There is not much distance between Kolkata and Dhaka. Mithila and Srijit have proved it again. Two celebrities from two countries were married on December 6 last year. After two months, the newly married couple shared their story of coming together with TBS.
The first time he heard Rafiath Rashid Mithila, Bangladeshi's versatile artist, singing, Srijit Mukherji cast his mind.
"She sang Anjan Dutta's 'Mary Ann', strumming the guitar. It's definitely a striking moment I can talk about. I could feel like I was falling for her," said the Kolkata filmmaker.
Mithila and Srijit first met on Facebook. They shared mutual friends and, perhaps, a lot of mutual contemplation of life.
In less than a few weeks, Srijit felt a deep sense of reliability with Mithila. Even then, Mithila and Srijit never met in real life. Communication was limited to video calls and messages. Straightforward Srijit asked her if she wanted to make something meaningful out of this friendship.
"I was a single mother. I couldn't afford to be impulsive, my responsibilities didn't allow me," said Mithila, calm and poised, although by then she already knew that their way of looking at life was entangled. After that, Srijit came to Dhaka and both hearts found an answer to what had just happened to their lives.
The four-time national award-winning filmmaker acknowledged that soon after he fell in love, it was his age that took him into marriage.
"The moment I met Mithila, I knew she was going to be the one. So I set a wedding date for December. Why wait? I am old enough!" Srijit said, smiling.
"Also I was tired of hiking in different ways of life. I needed a little stability, a little warmth. Mithila felt like home," confessed 42-year-old Srijit happily.
While Mithila believes that it was Srijit's simplicity and altruistic approach that triggered her feelings for him, Srijit almost made a checklist. Mithila managed two masters, is a brilliant actress and singer, and her taste in music is as refined as her sonorous voice. It may sound a little crazy, but the practical Srijit firmly believes that these properties have played a role in the development of things!
"She is a development worker, artist and a mother. In a society where people make everything difficult for a single mother, Mithila was constantly dealing with it, with so much dignity." All of these have been presented with love and awe in Srijit's subconscious.
How easy was it for their families to accept this saga? Mithila's siblings were excited about the whole thing, but her parents held back. Meanwhile, Srijit's mother and sister were ready to welcome Mithila to the family. Apparently it was also possible to convince Mithila's concerned parents.
"Both the mothers of Mithila and mine have already become very good friends. My mother-in-law said it would have been easier had the families met earlier," Srijit added.
Although it took a while to dispel the parents' doubts, Mithila's seven-year-old daughter Ayra accepted him on the first day. For Ayra, Srijit is her Bu, sometimes Abbu, and even Srijit by name, especially when she has to search YouTube on Srijit's phone. Well, Ayra has a few other tactics to bribe Srijit. Say a few kisses on his cheek and Ayra gets every gift she wants!
Srijit attributed Ayra's fantastic upbringing to her mother, Mithila, and her father, Tahsan Khan, an eminent singer-songwriter and actor.
"I grew up in a broken family," Srijit also related himself to little Ayra, "and I know the emotional trauma a child goes through in a broken marriage. That's why I am grateful to Ayra's parents, despite their differences, they never let them affect their daughter. Ayra is an amazing kid!"
"I have met Tahsan. He is a gentleman. And I'm also a big fan of his works," Srijit said. Mithila and Tahsan's duet Agochore is always at the top of Srijit's list of favourite songs.
Mithila interrupted in between, "One of the first people I talked to about Srijit was Tahsan. He supported us incredibly."
Srijit stays silent for a while and starts again, "I do not know how people in Bangladesh look at these wonderful dimensions of relationships, but I still hope they can appreciate this."
Srijit considered Bangladesh to be his own country. His father is from Bikrampur, and his mother is from Mymensingh, so Bangladesh has its roots deep in his heart.
"I'm grateful to be so loved and supported by you here. I assume that in the days to come I will continue to receive this affection and support," Srijit said.
Does belonging to two different countries require additional efforts to adapt to each other? Both are flexible about cultural differences. As a Bangladeshi, Mithila uses unique expressions and phrases that are slightly different from those of Srijit. It is clear that these little variations keep things going.
After a lovely honeymoon trip to Greece, Srijit and Mithila were back to work. Both plan to move to the same country sometime, but not soon.
"Once Srijit gets a break from shooting, he comes here and whenever I get a leave from my work, I go to visit him. Now we're doing stuff like that. In the near future, we plan on living together. I think we're finally going to settle in Kolkata," said Mithila.
And is there something annoying to each other? "Yes, Srijit sometimes nags like a child for small things. Even Ayra can't bother me that much!" Mithila made a face. Srijit looked at her and sheepishly asked, "You see, there is an aquarium. Let's just go over there!"
Mithila-Srijit approached it; even the goldfish seemed to hear their stories quietly.