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There’s something about Sania

Forever young Sania Mirza: ‘Even when I’m 45, I will still be 21 for my mum’

Forever young Sania Mirza: ‘Even when I’m 45, I will still be 21 for my mum’   | Photo Credit: PHOTO: BHAGYA PRAKASH K.

Sania Mirza is now 21. So what does it feel like?

India’s hottest tennis sensation is now legally old enough to walk into a night club. When she dropped into Chennai a day before her birthday on November 15, for the launch of Deutsche Bank’s new loyalty-based credit cards in association with Landmark, we caught up with Sania Mirza to find out all about turning 21.

What’s she doing? “No idea,” she says, “Not over-enthu about it. But November 15 is mum’s birthday too. So I will be spending time with family and a closed group of friends. I’m not a party person. I’m a boring person. I’m not all that huge over music. I prefer a quiet dinner.”

You couldn’t have expected a more sober answer, especially with her mum sitting right next to her during the interview. So, we try to probe a little into the mind of the young icon on how it feels when she’s always told what to do.

“Do you feel young people your age are not treated like adults,” we ask. “That’s the case anywhere in the world. Even when I’m 45, I will still be 21 for my mum. When you are 21, you tend to think you know everything. You make mistakes, you learn. But I was treated like an adult even when I was 15. I was asked questions like I wasn’t 15 but someone older. But even when I’m married, my parents would still be there to look out for me.”

Does this mean they have a huge role to play in all her decisions — financial, banking and investments? “It’s a joint thing. My parents and I both decide what’s good. I do think about the future. But I spend a lot,” she says, emphasising the word “lot”.

What does she spend on? “Everything. I can shop like four bagfuls in 15 minutes. My mum and I are friends, so we shop together. And Dad always wonders: How do you do that? So shoes, bags, clothes…are all mum’s area. Investments are dad’s area.”

Young people today prefer spending to saving, don’t they? “The younger generation today lives for the moment. I see that among my friends. I’m the old woman of the gang. They have fun, live for the moment. I wish I were like them but I’m not that kind of person.”

She’s the kind of person banks hire to endorse loyalty schemes. What does she find in common with a bank? “A passion to perform,” she quips, referring to the tag-line of the bank with a smile. After trying to substantiate the common ground, she’s quick to sense our disbelief. “I’m not acting. I believe in it. We both try to be the best we can.” There’s a streak of innocence running behind all these politically correct, premeditated statements she makes.

Does she ever miss being a brat, doing things girls her age do? “There are times when I feel judged on the basis of the clothes I wear. People notice everything and try to analyse me and judge me no matter where I go. Recently, I went to watch the India-Pakistan cricket match and they briefly focussed the camera on me and the whole stadium started screaming. Everything seemed worth it then. All the hard work, the sacrifices made… it feels so good to be recognised for playing for the country. But there are also times when I walk into the lobby and no one looks.”

But how often does she get the free time to take a stroll around a mall really? “I’ve not had an off-season in two years, so finally it’s good to have one or two weeks off. I’m going to relax and go on a vacation. I’m not telling you where,” she giggles.

SUDHISH KAMATH

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