen?
Not at all, I’m an Indian and will always keep my Indian citizenship. I have already said that quite a few times.
Aren’t you concerned about the constant terror attacks and political uncertainty in Pakistan?
I don’t know what that has to do with my marriage.
Surely you will be visiting Pakistan often…
What has that got to do with our wedding though? It’s completely besides the point.
How does it feel to be the first celebrity Indo-Pakistan couple?
Being an Indo-Pakistan couple is great, but that’s not what you think of when you are getting married. It doesn’t matter at all. We wanted to get married and be together as two human beings would. We didn’t consider which country he was from, or which country I was from.
What was the reason behind selecting a country like Dubai as your residence post-marriage?
Well, it’s easy. Shoaib used to spend a lot of time in Dubai. A lot of their home series have been played there over the last year. It’s also very close to both India and Pakistan in terms of distance and is a convenient place to stay.
There was a lot of political hostility in India after your marriage became public.
Did you ever have second thoughts?
We never had any second thoughts about marrying each other. Like I mentioned before, we are two individuals getting married, not two countries. It didn’t matter if he was from Pakistan or Timbuktu. I was marrying someone who I wanted to be with.
Do you think the rightwing backlash in India against your wedding was only because of your religion?
Honestly, I don’t know.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad
has said that it won’t allow you to play here?
They also took it back. Obviously, the media didn’t highlight that. I’m from this country and I will keep playing for it.
Your Lahore reception was in the news. What went wrong?
Nothing went wrong. As usual, it was blown out of proportion by the media. In Lahore, the deadline was 10 pm and we left by 9.40 pm. Yes, it was a celebrity wedding and people were excited about it. So everybody started coming on stage. But we left because the security advised us to leave the place about 10-15 minutes early. No one was angry and no one had an argument as everyone is claiming.
Have you and Shoaib watched an India-Pakistan match together?
No, because India and Pakistan haven’t played together since 2007.
Do you watch Bollywood films?
Yes, we do watch a lot of Bollywood films.
Have you been offered roles in Bollywood films so far?
Yes, I have been offered many roles. And I’m not interested. That’s not something I want to do.
Do you have friends in the industry?
Yes, I have a lot of friends in Bollywood. I meet them often because we have a common friend circle.
When Reena Roy quit Bollywood at the height of her fame in 1983 to marry Pakistan cricketer Mohsin Khan, no one said anything about it. Why do you think your marriage was targeted?
I don’t know. As journalists, you guys should tell me why you made such a big deal out of it. If you didn’t do that in 1983, you shouldn’t have now.
Will you play in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi later in the year?
But you still haven’t answered my question.I can’t answer for everyone. Okay, yes, I will play the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. I have said that time and again. I have already started practicing. My wrist feels good and hopefully, by the end of the year, we can try and win some medals for the country. I’m also looking forward to the Olympics in 2012.