Mum's the word
From the womb, all the way to the applause. She's held your hand, played advisor and, most importantly, cherished your success. Getting into retro mode before Mother's Day, The Guide team spoke with seven mothers and their offspring with similar interests and causes, as they look back at the lessons learnt, and the seamless love patterns that interlace their common passion
Radha, Kaushalya and Yamini Reddy [Classical Dance]
Just a fortnight ago, Yamini Reddy became the proud mother to a son, adding a new generation to the Reddy family, who are renowned Kuchipudi dancers. Yamini is one of the few people to be blessed with two mothers, Kaushalya and Radha. Kaushalya married Kuchipudi dancer Raja Reddy, who was already married to her older sister Radha. The two sisters have together raised two daughters Yamini and Bhavna in a loving household. While Kaushalya (40) has been more of a friend to Yamini and Bhavna, Radha (60) has been more of a mother. “I am a mother to all three of them,” admits Radha, who has been performing with Bhavna and Yamini since they were young. The beaming grandmother is thrilled to have a grandson and hopes to perform with him as well. “I played the role of Radha with Bhavna as Krishna, and now I want to play Yashoda to my grandson,” she says.
Though their mothers never asked them to, Bhavna and Yamini independently chose to take up the same field. Apart from dance, Bhavna is also into music and is currently in Hollywood undergoing voice training in Jazz, Rock and Blues. “We have always had a great time together. My daughters and I have always been great friends, travelling and having fun together,” says Kaushalya. Yamini, who has devoted herself to classical dance, feels that giving birth to a son has helped her understand her mothers better. “The one thing that I have learnt from them is hard work. They have been extremely loving and patient with us and have always struck a balance between personal and professional life. I hope to do the same with my child,” avers Yamini.
- Surekha S
Ritu Kumar and Amrish Kumar [Fashion]
“It’s a wonderful feeling, specially when you see your child bringing something new to the table, and not just following what was already there. A young line is coming up because of Amrish. So, I think that is very satisfying,” explains 67-year-old Ritu Kumar, who has strode India’s fashion landscape for nearly four decades. Although, the ace designer has immense experience, she has no qualms in admitting that she learns a lot from her son Amrish, who started working with her as a designer few years back.
“Through his eyes, I have been able to gauge the perspective of the younger generation, something which wouldn’t have been easy for me if I had to do it myself. He thinks young and knows what this generation needs,” believes the designer. Son Amrish too is all praise for his mother because of whom he entered the industry. “I wanted to start a contemporary line to account for expanding consumer tastes, but to a very large extent, I stepped into this industry because of my mother,” he confirms. “I am trying my best to imbibe her professionalism and aesthetics. Often, I take advice from her because I know she’ll be able to guide me well,” admits the 33-year-old.
- Ruchika Kher
Mithu Alur and Malini Chib [Social service]
In the 1960s, schools in India were not adequately equipped to cater to the needs of children who were differently abled. Mithu Alur knew this to be true from personal experience, when in 1966, her daughter, Malini Chib, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the term for a group of conditions that makes movement and speech difficult. Determined to provide their daughter with a quality education, Alur and her husband left the country for London. Two years later, Alur had completed her training in the field of Special Education from the University of London. A few years later, the family returned to India after the birth of their son, Nikhil; returning also to the harsh reality that the country was still indifferent to the needs of the differently abled. In 1972, armed with her training as a special educator, Alur, now 68, went on to found The Spastics Society of India, now known as ADAPT (Able Disable All People Together).
“From being a special school with three children, ADAPT has developed a movement for disabled people in the country,” says the recipient of the Padma Shri, one of the country’s highest civilian honours. Malini, one of four students from the Centre For Special Education who made history by being incorporated into mainstream higher education for the first time in the country, would go on to complete her Bachelor’s degree from St Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Today, Malini (46), who is an activist for disability rights and the Founder Chairperson of the ADAPT Rights Group, has a Double Masters and has published her autobiography titled, One Little Finger, last year. Recalling her favourite moments with her mother — “when she makes me stand up from my wheelchair and she and I dance together” — Malini, who is on vacation in London, says she would like for her mother to know: “That I love her deeply and that I hope I never let her down.” “I am proud of both of my children,” says Alur, who is also mom to restaurateur Nikhil Chib. She adds, “I would like for mothers to be good friends to their children and allow them to be independent — intellectually — so that they can make their own decisions for the good of all.”
- Aviva Dharmaraj
Amita and Bhakti Mehta [Gourmet caterers]
“Food was always a passion. I learned to cook from mum, who was a housewife,” recalls the 27-year-old Bhakti, who quit her marketing job with a TV channel to start Little Food Co. with her mother Amita. This two-year-old home-style gourmet catering service offers Italian, Mexican, Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. “It was a big gamble for us but it clicked. Now, I get to spend more time with her. On the flip side, she points out my mistakes, is strict about cleanliness and nags me to collect payments,” laughs Bhakti who along with her 57-year-old mum caters to groups ranging from 25 to 100 people. Amita admits she is the luckiest mum: “I don’t have technical or marketing know-how but Bhakti is good at it. We share a rapport; I am open to learning from her.”
Amita honed her skills at cooking classes and experimentations with western food over weekends, over 25 years. Bhakti picked up pointers from her over summer vacations leading to innovations including the popular Thai Pani Puri, which was a fluke creation thanks to leftover puris and Thai Curry. While Bhakti looks into innovative marketing mantras, execution of orders and staff supervision at the venue, Amita handles the merchandising, vendor meetings, sourcing and packing. The duo that hosts nearly 10 parties a week take separate vacations to soak in different cuisines. “We complement each other — mom has tons of practical experience while I bring in the creativity,” concludes Bhakti.
- Soma Das
Ilaand Ishita Arun [Performing Arts]
“I just received four artistic glasses from Ishita for Mother’s Day,” informs Ila Arun before she breaks into praises about her daughter. “She is a very lovable child and makes me very proud. But she has her own identity. It has been an amazing feeling to see her blooming the way she has,” Ila exclaims. Though she feels that Ishita is an amazing singer and dancer as well, Ishita chose acting as her career. “When I saw her work with carpenters and slog it out for her newly-opened design company, D se dijhaeen, my respect for her increased even more,” she gushes. Venturing into the same field as her mother, acting came naturally to Ishita Arun: “It was in my genes,” she says. Ishita has also been dabbling with theatre and her design company.
Though Ila Arun has worked in theatre, films and singing, Ishita was clear about staying put in theatre. In the play Mareechika, which premiered two years back, she shared the stage with her mother for the first time. “I have been dancing in my mothers’ shows for 10 to 15 years and have acted in many of her plays before. My mother is a tough taskmaster. She emphasises on a lot of practice. Earlier, I would not understand these aspects, but now, I get it,” admits Ishita. She believes that her relationship with her mother concretised to a large extent in the last two years. “My relationship has taken a 360-degree turn. Over the years I have understood its value, I have found a friend in her. There is a deep sense of debt and gratitude. In fact, I feel more motherly towards her now,” she admits.
- Surekha S
Sarita Joshi, Ketaki Dave and Riddhi Dave [Television/ Theatre]
“My very first performance was as a replacement actress in my mom’s play called Vaishakhi Koel,” says theatre and television actress Ketaki Dave, “Whenever she spotted me, she would begin to laugh as she followed this little girl mouth serious dialogues,” she reminisces. Having a famous mother has its pluses and minuses. “There was immediate comparison. But I was never exploited at any level thanks to my mother. She is known for her comic roles so initially I only did serious theatre to avoid the comparisons, but they all flopped,” says Ketaki. “She strives for perfection.
Even the “ararara” she is known for, is a particular Junagadhi (from Gujarat) style, which Ketaki picked up because of her concentration towards any character. Despite being the daughter of an actress she trained in theatre and worked with good theatre artists to learn the ropes. What I admire the most about her is that she is a good mother,” says Joshi. While Dave had Joshi’s shoes to fill in, her daughter Riddhi who debuted with the play Dikri No 1, had two women to look up to. “She is very focussed as an actor and her love for the craft is admirable. She is simple in real life with a terrific sense of humour. In the toughest of situations, she is always laughing and joking to lighten the mood,” reveals Riddhi.
- Dhara Vora
5 Make the most on Mother’s Day
Super mummy rocks
Comic Con India is out with a Super Mummy Mug that’s fun, cool and quirky to pay tribute to the original super woman. You can also buy a Super Mummy badge that comes in a set of 4 with Wolver Anna, Super Kudi and Wonder Bai (Comic Con characters ).
Cost: Rs 225
Log on to: Buzzingaa.com, BombayMerch.com
Say it with flowers
Farm fresh flowers from Talegaon to floor your mum. The folks at Soulphool don’t just deliver for Mother’s Day. You can pre-book flowers for every special day, throughout the year, and you’ll have them delivered, personally, without the hassle of constant visits to your local florists.
Log on to: www.soulphool.com
Fun in the forest
Bring along your mum for a nature trek to the highest point of the Bombay Natural History Society Nature Reserve. Win big at treasure hunts and quizzes. As a parting gift, BNHS will capture a fun frame with mum.
Cost: Rs 550 (sons/daughters), Rs 500 (mothers)
Time: 8.30 am to 12.30 pm
Call: 9594953425/ 9594929107/ 9323738622
Gift a meal
Serve your mum a specially catered five/seven course meal. Handpick from Under The Banyan Tree’s menu from soups, salads, appetizers, mains, desserts and drinks. Also, get this with classy cutlery and service staff allowing you to dine out at your home. Pay only for what you eat.
At: Under the Banyan Tree, 34/A, Sophia College Lane, Peddar Road.
Call: 23517433, 9821222229
Makeover for mum
Buy any product at Colourbar till May 123 and get a free makeover card to gift your mother. This card can then be redeemed on Mother’s Day for a makeover. There are special discounts on makeup kits and for every purchase above Rs 3,000 you get a lace makeup clutch free.
At: Colourbar outlet, Infiniti 2 Mall, Malad.