So how have the two blissful years of marriage been?
“I still wake up in the morning and revel in the fact that I share the same room as Aishwarya Rai,” smiles Abhishek. She instantly echoes the sentiment, “Me too. Just to wake up next to each other is a blessing, an absolute joy.”
The couple met for the first time in Switzerland when Ash was shooting for Aur Pyar Ho Gaya and Abhishek, all of 21, was visiting on work. Ash laughingly recalls, “When he started talking, I could not get a word of what he said. He had such a thick accent.”
The couple fondly remembers how when common friend and makeup artist Micky Contractor introduced them, he pointed at Abhishek and although he meant to say ‘Abhishek has a great future in films’, the actual words to Ash were, “There’s your future.” Years later when Micky was doing Ash’s makeup on their wedding day, he said, “See, didn’t I tell you years ago this would happen?”
So what glue binds them together now?
“Our common value system,” says Ash. “We were both from nuclear families. My dad was a marine engineer, so used to stay away from home a lot. Pa [Abhishek’s dad] was mostly away for work too. But still we both got a very cultured and grounded upbringing. Full marks to his parents for raising him and his sister in such a normal way.” “Oh, so finally you admit that I’m normal,” teases Abhishek and her laughter rings a thousand bells.
Abhishek truly has a gift of gab. We ask him what he likes most about her and he counter
questions, “How much paper do you have?” Plenty, we assure him and he continues, “Her ability to make you believe that you can set very high standards in your mind about your dream partner and it is still possible to get such a person.” “Awww,” says Ash, clearly moved, “I love this interview, can we go on forever?”
continues, “My parents are most important to me in life. The way she has fitted into their lives, even before we got married, is amazing. I feel they think of her as more of a daughter than they think of me as a son. Also, she has an obsession of taking care of people. You are the luckiest if you are unwell when she’s around. When you come home in the evening, she’ll asks, ‘how was your day? Are you hungry? Shall I get you something? She’s the grandmother of the house. A close friend Srishti Arya, who’s like a sister to me, actually asked me on my wedding day on the stage, ‘how have you managed to marry your own mother?’”
Key to successful marriage is according to Abhi Ash is
‘‘Retaining your own strong identity, at the same time being sensitive towards the needs of the partner. If there’s ever an argument, discuss it out and a couple must never go to bed with the fight still on.”
It’s Ash’s turn, “you see, we may not be mushy all the time, but,”— and he interrupts again, “hey, say something about me. I said such good things about you. You are making me sound like the world’s most boring person. Even as she struggles to phrase it right (despite his constant but loving interruptions), her eyes proclaim her love much louder than words. She finally finds the right words too, “His clarity in life is incredible. In the first year of our marriage, we saw many harsh realities of life. This man pulled through remarkably. It warms my heart to think I’ve got married to such a strong person. I can’t thank God enough, not for the surname he has, but for the man that he is.” Abhishek claps, “There you go.”
Of family and kids
Is he as good a son-in-law as he is as a son? Her eyes lighten up. “My parents love him so much, he’s totally the apple of their eye.” Abhishek adds, “They were formal initially, that whole damaad thing, but I’m quite a charmer. I don’t call before I go over to my in-laws. I just hop over the bed and ask for food. Similarly, although no one can ever take my sister’s place, Ash is a second daughter to my parents. For a young girl who’s moved into a new home, it can be quite intimidating to have Amitabh Bachchan say ‘good morning’ to you every morning. But today, my dad talks more with her than me.”