Getting married is one of the most wonderful things to do. But being with someone who belongs to another culture makes things more interesting and more beautiful in every manner.
In Pakistan, there are so many couples who got married to a person who represents a different culture and that always captures the main attention.
Talking about multiculturalism, there’s one couple that comes to our mind that has always been vocal about social issues, expressing love, and many stuff. Wasim Akram and Shaniera Akram are the most gorgeous and glowing couples in sports entertainment.
They have been together for around almost 10 years and shared some brilliant moments. In 2011, they first met then in 2013 they didn’t waste any time and tied the knot.
With Shaniera both are blessed with a daughter and two sons from Wasim’s previous wife. Both of the stars appeared recently on Time Out with Ahsan Khan, where they shared their marriage journey and how they managed to fit in each other’s different planets.
Wasim Akram and Shaniera Akram in conversation with Ahsan Khan
Talking about their first-ever meet-up, Wasim Akram the swing of sultan shared, “I met her at a friend’s BBQ in Melbourne. I was commentating for Star, I think the Indian team was touring.
I used to work for ESPN Star then. She didn’t know who I was… Eventually, I told her that I was kind of a big deal in Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, Shaniera added, “You don’t marry someone from overseas, from a different culture, background, and generation unless it’s something magnificent, right?
But, we didn’t have the luxury of meeting up and seeing each other straight away. So, we had to communicate via phone and build a friendship first to see if it was even going somewhere. I didn’t know anything about cricket. I think that helped.”
Most of you might know that Shaniera is from Australia, when Ahsan asked her about missing her home which is far away, Shaniera said, “I didn’t know [much about Pakistan] to be honest…
But, now, for me, Pakistan is the center of the world. It’s an incredible place. I’ve grown here as a person, as a woman, as a mother, as a wife, and the most important years of my life have been here. I recently went to Australia, and I didn’t know who I was there. It was very weird.”
‘I want to marry a prince’ – Shaniera Akram
Just like every girl in the world has a dream to marry their childhood prince charm. Interestingly Shaniera also had a dream which she revealed. “I found a diary of mine from when I was a little girl, and I had written, ‘Please, God, I want to marry a prince from a faraway land and live like a princess.’
Can you imagine? I did marry a ‘Prince of Swing’ from a faraway land, and I get to dress like a princess every day in these beautiful clothes.”
When Ahsan asked about the cultural differences, Wasim shared that he had always been relatively more familiar with Shaniera’s culture than she had been with his. He further elaborated, “I wasn’t used to Australian culture, but British culture. I played for ten years for Lancashire.
I was there from the age of 21. So, for her, it was different. At most, she had been to Bali. She had never been to India or Pakistan or this part of the world. It was a huge step for her to come in, and Pakistanis accepted her with open arms. The love is mutual, I suppose.”
He added, “I don’t feel [the cultural difference]. I’m used to living with her culture. But, when I want to listen to my music I’ll put my AirPods on. She likes Rahat Fateh Ali Khan so I’ll play that now and then.
But, yeah, we live in Pakistan so it doesn’t feel too different. I get tired of translating though. From our staff to Shaniera and from Shaniera to our staff.”
Wasim also shared how Pakistanis mostly mispronounce her name. “People mispronounce her name often. Shanaira, Shanoora, Shaniqua. I ask them to just read the name once, it’s not that hard to pronounce. Shaniera, like Sakeena.” His wife then chimed in, “Honestly, I think that’s why everyone calls me Bhabhi because they don’t remember my name.”
‘Oh, so cute! Barbie’ – Shaniera Akram
When Shaniera Akram arrived in Pakistan, Wasim revealed that most of the people called her Bhabi (sister-in-law) but she didn’t know the meaning of it.
Wasim added, “When she first arrived here people would call her ‘Bhabhi’ and she’d say, ‘Oh, so cute! Barbie.” I’d say, ‘Not Barbie, it’s Bhabhi.’”
Shaniera Akram for the past few years has been very vocal on social issues and using her social media platform for raising her voice against issues like body shaming, pollution control to road safety. When Ahsan asked her the same thing, she responded, “I don’t think I’m ‘raising’ issues. I think the issues are already on everyone’s mind. As Pakistanis, we have a lot to talk about.
We have so many issues. I merely highlight the ones we don’t talk about as much, and they’re important to me. I feel like anything I do or say that may save a life, for example, ‘Wear a seatbelt,’ ‘Wear a helmet,’ ‘Put your children in the back,’ ‘Don’t play with fire,’ I don’t know.”
Earlier this year, she came forward and urges people to donate their clothes to homeless people in the winter season.
She added, “I’m myself. I’ve grown in this country over the last ten years and I like the person I’ve grown into. But, I felt like I needed to use the power I have for good. If I can save something from destruction, I’ve done my job, that too in just one tweet. A lot of the time, I may upset some people, but if I do good rather than bad then I guess that’s a positive thing.”
On the same, Wasim further added his views, “As celebrities, like you [Ahsan Khan] or other actors and big names in the sport, their actions speak louder than words. I remember I was returning from somewhere, and the traffic police had stopped everyone.
They especially stopped me and showed everyone how I was wearing a belt. If we drive around without a belt with our kid in our lap, that’s not going to go down well with the people of Pakistan.”
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