Four years to your marriage, how has life been so far?
I really like being married! I don’t think I want to have children but I am really enjoying being married. To be honest, I am an only child and I grew up on my own. And when you’ve stayed all alone for the initial years of your life and then you start staying with someone, it can be quite challenging. Staying alone is where my comfort zone lies and I sort of enjoy it also. This realisation somehow makes it easy to understand the issue or the problem.
I got married in 2012, I was 34 then. We have been staying together for four years now. So there are many things that you haven’t experienced ever and it kind of got uncomfortable in the initial days. I am not saying this because my wife is a foreigner. It did not strike my at first as to why I felt different when I started living with her but then with time I realised that it’s because I have been alone all my life.
How did your love story blossom?
Kallirroi is a Greek national. She’s from Athens. She studied drama in Athens and in London. I met her when she was visiting India and I was performing a play in Lucknow. She knew some people in my play and they invited her over to Lucknow to watch our play. That’s when we met first. After that we travelled together to Mumbai and then to Pune as well.
When I met Kalli, I really felt like I should marry her. It seemed like the right thing to do. I was attracted to her and we were in love and very early in our relationship we realised that we wanted to live with each other. I felt very comfortable with her.
What does marriage mean to you?
We live in a society and we have to abide by certain guidelines. It’s also a formality to be accepted in a society. You can also look at it as a piece of paper. Having said that, it is practical to get married. I wouldn’t mind just living in with her but we decided to get married.
Greek and Indian cultures are not exactly similar. How long did it take to get accustomed to each other?
(Laughs) I am still getting used to her and her culture and so is she. You have to decide if you want to be with a person and you truly want to be together – then you figure out a way to live together. Cultural difference, different countries, language barrier, long distance and all these things don’t matter. You will figure out a way for those contrasts. Though there are a lot of cultural differences, being exposed to western cultures through films, television and books, I sort of had an idea what it was like. I had only read about the Greek culture initially before Kalli came into my life. They are very proud of their culture and their language has contributed to many languages. In general, the Greeks have contributed to a lot of things and they are known for their art, drama, politics and philosophy. She is from one of the most famous cities in the world. All of this is really visible in her.
Was there any visible difference that you could spot in her upbringing and yours?
I have just observed this over so many years and I don’t know how true it stands… Westerners believe that it’s their right to do something. ‘It’s my freedom and it’s my right to do something’. The easterners believe that it’s their duty to do something. We belong to the eastern philosophical side. We are duty bound. I see it as my duty to take care of my mother or it’s my duty to tell my friend that he’s doing something wrong. They feel the need to say that it’s their right to do something. Generally, its fine and it doesn’t come into our relationship but sometimes it can get a little tough to deal with, I must confess.
Could you tell us more about the tough part of it?
Both of us are actors and we have differences of opinion. So maybe she wants to do something and I, being her dutiful husband, tell her that she shouldn’t do it because it’s bad for some reason. Whereas she would say, ‘I want to do it. It’s okay if I make a mistake but I want to do it. It’s my right to do it.’ It’s a very simple example, not getting into too many personal details. For me, if I get too much into her work, then I am nagging and if I do little then I feel I am not being the dutiful husband. Once you understand what philosophy you come from or have grown with, it becomes easy to deal with people who have a sort of opposite philosophy. And maybe opposites attract! We have our troubles and differences of opinion but as long as we want to work it out, no differences come in the way.