Leave them alone

Marriages between celebrities evoke a lot of interest and the one proposed between India’s tennis star Sania Mirza and former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik has set rivers of newsprint and meadows of TV screens on fire on both sides of the international border.

India and Pakistan are not Capulets and Montagues, the rival families in Romeo and Juliet, but the uneasy political relations between the two countries have added a special flavour to the romance. Sweet for some, sour for some others, depending on predilections and prejudices. Cupid has a greater global reach now. Cross-border marriages are not uncommon and there is no reason to consider the proposed marriage between Sania and Malik as different from the rising number of marriages between Indians and other foreigners. If anything, it should be welcomed as a testimony to the strong social bond between the people of the two countries.

But the simple story line of the girl meeting the boy and deciding to live together has been complicated by the entry of ‘the other girl,’ as if life is imitating popular Bollywood art. All the staple filmy elements of deceit, impersonation, separation, treachery and legal tangles have already entered the theme and the soap is being lapped up by the media.

The characters who dominated sports pages have been shifted to Page 3. Views are being aired and even the bookies have jumped into the fray. There are even suggestions that the boy’s reputation makes him unworthy of the girl. But marriage is a personal affair and it is best to leave it to Sania to decide who she should marry.

The girl and the boy, and their families, should sort out any issues, personal, legal or of any other kind, that have a bearing on their decision. If the other girl or her family have a grievance or a case, there are legal remedies to be sought in the appropriate forum. The spectacle that is being serialised now through statements, interviews, and gossip is not of good taste.

The media and the inquisitive society should withdraw from the scene and let the persons involved in the matter handle their personal lives. Why should we make people who live real lives characters of soaps and films? Shoaib and Sania have fixed their own match and the spectators have no right to seek a change of game.

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