Monday, November 14, 2011

Scenes from a marriage

COLUMN: Spouse's Turn

Poornima talks about what it is like to be married to popular actor Indrajith Sukumaran

By Shevlin Sebastian

In August, 1999, Poornima Indrajith was coming down the stairs of a bungalow in Thiruvananthapuram. “I had just finished shooting an emotional scene [for K.K. Rajeev’s 'Peythozhiyathe'] and I had put too much of glycerine in my eyes,” she says. So, she had bloodshot eyes, and a swollen face, and was wiping away the tears. She felt a boy gaze at her. Soon, her colleague, Mallika Sukumaran, told her, “Poornima, this is my son Indrajith.”

She said, “Hello.” Indrajith was wearing a dark blue t-shirt and jeans, and had square-rimmed spectacles. “He had neatly combed air, and looked like a well-behaved schoolboy,” she says.

At that time Indrajith was doing his studies at the Nagercoil Engineering College and had come to collect his mother.

What stimulated Poornima's liking was that although Indrajith looked very much like Mallika, he had a prominent cleft. “That reminded me of his father, the late superstar Sukumaran,” she says. “My mother and I are such big fans.”

They got talking and began a courtship. “It was not love at first sight,” she says. “In fact, it was very casual, as we were both just 20 years old.” But, evidently, the couple clicked as a pair, and they got married on December 13, 2002. “You might wonder why the marriage date is the ‘unlucky 13th’, and the answer is that it is my birthday, and I have been very lucky,” says Poornima.

Nine years later, they have two girls, Praarthana, 7, and Nakshatra, 2. And while Indrajith is busy with his career as an actor, Poornima plays the dual roles of mother and TV anchor.

So what is it like to be married to a celebrity? “I am there in the limelight, along with my husband, but he has to work very hard,” she says. “Many times he is out there in the sun and the rain, during filming, and it is not easy at all.” But what is not surprising is the loss of privacy that the couple feels keenly about. “Whenever I go on the set, we become very conscious because people are staring at us and aiming their mobile cameras,” she says. “It is very uncomfortable.”

They are unable to take the children for long walks, or play in the park and eat roadside snacks. “How do we do it, without getting disturbed or stared at?” says Poornima.

But sometimes, they do find a way out. Like when they go for the late night show at the multiplexes. “We enter just after the film begins and rush out when the credits are rolling,” says Poornima, with a laugh. “Having said all this, there are more advantages than disadvantages of being a celebrity.”

They are also glad that they are in jobs for which they have a liking. “When your profession becomes your passion, life becomes superb,” she says. “You just enjoy what you are doing.”

And Poornima is all praise for Indrajith, the human being, who rarely loses his calm, even under the most difficult of circumstances. “He is very patient,” says Poornima. “Indrajith will go to an extent where you will ask, ' Why is this guy not reacting?'. It is a great plus point regarding a man, but it can also be a negative trait. Because when he has to talk back, he does not.”

But when it comes to children, Indrajith can react strongly. Around two months ago, Poornima, her mum, and Mallika, were sitting and chatting at home. Suddenly, one of their daughters, Nakshatra, ate a nut and it got stuck in the throat.

Before Poornima could react, Indrajith rushed out from another room, held Nakshatra upside down, and tapped the back very hard. “Thankfully, the nut came out,” she says. “Thereafter, he fired all of us. He said, 'Up to a certain age, whatever happens to children is your responsibility. As a mom, you should always be aware of your children at all times.'”

But, sometimes, Poornima also gets angry with Indrajith, because of his habit of smoking. “My husband accepts that smoking is a bad habit,” she says. “Still, he has four or five every day. Chain smokers might laugh, but from a wife's perspective, this is a high number.”

Asked whether she misses acting, Poornima says, “I am happy with what I have, and I try to enjoy every moment of my life.”

(The New Indian Express, Kerala)

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