Tuesday, June 25, 2013

“He is Cute”

COLUMN: Spouse's Turn

Says Shahina about her husband, the stage artist and actor Nadir Shah

By Shevlin Sebastian

A few years ago, the stage show artiste and actor Nadir Shah and his wife Shahina were in Chennai. They were on their way to Kuala Lumpur because Nadir had a stage show. The others in the group included Kalabhavan Mani and his wife, actress Suchitra, comedian Kottayam Nazir, dancers, musicians, and support staff.

On the flight Shahina wore a white shirt with red stripes, and a red pant with a red belt, and red shoes. It was eye-catching. As they were walking through the duty-free section of the airport, suddenly, through a shop window, the group saw the same clothes that Shahina was dressed in. The only problem was that a chimpanzee was wearing it.

For a few seconds everybody was frozen by the sight,” says Shahina. “Then Kalabhavan stepped forward to check whether it was the same material.”

And it was. The group burst out laughing. As for Kalabhavan, he laughed so much that he fell to the ground. “Even today I get teased about it by all those who were there,” says Shahina, with a smile.

Shahina is chirpy, vivacious and lively. And it is this quality that attracted Nadir Shah when he first went to meet her at her home in Kochi in February, 1998. “I did not come from a good financial background,” says Shahina. “And I told this openly to him. I did not want him to think that I was well off. I wanted to tell the truth. I said, ‘If you are willing to accept this, then I am willing to marry. Otherwise, we can drop it on the spot.’ This statement of mine impressed him a lot.”

Shahina also was physically attracted to Nadir Shah. “He looked cute, and had a smooth face,” she says.

Nadir Shah also liked her and the marriage took place on April 12, 1998. A week later they went to Dubai where Nadir Shah had a programme. It was also their honeymoon.

When they reached the hotel room, Shahina discovered, to her horror, that she had, absent-mindedly, given the keys of the luggage to her mother-in-law when they were leaving Kochi. When Nadir Shah realised this he immediately lost his temper. “He shouted and yelled at me,” says Shahina, with a smile. “That was when I realised that he has a quick temper.” Anyway, eventually, he broke open the locks himself.

One reason why Nadir Shah is quick to get angry is because he is a perfectionist. “It is his search for perfection that makes him lose his cool,” says Shahina. “During a stage show, there will be thousands of people in the audience and each person has his own mind. You need to keep them entertained for three hours. So, a small glitch can spoil the entire performance.”

Nevertheless, Shahina is a big fan of her husband. “From the age of 16, Nadir Shah has been looking after his large family,” says Shahina. “His father told him on his deathbed that it was his duty to look after everybody. And till today, as the eldest, he has continued to do so.”

Nadir Shah is also a man who encourages people all the time. “If he sees somebody who has a little bit of talent, he will go out of his way to provide opportunities,” says Shahina. “For most of us, our role models are our parents, but I have learnt a lot from Nadir Shah: How we should not think about ourselves all the time. How we should help others and be generous and kind.”

And he is good at fulfilling his duties in his own family. “The way he looks after us, I have never seen anybody else do it with the same intensity,” says Shahina. “I feel safe in his hands. This is not a love marriage. Yet, somehow, we are deeply in love. It is our destiny to be together. Praise God for that.”

Of course, one of the drawbacks is that Nadir Shah is away from home for weeks at a time. “Our children [Aysha, 12, and Khadeeja, 8] miss him a lot,” says Shahina. “There have been times when Aysha has gone to a corner and wept silently. Khadeeja shows her feelings through her eyes. I also miss him, like any wife anywhere in the world.”

But Shahina says that the moment he returns, all the sadness is quickly forgotten. “We enjoy being in his company,” says Shahina. “We love the togetherness.” And in order to make her husband happy, she cooks his favourite karimeen curry. In fact, she makes it the night before, so that there is the right taste.

Asked for tips for youngsters who are about to tie the knot, Shahina says, “Don't interfere too much. Space is important between husband and wife. Most husbands don't like nagging wives. You should have patience and tolerance of the negative side of a person. You should also love with all your heart and show your genuine self all the time.” 

(The New Indian Express, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram)

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