The very versatile and multi-facted actor, writer Pooja Bedi throws light on why is it essential to keep laughter, happiness, and a positive attitude as key ingredients for the emotional well-being of the family.. An exclusive, read on..
The film industry is a complex space – a whirl of talent, greasepaint and lights. A dream factory that is more often surreal than the magic it creates on the celluloid. For female actors, who are the most visible denizens of this world, motherhood just doesn’t mean the same thing as it does for rest of us. While many assume a new avatar as a full-time mother, some disappear from the public eye. However, for actor, presenter and socialite Pooja Bedi, the shuttle between her personal and professional life continues. So, what drives her decisions related to motherhood – are they circumstances, time, or simply the heart? We set out to discover the same. In this interview, the glamorous actor shares insight on her life as a mum…
Cinema is part of Pooja Bedi’s DNA and her gorgeous looks still make her exceptional in front of her contemporaries. The mother of two grown up kids – Alaya F and Omar Ebrahim – talks her heart about her parenting secrets, her happiness mantras, and why life is beautiful…
What does ‘motherhood’ mean to you?
Motherhood is an incredible emotional experience. It made my life special right from the day I got to know that I am pregnant to the moment when I held my baby in my arms. And from that very moment, I have nurtured, protected and prepared my children for a beautiful life ahead.
How did motherhood bring about positive changes in you?
Yes, motherhood has changed me in every possible way. Physically, it meant that I had to work hard to stay in shape. Personally, it brought a huge change in my way of living, I had to give up an impulsive traveller. It made me incredibly responsible as well. Financially, it made me save for my children’s future. And emotionally, it made me alert and protective for my children.
Your take on being a single parent and how the journey was?
I sometimes feel like Goddess Durga with 10 arms. Multitasking as a single mom is chaotic. I a m a nurturer, a provider, the mom and dad of the house, the pet owner and the memsaab as well. I juggle between a hectic social calendar and my professional life, which involves television, films, writing columns and hosting shows. I am also associated with a charitable institution. It all boils down to time management and I am making sure that I have plenty of energy to get through the day. In the end, it’s never about getting it done. It’s about getting it done with a happy face. I’m always smiling, laughing and making sure that the environment at home is always positive, fun and high on energy.
What is the most-challenging aspect of being a working parent?
Being a working parent is a lot easier with two kids as I know that they are there with each other and won’t be bored or lonely without me. For me, the distressing point is when I am required to be away from them for a long period of time. Now, they are giving new dimensions to their careers, mostly I am a satisfied mom.
Do you often compare yourself with your mother in terms of parenting style?
My mom was an amazing parent with an amazing heart, but she was also a liberal, free-spirited and a completely out of the box parent. She never threw any deadlines for coming home at nights, never reprimanded for my microminis and never quizzed me on my friends and whereabouts. Today, when I look back, I would say that I am completely the opposite. I am concerned with what they wear and have strict deadlines for them being back home.
However, there are numerous similarities between us. We are both affectionate, with cuddling being a constant feature at home. I take them for holidays and have tonnes of sports and adventure thrown in just as she did. She was a single parent, and so am I. I have learnt from her why is it important to keep laughter, happiness, and a positive attitude as the key ingredients in a home, especially for the emotional well-being of the kids.
How do you connect emotionally with your children?
I have a wonderful emotional bond with them. They know what I have gone through and how much effort I have put in to ensure that their lives are amazing on a daily basis. I’m the one always teaching them, guiding them, being their rock of Gibraltar and yet be playful as I’d like to be.
How do you manage to take out time from a busy professional life?
My children are my number one priority. I do not believe in being a dictator. My children are incredibly disciplined and responsible. Discipline is based on habits, conditioning, value systems, respect, and trust. It should never be a dictorial imposition. My children have been taught to be polite, punctual, diligent, responsible for their daily tasks and schedules. They are respectful to elders, kind to the staff and loving towards animals and children. I think, the most important thing is to lead and teach by example. Children are like sponges, they absorb everything. My kids are gentle, kind and sensitive souls. Their only idea of being naughty is to be irreverent with me, make m personality and whirlwind life the centre of their jokes. We have crazy happy family evenings around diner tables, laughing till our stomachs hurt.
Do you see any difference in today’s academics and that of 20 years back?Everything is so much more competitive. The focus back then was purely on academics whereas it is now about being an allrounder. My daughter is a brilliant artist, and is doing fabulously in her career. Omar on the other hand was also brilliant in his studies, especially math, science and foreign languages.
Values that you would like to see your children to grow up with?
I would expect them to always obey the law, be respectful to elders, fight against corruption, protect, respect and emancipate women, speak up for what is right, be good to people who work for them, never use abusive language, and do all the charity that their hearts and pockets can afford. You can’t stop the rain from falling, but you can put up an umbrella. I have instilled in my son a deep respect for women, to protect them, to care for them and to help them if he ever sees them in trouble.
One virtue you want your children to grow up with.
Honesty. I think it’s the most undervalued quality, but the most essential. Be it professionally, socially, morally or personally, it’s the honesty that keeps you sane, gives you the inner power and guides you correctly, and in return keeps you happy.
What is your take on being your children ‘star kids’?
Glamour is a way of life for us. It’s not something to be ashamed of or something that is corrupting. The problem arises only when people or children develop a superior attitude because of the ‘celebrity status’ or take things for granted, which is not the case as far as my children are concerned.
Foods that you all enjoy?We all are great foodies. We love the great Indian butter chicken, Thai
green curry, Italian food, especially a thin crust pizza. They love my cooking, especially my lasagne bolognaise, stuffed cannelloni, chicken stew, soupy rice and nachos.
A hobby that you all cherish?As a trio, we enjoy sporty stuff, be it water sports, swimming, ATV driving and anything that is adventurous.
Five things you always pack for a vacation with your kids?
A camera because to me, life is a series of amazing memories. A sunblock lotion because we love the outdoors.Snacks as we always get crave munchies at unearthly hours. A hand sanitiser to keep safe and battery chargers for everything.
What are your favourite travel destinations in India and abroad?
Goa for its proximity, the amazing food and its beaches and adventure sports. Apart from thatAmerica, Thailand and Italy tops our list.
These amazing photographs are shot by @JituSavlani.