Pakistan Waits To Welcome Sania Mirza, The Bhabi and The Bahu

See How We Welcome Her, Says Shoaib’s Mum Sultana

FAMILY: Sania Mirza With Her Mother-in-Law. Sania poses with Shoaib Malik and his Mother Sultana

Hyderabad: Tennis, they say, is all about coordination of one kind or another. To say the least, Indian star Sania Mirza and her Pakistani groom Shoaib Malik were wonderfully coordinated on the day — colour, cast, cut.

In the last of her wedding celebrations in India, Sania swept into the regal splendour of the reception hall on Thursday in a red-and-gold khara dupatta set against cream background. The elaborate costume is traditionally worn by Hyderabadi Muslim brides. It’s a chudidhar-kurta with a skilfully draped nine-yard dupatta. The groom’s cream sherwani worked as a fair-set piece with Sania’s glittering get-up.

The guest list at the Taj Krishna grand ballroom and lawns, where the reception was held, had a fair mix of politicians like Andhra Pradesh governor E S L Narasimhan, TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu, corporate heavyweight Subrata Roy, the who’s who of Hyderabad society and friends from the sporting community, including Davis Cuppers, Jaideep Mukherjea and Akhtar Ali. Pak cricketer Sohail Tanvir, who was at the reception, said: “It is important Shoaib has married someone he loves. It’s good for Pakistan he has married an Indian superstar.’’

Congratulatory messages from netas, including the PM, sportsmen and celebrities, poured in from India and around the world. Pakistan federal minister for population and welfare, Firdios Ashiq Awan, came bearing several gifts, one of which was a crown studded with jewels. The minister greeted Sania and placed the crown on her head.

“This marriage is a historic occasion. We wish them all the best. When Sania comes to Pakistan, we will celebrate her marriage all over again. The crown is a symbol of love. It is to honour her. We will always love her,’’ the Pakistan minister said. The thrust of the cuisine was Hyderabadi, with some tasteful additions like a variety of salad trays and several vegetarian options. Dessert was a happy mix of East and West, Indian sweets lay alongside slices of Tiramisu.

Sania and Shoaib — or Shoania, as the couple have come to be called — are expected to leave for Pakistan late next week for a Lahore reception. Shoaib’s mother Sultana Malik said the reception date would be fixed after her son got his passport. She said India was a beautiful experience. Asked what would Sania’s welcome be like in Pakistan, she said: “You wait and see how we welcome our bahu.’’

Shoaib, however, was quick to address a point that has come in for much debate: “Once we’re back from Pakistan, it’ll be work as usual for Sania. She will always play for India, the country of her birth and the country she loves. That will never change.’’

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