Tolgay and Serap at the South City Apartments
Pictures: Rashbehari Das
Serap, what is it like living with someone who’s mostly away?
Tolgay: Hey, I am here! I am here!
Serap: He is here today but... it depends on his schedule....
Tolgay: It’s good for me too. I need some alone-time!
Serap: That’s his job and I have to support and understand that.
How did you meet?
Tolgay: We know each other from high school... 12-13 years ago... and we have the same group of friends.
Serap: We weren’t dating at 12!
Tolgay: We have been together for a year-and-a-half.
Living together in a foreign country must have been a tough decision to take...
Tolgay: Well, I only get two months at home (Australia) and 10 months I am here (Calcutta). We’d rather spend those 10 months together. It was a bit harder for Serap because she had to leave her job and a lot of other things…
Serap: It was tough but if you have to make a relationship work, you have to do what’s best for both of you. Before I came here, I did not believe the craze about football. After seeing Facebook and online newspapers, I realised....
Tolgay: I think you just don’t realise until you come here and see how crazy the support for football is!
Serap: I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else!
What don’t you like about Tolgay?
Tolgay: She might not say it… but when she sees that I depend on her for everything. Clean, cook.... ‘Serap, where is my T-shirt?’, ‘Serap, where is my Mohun Bagan shirt?’
Serap: I don’t mind.... He has already got a lot on his plate to worry about. I try and do as much as I can to make life easier for him.
Tolgay: I love her when I see everything is just so easy for me. We’ve got a routine together. When I come back from training, we have breakfast or go out to eat.... She is the most important part of my life at the moment.
Tolgay has a lot of female fans...
Serap: As long as I know where his heart is.... I hope it’s with me!
Is marriage on the cards?
Tolgay: There are plans… hopefully next year.
Any plans to settle in Calcutta?
Tolgay: There is no reason for us to leave Calcutta anytime soon. That was one of the major reasons for me not moving to a club in Goa. We both really enjoy Calcutta. There is always something to do.
Serap: The people here are great and our decision not to move away was a joint one. We love it here.
What do you like to do together?
Tolgay: Every night at 10pm, we watch Grey’s Anatomy! We get our movie tickets keeping Grey’s Anatomy in mind!
Serap: We sound so obsessed!
That’s how you bend it! Tolgay teaches Serap a trick or two
Tolgay: We like playing Monopoly. I also like to play FIFA on PlayStation but Serap doesn’t like it. She gets upset when I have friends over, playing FIFA for two-three hours.
Serap: I don’t get upset!
Tolgay: She just grabs one of her little books and sits in a corner.
Serap: What else can I do when the house (in South City Apartments) is full of footballers playing football on PlayStation? They don’t involve me in their game or ask me to play with them!
Are you into football?
Serap: I do enjoy it and I have taken more interest in the I-League.... When you have someone in your life who is associated with it, it makes you enjoy it even more.
Tolgay: Nothing’s better than when your partner supports you in what you do.
Any other sport that you enjoy?
Tolgay: I do like tennis. Serap enjoys the rugby league we have in Australia.
Serap: We have started taking an interest. We went to the India vs Pakistan match at Eden Gardens. That was our first cricket match!
Tolgay: We are definitely going to make an effort to watch as many KKR games as possible as long as we don’t have matches.
Serap: We have picked our team and we are going to get jerseys!
Serap, being fashion conscious, do you decide what Tolgay wears?
Tolgay: In the morning, when I go for practice I need to get dressed before Serap wakes up, or she’ll be like, ‘Don’t wear that!’ I have got about five short-sleeved buttoned-up white shirts and she tells me I always wear those! I like white.
Serap: He loves shoes. If we are going to a shoe shop, he goes to the ladies’ section first to look for shoes for me. He likes me to dress well. Sometimes I go against what he wants me to wear.
What would you like him to try?
Serap: The bow tie. It is a trend at the moment. I did buy him one.
Tolgay: I haven’t worn it because I would have to do my top button up. And I can’t breathe!
Serap is always picture perfect!
Tolgay: I hate that! She looks at the mirror 10 times!
Serap: I don’t!
Tolgay: She will walk out of the door and then she will go back saying, ‘I’ll put the other shoes on!’ But, I understand... that’s what women are!
Serap: I think it is very important for a woman to feel confident in what she wears. I won’t walk out of the house in what I went to sleep in! I am not over-the-top but if I am going somewhere, I do put in an effort.
Who is more romantic?
Tolgay points at Serap
Serap: He does like to surprise me. Sometimes he comes back home with presents.... He is very affectionate. He is not afraid to hug me in public. He is not shy to show the way he feels for someone. That’s what I love.
What is the most romantic thing Serap has done for you?
Serap: I moved to India for you!
Tolgay: The most romantic thing she has done is buy me my iPad which says: “Property of my hubby...”
Serap: Last February, he had an away match. When I saw him at the airport, he had a Valentine’s Day present for me. He had bought me what I wanted for so long… an SLR camera. He just opened his backpack and said, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day!’ I had not expected it.
Tolgay: This Valentine’s Day is going to be cheaper for me! (Laughs)
Tolgay’s favourite dish:
Serap: He likes my cooking... the baked dinners… baked chicken. He is not a fussy eater.
Dreams for each other...
Serap: My dream for him is to be happy in whatever he does.
Tolgay: That was also what I was going to say!
Serap: Think of something else!
Tolgay: If she is not happy, I am not happy.
Serap: We try to live each other’s dreams.
Tolgay: She would like to travel to Paris, Maldives, Dubai, the Greek islands.
Serap: We love travelling!
Tolgay: My favourite is the islands in Thailand.
t2: Your fave footballer?
Serap: I am a Cristiano Ronaldo fan. We had gone to see some of the stadiums of Real Madrid and Barcelona...
Tolgay: ...And Cristiano was there
(inset, Serap with Cristiano)!
t2: Which girl isn’t a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo!
Serap: That’s what I try to tell him!
Tolgay: I don’t mind. I am not one bit jealous. Even I can date Cristiano Ronaldo! (Laughs)… No, no…. But Cristiano Ronaldo is my all-time favourite. For Serap to feel the same… good… we are on the same wavelength.
Serap: But for different reasons!