Monday, October 19, 2009

Andrea Kambli interview on the People Magazine India

Days after Sept 24, which was when he filed his nomination papers for the assembly elections, Vinod Kambli has been regularly spotted canvassing in the Vikhroli-Kanjurmarg constituency he is contesting from. On a few occasions, wife Andrea has also been by his side. Watching vinod interact with residents of a locality where he spent his growing years, Andrea says she has never seen him more at home than he is now. "He's happy to go back to his roots," she says, adding that the poverty he's revisiting, and the children he meets, has touched his heart. "Whether he wins or not, he wants to definitely do something for these people," she says.

By his side will be Andrea, who has been his rock through his toughest times, including the more recent controvery following his appearance on Star Plus's reality show Sach Ka Saamna. Seated across from her husband on the 'hot seat', watching him tackle questions about fidelity and success, she recalls the moment he was confronted with the question - "Do you believe that Sachin [Tendulkar] could have done more to save you from your self-destructive behavious?" The cricketer's shaken reply, "I think yes," instantly made headlines. Looking back Andrea says, "I was more upset than him." Even so she knew that Vinod's close friend Sachin would understand. "He didn't mean to implicate Sachin. Vinod also knew that Sachin would understand what he meant as they have been together for very long."

The 27-year old former model says other things about the show bothered her more. "There were a lot of questions  that could clear misconceptions about him but they didn't come up." For instance, she says, "People think he has an attitude problem. I wanted him to clarify that on the show."

Initially hesitant about making the TV appearance, the couple had hoped it would clear the air about Vinod's abrupt exit from cricket - he played his last Test match 1995 and his last ODI in 2000 after a fantastic start following his Test debut in 1993. Andrea is quick to defend her husband. "Why can't people see that it was his shin injury and the surgery that went wrong [in 2004] that led to an abrupt end to his career?" she asks.

Not a cricket buff when she first met Vinod in 2004 after a common friend invited her over for his birthday, Andrea knew next to nothing about the man who had made a record 664-run partnership with Sachin during a school tourney. "This friend had shown Vinod my picture and he had already taken a liking to me. I didn't know all that. So I met him very normally like a friend, but we hit it off instantly," recalls Andrea. Vinod, who had first married in 1993, was already divorced when he met Andrea. She is pragmatic about his earlier marriage - "When you both decide that it is not working out, you must stop latching on to one another. There is no peace and no love there."

So, two years later when Vinod went down on one knee to propose to Andrea while visiting the church at her old school in Jaipur, she didn't hesitate to say 'Yes'. The couple celebrated their third anniversary on Sept 8 and Andrea is more than happy to have settled down. "I was never very ambitious. Even while modeling, I always wanted to get married and have children," says Andrea, who has walked the ramp with models like Sheetal Malhar, Fleur Xavier and Yana Gupta and starred in commercials for Tanishq, Nescafe, Brylcreem and Digjam. Now working as a beauty consultant, Andrea hopes to have her own salon & practices makeovers on her maids at their Bandra home. "That is my passion - makeovers and transforming people - their hair, their clothes. Transforming somebody makes me feel so happy."

Her biggest transformation, though, has to be the fact that she encouraged Vinod to reconcile with his father. The 37-year-old left home at age 11 to escape domestic abuse, but kept in touch with his mother. "I told Vinod that what has happened has happened. Once his father passes away he will feel guilty [about staying away]," she says, adding that they keep in close touch. The couple's attachment also came across on Sach Ka Saamna when Vinod admitted that Andrea had filled the void left by his mother's death nine years ago. "I wish she had met Andrea," said an emotional Vinod on Tv.

For the family-oriented Andrea, daughter of Anglo-Indian father, Leslie, and Goan Portuguese mother, Severina, her own childhood was far from ideal. "My mother contracted elephantiasis when I was about five or six so her friend, who was a nun, asked my mother to send us girls [sisters Gayle and Melissa and her; she also has a brother Wayne] to Jaipur - where we were taken care of." Andrea, who spent eight years away from home, studied first at St Angela Sophia High School, Jaipur, and later, moved to St Francis Xavier School in Goa. Those years away from home were tough on Andrea. "Now I have to go home to Bandra every 10 days."

There is only one thing that Andrea wants to complete her circle of happiness. "Now that both my sisters have got very cute kids, I keep bugging Vinod that I want a baby now." Vinod, who is a cricket coach with Khel Bharati, is planning to launch his own academy soon. In time, Andrea hopes that they will move into their own house and start a family. "I am all set for motherhood - blissfully happy and ready."

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