Chit Chat With: NAJEEB & QUBA
Live: Everybody dreams as a child of becoming something when they grow up. When did you realise you wanted to become a sports anchor?
Najeeb: So, just like every other thing in life, this was not planned either. I’m very spontaneous; I live my life in the present, don’t think about the future and that’s how this also happened. My field was computers and I was teaching as well. I used to do radio on FM 101. Back in 2003, I found out that PTV was starting night transmission, which was supposed to be live from midnight to 3am. Before this I had never worked for a TV channel.
I went over and saw experienced people there. My audition also lasted barely 20 minutes and I thought I won’t make the cut. Then they called me and said since your interest was in sports you’d do a show on Tuesdays; there was a woman co-anchor who was supposed to join me and every day there was a separate topic such as drama, film, sports, religion etc, so they had their entire week planned.
When I got there, I found out that the co-anchor didn’t want to do it anymore. So I did that transmission all by myself with Moeen Khan and Mohsin Khan, whom I worked with several times after that. To my surprise it went really well for a first time. I’d credit Mr Athar Waqar Azeem for this who instilled the confidence in me for my first live transmission. The next day he explained to me that this was TV and not radio that you were constantly relaxing during the interview.
So, I realised I needed to do this more. And at that time there was only one private channel, which was Indus. So I continued doing it, kept receiving offers, hence shifted to this side completely.
Live: When did you develop interest in sports?
Najeeb: I used to play and was really interested in sports in my school days and I was really into activities any way. I still play squash. Just recently a friend suggested I try golf, so I’m planning that with him when the weather cools down a bit. So, I love trying different sports. And this isn’t normal because in our part of the world, boys, especially, are passionate about cricket.
Live: So you were lucky that your passion became your profession.
Najeeb: Yes, my hobby, my interest became my profession. And I love it every day of my life. My wife (Quba) often asks me if I feel weird going on air every day. I feel I get excited during that countdown to a live transmission; I feel now I can say whatever I want to say. So I feel blessed and lucky.
Live: How did you guys meet and get married?
Najeeb: It’s been at least 10 years but seems like a lifetime. We met when I was teaching and she used to take a course there, but I wasn’t her teacher! We met through a common friend and didn’t really keep talking for long. I told my mother about it after some time because I had always thought I’d get over with this part of life. When I got married I was 26, which is very young and never realised it. I also realised I found a really good friend really quickly.
Live: How did you feel about it? The whole marriage thing?
Quba Hasnain: He was nice.
Live: That’s it?
Najeeb: No offence, but I liked girls who talked less, were soft spoken. So she hardly talked. But I found out later that wasn’t the case (laughs). She talks less and just stays in her own shell. So, in this case opposites attracted; I love talking, being the center of attention in a conversation. She just wants to stay on the side and not be seen much.
Live: Who’s the more dominant out of you two? Seems it’s you, Najeeb?
Najeeb: See, it’s a partnership no matter how dominant one is. It’s not that I don’t listen to my wife but it’s about your nature. I don’t make a lot of friends but the ones that I have, they listen to me. So, she also understands. But it’s mutual. She makes it look like I’m being followed and obeyed but she gets her way without saying anything.
Live: What’s the secret to a happy married life?
Najeeb: I think don’t complicate things; it’s very simple. I told her right after we got married not to call me at work, and now it’s been almost 11 years and she hasn’t called. Even if she does she first tells me that this is the reason so don’t get irritated. Because she knows she doesn’t need to ask for the smallest things; she’s independent herself and I’m not burdened at all. She lives her life her way and I do it my way; we don’t disturb each other’s lives. So in these 11 years I feel things shouldn’t be complicated. She gets upset easily, but I tell her to let things go, so other than that everyone should be given their space and understand each other.
Live (To Quba): Are you a housewife or do you do something?
Quba Hasnain: I’m a designer. I design for kids.
Live: How many kids do you have? Do you design for them?
Quba Hasnain: Two. Yeah, of course.
Najeeb: She started with our daughter and a lot of people would appreciate that, and she had it in her. So I asked her to go ahead and do it and she did it on her own and now she’s doing really well. Her brand is called ‘Tiny Threads’, which is mostly online, but she does it all by herself.
Live: Is it difficult to manage work and home?
Quba Hasnain: It’s not difficult because I work thrice a week. So it’s manageable.
Najeeb: See, I said she handles the house, not kids. I’m the one who takes care of the kids (laughs).
Live: Who’s friendlier with the children?
Najeeb: My daughter complains that when I leave for work early morning because of the World Cup I don’t wake her up and meet her. My kids are really attached to me.
Live (To Quba): What do you find most annoying about the kids since they’re really close to him?
Quba Hasnain: That they’re always clinging on to Najeeb. I feel irritated.
Najeeb: She wants privacy. But I think when I’m at home they’re literally fixed with me.
Live: Who’s the one who gives the most surprises on birthdays and special occasions?
Quba Hasnain: Mostly him.
Najeeb: Recently, she gave me a surprise on Father’s Day along with our children. So it’s never too late. It happened 11 years later, but at least it happened. And I wasn’t expecting it because never had such a thing happened.
Quba Hasnain: It doesn’t matter to me if nobody surprises me. But it’s a huge thing in his family.
Najeeb: In my family it’s a thing that a cake would be ready at midnight. But for her it’s no big deal.
Live: So Najeeb tell us, when you’re doing live transmissions and the national team is either losing or playing poorly, do you feel angry and show it on screen?
Najeeb: Call it good or bad, but our society’s problem is that negativity comes out better on screen. It’s the same with sports; critical programmes do better, but when there’s good news nobody watches because everybody knows about it; there’s nothing to watch: someone’s making a century, taken 5 wickets etc. But when a team or player’s performance goes bad then your analytical expertise come out. So, people watch that more. I’m not talking about myself, but my experts also. Even they speak well when criticising. So, that’s good for a show. Unfortunately, in the last 10-12 years, that’s what’s doing well, the team is going really bad.
Live: What do you say to those people who say that our team is only meant to play for India? Even when they lost to India, there was a lot of criticism that they went to eat or hang out. It’s just a game, right?
Najeeb: No, it’s professionalism. It’s not just a game. Like everything else, cricket is also incentive based. When you’re being paid, respected and for a cricketer it’s a huge honour to represent Pakistan, so they should be a little careful. As far as the pictures and videos are concerned, I said it on my shows also that they were from a night before. What do you think, Malik and Wahab don’t know the pictures and videos won’t be leaked? So, they were recorded earlier. The players don’t go to a prison, they have to eat, hang out, live their lives and in between play matches. But if they’re violating curfew time that’s imposed on players then that’s wrong, but they have a personal life also.
Live: Once again, who remembers all the important dates? Wedding anniversary, birthday etc?
Najeeb: We both remember the dates. We don’t do anything is another thing.
Live: Quba, how do you get along with his family?
Quba Hasnain: It was easy. Very easy. His family is very easygoing. I never had any difficulty; it’s a small family; his parents and two sisters both of whom are much older.
Live (To Quba): What is the one thing that you don’t like about him?
Quba Hasnain: He nags a lot.
Najeeb: I get irritated easily I admit that. She’s right. I get cranky really quickly.
Live (To Najeeb): What is the one thing you don’t like about her?
Najeeb: She sleeps a lot. I sleep for short time. I don’t get upset that she sleeps more but that I sleep less. So that doesn’t match. I can’t go to sleep again after I get up, but she can continue right from that point.
Live: What do you like about her?
Najeeb: She is very good when we confront a panicking situation. I would get scared as if the world has ended but she’d be like ‘So, what?’ So this was a very important characteristic for my partner because I always panic and she handles the biggest worries lightly that it’s not the end of the world, we can handle it and solve it. So this is what I like about her.
Live (To Quba): What’s the one thing you like about him?
Quba Hasnain: He’s very responsible towards kids, family, everything.
Live: Najeeb, if your children want to pursue a career in the media, would you allow them?
Najeeb: Yes of course. Why not? See, this is really a thing of that past and a myth that the media isn’t a good place. Good or bad people exist in all fields. I want them to complete their education, which is another good thing. I didn’t focus much but my daughter recently stood first in her class, so my wife focuses a lot on studies; she’s very specific. They should study first and then do whatever they want because I was never asked by my family what I was doing. So whatever they like they should do, but first study properly, which is most important.
Live: Who’s your favourite player?
Najeeb: My favourite player is like my elder brother: his name is Younas Khan. He’s an excellent cricketer and an even better human being, which is why I like him.
Live: Message for the readers..
Najeeb: The same that I said to my children, whatever the profession is, give your 100%. Never stop learning. Whenever I go for my show I pretend as if I don’t know anything. I see a lot of people on TV taking things for granted. They come only 5 minutes earlier and make it a daily routine. But I think one should be prepared. Learn as much as possible regarding whatever you’re doing. The day you think you’re the best and you know everything, that’s the end because from there you stop growing and you don’t think about doing anything else.