COLUMN: Spouse’s Turn
Sajitha talks about her 28-year marriage to the noted film director
Photo: By Manu R. Mavelil
By Shevlin Sebastian
Sajitha was five years old. It was her first day at the Darool Uloom higher secondary school at Pullepady, Kochi. Her first cousin was entrusted to take her. He placed her on the rod of his Hercules cycle, put the satchel on the back, and set out. “That is my first memory of my husband Siddique,” says Sajitha. At that time her grandmother told her son -- Siddique’s father -- Ismail Haji and daughter, Athika, that the two children should get married when they are older. “This custom of first cousins getting married is prevalent in the Muslim community,” says Sajitha.
Sometime later, Siddique, who is nine years older than Sajitha, got a job as a clerk in the Darool Uloom school. “We would see each other often,” she says.
Eventually, they got married on May 6, 1984, at the Darool Uloom auditorium. “The school has played a big role in our lives,” she says. And ever since then it has been a roller-coaster ride for Sajitha. Within four months, Siddique resigned from his job and went off to work as an assistant director for director Fazil. “I was sixteen at that time and had no idea how risky this was,” she says. “It was only much later that I realised that my husband had given up a good job, for the uncertain life in the film industry. It would take years for him to get a steady income.”
But what immediately upset her was the fact Siddique went out of touch. “There were no phone calls or letters,” she says. After three months, when Siddique suddenly returned, Sajitha told him that she was pregnant. “There was no way I could pass the news to him earlier,” she says.
When Sajitha was taken to the City Hospital for the delivery, instead of staying and offering support, Siddique ran off with his friends to watch a film.
“Cinema is his passion,” she says. “But Siddique has a good heart. If somebody gets annoyed with him, he will still talk with that person. He keeps no resentment in his heart. Siddique has never scolded me or the children. Even if I get angry with him, he never loses his cool.”
But in the early years of their marriage, there were moments when Sajitha struggled to remain cool. “I will be talking to him and he will just smile at me and not say anything,” she says. “Most of the time he is in a different world. That is the case with all creative people. Initially, I would get irritated, but now I have got used to it. But that does not mean I remain silent. I keep talking to him and he still has a smile. Nothing has changed.”
The couple has three daughters, Sumayia, Sara, and Sukoon. Sumayia, 26, is married to Bengaluru-based professional Nabeel Mehran, and has a 10-month old daughter. Sara, 24, is doing a fashion design course at St. Teresa’s College, Kochi. But it was the third child, Sukoon, 22, that caused heartbreak for the parents.
“Sukoon with born with cerebral palsy,” says Sajitha. “It has been painful for us that our daughter is not well. Since she is unable to walk, we have not been able to take her to school. She has been taught at home.”
In fact, Sajitha is a 24-hour mother and nurse for Sukoon. “As a result, we don’t go out much,” she says. “But on rare occasions, our whole family goes out to see a film.”
Sajitha had been tense when Siddique was making the Hindi film, ‘Bodyguard’, in which Salman Khan was the hero. “I was worried about how it would do at the box office,” she says. “I prayed hard to God. But I never imagined it would be such a big hit. I was very happy for my husband.”
Meanwhile, asked about what advice she will give youngsters who are about to tie the knot, Sajitha says, “You have to learn to adjust to each other. Nobody is perfect. People have flaws. But you must forgive each other. And the most important thing is that the husband and wife should have a mutual trust.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)