Let’s play a love game.
Our tennis world is resembling more and more an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful these days.
You know!? The one where two star-crossed lovers come together despite the feud between their countries, only to find out that the groom is already married! Over the phone! To a woman he’s only ever “met” on the internet!
It’s as if someone rewrote Willy Bard’s work with elements of modern technology, ancient divides, media frenzy and police investigation.
Mirza, who broke off her engagement with a childhood friend earlier in the year, announced in March that she was to wed Pakistan’s former cricket captain, Shoaib Malik on April 15. This high profile marriage between India’s top tennis female tennis player and a well-known Pakistan’s cricketer has sparked controversy from the outset. In India, the rightwing Hindu nationalist political party – the BJP – has asked Mirza to “reconsider” her decision to marry a Pakistani.
Well … if this is their idea of “asking”, that is.
Pakistan – on the other hand – was thrilled by the announcement, with the nation’s minister for population welfare vowing to give the couple a “family planning kit“. As an uncultured Australian, the first thing I think of when it comes to “family planning” is a condom, which is a rather strange wedding gift.
But perhaps it’s simply the Pakistani government’s code name for a dip bowl?
But wait, there’s more.
A woman from Sania’s home town Hyderabad – Ayesha Siddiqui – has come forward to claim that she is already wedded to Shoaib.
According to allegations, Ayesha and Shoaib had an internet romance, which led to the pair being married over the phone. They even have a marriage license to prove it.
Umm … to the extent that it appears to be hand written on lined paper and signed anyway.
Three years later, Ayesha’s father declared that the marriage was over, but Shoaib was refusing to grant Ayesha a divorce.
Shoaib initially denied that a marriage ever took place. He now claims that Ayesha forced him into taking part in a nikah – Muslim marriage ceremony – over the phone, and that a phone nikah isn’t valid in Islamic law.
In any case, Shoaib claims that he was deceived into this alleged marriage because the woman he believed to be ‘not-marrying’ – the woman whose photographs he had seen – was not the woman he actually ended up not-marrying.
In other words, dude got wife-swapped.
Shoaib’s sympathisers understand. After all, who hasn’t been conned into a marriage over the phone to the wrong woman after a lengthy internet romance? “How could a hot young cricketer choose to marry someone who looks like that?” his supporters asked, pointing to the photos of Ayesha.
But the Ayesha supporters were having none of that. They know the real Shoaib Malik. He’s a fool! He’s a cheat! He should leave India and go back to Pakistan! Ayesha justice! *ajde doublefistpump*
In a final twist, the woman in the photographs shown to Malik – the one he thought he was ‘not-marrying’ – turned out to be a woman named Maha. Malik now claims to have actually met Maha back in 2005 and thought she was an older relative of Ayesha, his non-wife.
Oh stop it. I’m confused! But then again – a good soap opera will do that to ya.
So who’s marrying the-what-now?