Sania Mirza joins Brunch in celebrating the Independence Days of two countries that need to partake in each other’s happiness more often Sania Mirza is no stranger to controversy. But her marriage six years ago to Malik, a Pakistani, and a cricketer at that, still has India’s more jingoistic citizens fulminating.
Though Mirza’s parents were less concerned about their future son-in-law’s nationality than they were about their daughter’s confidence that Shoaib was indeed ‘the one’, most of the rest of the country had an opinion on the matter, and it wasn’t a good one.
And, after all, what’s a good sub-continental love story without mass hysteria, invasion of privacy and an ‘unpatriotic’ protagonist? While Mirza admits that both parties anticipated a few ruffled feathers, they “were not ready for what came our way”.
Overzealous media personnel thronged the Mirza household, rendering the family members captive for two weeks. Recapping the emotionally sapping episode, Mirza writes how she did not see sunlight for 10 days as the windows, even the smallest of vents and peepholes, had to be covered.
“Every few hours there was new stuff on TV, a soap opera. I was amazed by how the media was behaving. A lot of people I knew were ready to do anything, to make news out of it. At that time they didn’t realise there were families involved and probably two people in love and wanting to get married. It was pretty simple in our heads. It was amazing that other people weren’t able to see it like that.”
The only concern Mirza would answer was her parents’ question. Yes, indeed, she assured them. Shoaib is ‘the one’.
Their first encounter at an Indian restaurant on the Hobart waterfront (in Australia) with the then Pakistan cricket captain kicked off the romance, and Mirza says “the decision to get married came naturally to me”.
“As a girl, the first thing that attracts you to someone is their looks. But it was also his simplicity. He was the captain and God knows how big cricket is in this part of the world. But he remained extremely down to earth,” she says.
Being India’s daughter and Pakistan’s daughter-in-law was never going to be easy for Mirza, so the couple moved out of the sub-continent altogether to live in Dubai. “All’s well that ends well,” Mirza says with a smile.