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Sunday, February 11, 2007

'We’ve promised each other never to fight over religion'

On their 25th wedding anniversary on Sunday, ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas talks of about Farida - his wife, his critic and his lucky mascot.
Tryst with Farida
I met Farida in 1979. Those were days of struggle. We had a three-year courtship. She was and is my silver lining in the dark clouds. Her presence brings me luck.
First encounter
“I met her at my neighbour’s house at Warden Road. I was struck by her honest laughter and straightforwardness. Our relationship progressed gradually. Those days she was flying for Air India.”
‘Knot’ty question
I come from a family of landlords in Gujarat. Farida comes from a traditional Parsi family. So there was resistance from both the sides. But I wanted to marry only with our parents’ blessings. I decided to meet her father — a retired police officer possessing a licensed gun! He reluctantly agreed saying, ‘If you think you can be happy then go ahead!’ We got married on February 11, 1982.
Wonder woman
Farida’s an independent thinker and a good administrator. She’s involved with selecting my verses and guiding me during the launch of my albums. She’s my critic too!
Marriage mantra
She was once asked, ‘Don’t you feel insecure about your husband?’ Farida replied, ‘I always knew he’d be famous. I have faith in him’. We’ve promised each other that no matter how much we argue, we’ll never fight over religion. I travel a lot due to my concerts; the distance brings us closer. Chatting on a quiet beach is my idea of romance.
Priceless love
While I was launching my first album, I ran short of a few thousand rupees. Farida didn’t have money either (we weren’t married then). But the next day she handed over the sum to me. She had borrowed it. Nothing can match this ever!
Farida’s feelings
“I want Pankaj to be my husband for seven janams. Very few men appreciate the contribution of a woman in their lives. He is one of them. That has seen us through.”
My tribute
In 1984, I performed at The Royal Albert Hall, London. I sang, ‘Chandi jaisa ang hai tera’. I dedicate it to Farida.
Our girls
“Nayab (21) is my older daughter. One of my albums (1985) was named after her. She’s a media student. Reva (12) is in school. The anniversary party has been organised by Nayab.”


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