She is 24 years old and hails from Pakistan, but love knows no borders-cultural or otherwise—for she has competed for and snagged the heart of one of our country’s most eligible bachelors, Trinidad and Tobago cricket captain Daren Ganga.
And while she is happy to have found a partner for life in Ganga and is adjusting to her new life as his wife in Trinidad and Tobago, this spirited young lady has set out to chart her own course. In an exclusive interview with Express Woman correspondent Afiya Butler-Ray, Noorulain Agha-Ganga tells of her childhood in Pakistan, her new life in Trinidad and Tobago, her relationship with Ganga and her own personal dreams and aspirations.
Her name, Noorulain, which means the “light of eyes”, has an exotic sound and calls to mind images of a spirited beauty, dressed in richly colored satin and silk gowns, adorned with gold and diamond jewelry and with deep and beautiful eyes that could entrance you and draw you in. If you see her, you cannot deny that she is extremely beautiful, but Noorulain Agha-Ganga is no trophy wife. As she settles into Trinidad and Tobago society, Agha-Ganga is determined to show the world that she is more than just a beautiful face. To do so, she has chosen to explore a career in the intricate world of fashion design.
“Fashion is a way of life, I have been designing since I know myself,” Agha-Ganga said, a light accent, reminiscent of her homeland, softening her words. She laughed easily. “Presently, I am a Fashion Design student. I already have a Diploma from Pakistan and I am working towards completing my Bachelors Degree at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. From there, I want to go on to study for a Masters Degree in Design.”
Agha-Ganga is the last in a line of 12 children—nine brothers and two sisters—born into a Pakistani family. On her relationship with Daren, Agha-Ganga said while she loved cricket, her husband’s talent on the field had nothing to do with her feelings for him as a man. As a matter of fact, she was careful to explain that their relationship was not one that began with love at first sight. Love developed over time as the couple grew to know and understand each other and realise that they shared many similar goals and had the same values when it came to family life.
She laughed shyly, “I can’t say when I knew he was the one, he just was!”
With love, came marriage, and Agha-Ganga was faced with the difficult decision to uproot from her family home in Pakistan and to start a new life with her husband millions of miles away from everyone else that she knew. She did it courageously and wholeheartedly.
On her personal relationship with Daren today, she fondly refers to her husband as a time machine for his job and cricket commitments, charitable involvements, studies and many endorsements. She said while their relationship required some flexibility as her husband’s life required a lot of time management, she is extremely proud of his many achievements, and the couple has managed to find ways to make their situation work.
“He has achieved a lot at a very young age and his determination, strength and hard work is rarely to be seen these days,” pride lit her eyes as she spoke. “I feel extremely proud of his achievements. I do have my studies that take up most of my time but at the end of the day, when we are at home, it’s our time together.”
And while she jokes that she may not be able to help him on the field as she could barely hold a cricket bat properly, Agha-Ganga states that she is her husband’s number one fan both on and off the field, and actively supports him in those areas where she could help, including at the Daren Ganga Foundation.
Apart from her relationship with Daren, Agha-Ganga says she is still adjusting to Trinbagonian culture, though in most areas it feels like home. She shied away from comparing Trinbagonian society to Pakistan’s.
“They are two completely different places with different societies and cultures,” she said. “Each has its own flavour and beauty. Pakistan is where I grew up so that would always be home and Trinidad is where I am building a new life now so they are both equally dear to me.”
When she spoke about the election of our Prime Minister Mrs Kamla Persad-Bissessar, some of Agha-Ganga’s spiritedness shone through.
“I personally feel intelligence has nothing to do with one’s gender,” she said simply. “All that matters is to have a good leader who cares for the people. Recent studies have already shown that over 60 per cent of the management and business positions (globally) are held by women. At the end of the day, it is hard work and faith in oneself is what matters.”
But how has Agha-Ganga set out to carve her own niche as an individual and set her own stamp on society? Smiling cheekily, she deftly steers the conversation back to the world of design.
“It is who I am,” she said simply.
And to those who may attempt to dismiss Agha-Ganga as “just another seamstress”, the feisty Pakistani has her own views about the world of fashion design globally and here in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry globally,” she spoke slowly and clearly. “Trinidad and Tobago has a lot to offer to the world. This country has an extremely rich history and culture, but having a rich history is just not enough. It is my view that designers in Trinidad and Tobago, including myself, should look to develop our own textile Industry here soon and make our mark globally.”
She is confident of one thing—that she has her husband’s full support.
“Without him, his help and understanding, his support, I would not be able to do this,” she said. “I am interested more in designing women’s wear but I will definitely be designing for him.”