He has million-plus fans, but singer Kailash Kher says he grew up almost alone. He ran away from home at 13 and kept to himself. So he didn’t grasp much about relationships, including marriage. When Bonobology got him talking about his marriage, Kailash Kher was pensive. He says they come from two very different worlds: she, an urban, confident, Mumbai girl, he, a loner, a shy man from rural North India. So how does this marriage of two different worlds work? Let the Ishq Anokha singer tell you:
Tell us a little about your spouse.
Sheetal is full of life and a powerhouse of fun. A columnist who writes on serious issues, she champions human rights and social causes and advocates freedom of expression in every sense. She is Mumbai-born and bred, very modern in outlook, very strong, outspoken and a great human being. I was born in Meerut and grew up in Mayur Vihar, in a very traditional family set up, with very North Indian sensibilities; that is till I ran away at 13 (laughs). I hardly have any Kashmiri sensibility, some ancestor of mine probably moved from Kashmir to North India. Since I mostly grew up alone, for me, everything is a learning experience, even relationships. And I learn a lot from Sheetal. She is quite spiritual. We both come from two very different worlds. Thankfully, we both love music she has introduced me to Adele, Coldplay, Melody Garden and more.
Tell us how you met.
Ours was an arranged marriage. I am an artist; it would have been difficult for me to have an arranged marriage. My parents had passed away so some friends introduced us. Artists find themselves stuck on two occasions; with bankers, and with arranged marriages (laughs). The banks don’t trust us, nor do those looking for arranged marriages, because our income is not steady. We live life king-size, but these two are sceptical of us. We married in 2009. I think she didn’t know I was this boring person (laughs). She is 11 years younger to me. Her interest in music, I guess, made her say ‘yes’ to me. She must wonder now what has she signed up for (laughs).
What is your mantra for a happy marriage?
Hum dono ne saal mei shayad 70 din bhi ekathe nahi dekhe, because of my schedule. So, one feels there isn’t enough time to love, so where is the time to fight. Too much of the other is also not too good; guess that’s why we are happy (laughs). There is an excitement of two different souls, no bitterness.
A song that describes your relationship?
Dolat shohrat kya karni, tere pyar ka sahara kafi hai (a Kailash Kher song)
Three qualities in your spouse that make you thank the Universe every day.
Her music sensibility, she introduced me to a lot of world music. She is intelligent toh baat karne mei maza ata hai She writes beautifully.
Related reading: “I became a writer because of my wife” – Ashwin Sanghi
What is the most memorable thing your wife has done for you?
Giving me our son, Kabir, he is six years old. He has filled our world with happiness. I once found life insipid; nothing would impress me, not even awards. Things changed after Kabir, he brought colours to my life again.
Related reading: Our Marriage Survived a Kid
How is your marriage different from your parents’?
Good question, it’s very different. My wife and I are from different backgrounds; our marriage doesn’t have any baggage. Unlike my parents’ marriage, there is equality in our relationship. Our love is on par, and so are we. My parents’ marriage was patriarchal, traditional, so my mother didn’t have much say. There wasn’t much she could change or speak out about in a joint family. Sheetal is very confident. Our marriage gives both of us the freedom to be. Also, Sheetal has to take a lot of decisions on her own, since I am mostly travelling. We discuss things, and, sometimes, my marriage feels like a dream.
What did you learn about marriage from your parents?
Although their marriage was conventional and patriarchal, they both cared for and had a lot of patience with each other. They made compromises for them and us.
What did you learn about yourself from your marriage?
(Laughs) For me everything is learning, I take my relationship too as learning. I am still learning about myself.
What is that one advice you’d like to give your son about relationships?
Life and relationships are a learning experience, be patient.
How do you make your wife smile, when she is angry with you?
What do I know of winning her back or wooing… all I know is to say sorry, so that’s what I do. I say sorry repeatedly. And, it’s time for me to take the flight again. Then, I apologise on the phone…