Hyderabad: A day after Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik divorced his first wife Ayesha Siddiqui, preparations began on Thursday for his marriage to Indian tennis star Sania Mirza.
The mood of tension and anxiety prevailing at Sania's house at Jubilee Hills for the last few days turned into that of celebrations Thursday as the arrival of relatives and friends began.
Though the divorce to Ayesha would make Sania the second wife of Shoaib, the two families were relieved over an amicable end to the bitter row.
The two families no longer fear Shoaib's arrest, the visits of police officials to the house for questioning and the wild accusations from Ayesha's family which had dampened the celebrations.
With the arrival of Shoaib's mother and other family members Wednesday night, hectic activity was seen at Sania's house on Thursday. Preparations began to treat the Pakistani guests with biryani and other lip-smacking Hyderabadi dishes.
As Sania's family feared postponement of the marriage, scheduled for April 15, due to the controversy, it was only on Thursday that dozens of workers were seen bringing basmati rice, mutton and other provisions to the house.
The family members were also seen driving in and out of the house to the market to do the shopping. While Sania's wedding dress is being designed in Delhi, the family would buy the other bridal wear in Hyderabad.
Shoaib and Sania preferred to remain indoors ever since the Muslim community leaders Wednesday announced that the former Pakistani skipper has divorced Ayesha. They came out to receive Shoaib's mother Sultana Farooq and other family members.
The guests include Shoaib's brother Adil Malik, sisters Shazia Imran and Sadaf Imran, nephew Mamoon Imran and niece Zainab Imran.
Shoaib's brother-in-law Zafar Imran, who had arrived in Delhi on Tuesday to consult lawyers, is likely to arrive here later in the day. Some more relatives and friends of the bridegroom are also expected to arrive from Pakistan.
Sania's family has already distributed invitation cards for the wedding. About 500 guests have been invited to the reception to be held at Taj Krishna hotel.
Interestingly, it was at the same hotel that Sania was engaged to her childhood friend Sohrab Mirza July 10 last year amid much fanfare. The tennis ace called off the engagement Jan 28 this year citing 'incompatibility'.
It was on March 29 that the Pakistani media reported that Shoaib would be marrying Sania, who confirmed this the next day.
However, the past returned to haunt Shoaib as Ayesha Siddiqui demanded divorce before he married Sania. While Shoaib landed here much early to clear his name, Ayesha filed a complaint with the police, queering the pitch for the cricketer.
While Ayesha alias Maha claimed that Shoaib married her over phone in 2002 and they even lived together as wife and husband, the latter said he married the girl whose pictures were sent to him.
As the row took a dirty turn threatening Shoaib and Sania's marriage, a compromise formula was arrived at following mediation by some community leaders and well wishers of the families of Sania and Ayesha.