Despite an exhausting day of work — walking the ramp together and being part of an extensive photo shoot at a star hotel in the city — cricketer Harbhajan Singh and wife Geeta Basra are all game for a late-night interaction.
While Harbhajan initially excuses himself to put daughter Hinaya to bed, Geeta mentions that she has been to Hyderabad a couple of times earlier on work. “Everyone told me to go to Hyderabad to buy bangles during my wedding shopping, but I couldn’t. So maybe this time. I also plan to visit Falaknuma,” she says as she recalls eating one of the “spiciest biryanis” on one of her previous visits.
The former actress reveals that she was initially apprehensive about marrying a cricketer. “I wondered how I would get any time with him, but later understood the dynamics of life,” she says, adding that married life has been fabulous.
Recalling some of his memories of Hyderabad, Harbhajan or Bhajji as he is affectionately known, says, “The best one was when I scored my second century here against New Zealand. Also, when I was playing an U-16 match, I visited Charminar and took home a small showpiece. I still have it to this day.” Further, he reveals, “Wherever I go, I savour the local cuisines, and for that, I use my cheat day.”
For someone who has played the game for over two decades, Harbhajan describes the opportunity as a blessing. “God has been very kind and I am very grateful for what I have achieved. Not many can have such an opportunity,” he expresses, adding that he’s spiritual and a God-fearing man.
Interestingly, ‘The Turbanator’ eventually turned out to be a composed cricketer. “I have always been competitive and aggressive on-field, but off the field, I am jovial. I made mistakes but I am always learning from them.”
Meanwhile, admitting that motherhood has brought a huge change in her life, Geeta emphasises that her baby is her top priority. Describing herself as a hands-on mother, she says, “I became more patient and empathetic as these are important aspects in parenting.”
Both Bhajji and Geeta complement each other by respecting each others’ priorities, through mutual understanding and giving each other space. “I don’t bring work (cricket) home and vice-versa. In fact, sport (cricket) taught me to stay humble,” says Bhajji, who will soon making his film debut.
“It’s just a special appearance and not a full-length role. The filmmakers said that I have to just be myself and need not act (chuckles). It simply happened out of the blue,” he recalls.
As to whether he is missing out on the game, Bhajji informs that his priorities have changed. “I played cricket for two decades, and my game gave me everything. But after my kid was born, I consciously decided to go easy because I wanted to spend more time with the family, who will always be my priority,” he clarifies, adding, “If I put in six months of hard work, I can still stage a comeback. But I am content with the way things are going now. I got more than I asked for.”...