Soha Ali Khan on how to raise independent women — and be one yourself
“I’m teaching Inaya the power of the word ‘no'”
In her first book, The Perils of Being Moderately Famous , Soha Ali Khan spilled the truth on what it’s like being referred to as the daughter of cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore, or as Saif Ali Khan’s sister or Kareena Kapoor’s sister-in-law, while still managing to be herself.
Given her illustrious background, Khan — just like you and me — has been kicked out of her room to sleep on gaddas because well, mehmaan. “We grew up in a joint family with cousins, and aunts and uncles, and grandparents in a sprawling house in Delhi. As a result, we were constantly sharing beds and toys with people, we were moved out of rooms to sleep on gaddas, and would travel together in cars exploding with people,” she reminisces.
But given our fast-paced lives, and nuclear family set-ups, how does she ensure that her daughter too experiences the little joys that come with hand-me-downs and bunking on mattresses?
“Technology is not all bad you know,” she quips while we’re chatting at the launch of Voot Kids. “The time I spent away from home, my mother and I would write letters to each other to stay in touch. Now, at the touch of a button and at no cost, I can video call her. Of course nothing makes up for face-to-face contact or an embrace or a hug or a kiss, but it is something. So, if you’re using technology wisely, then it really is very helpful,” she adds.
Soha Ali Khan on the power of independence
Now, the mother of a two-year-old, Soha Ali Khan confesses it’s difficult to ween herself off being her child’s sole provider – “As we speak someone else is putting her to bed. I’m physically here but my mind is with her right now. But she is fine. I know because I just called my husband to check,” She laughs, “So, it’s me and not her. I need her more than she needs me.”
But the key is to take baby steps, says Khan. Nothing can ever be more tempting than spending more time with your baby but you have to make an active effort. It’s good for both, the parent and the child says Khan.
Through the course of the interview, the conversation veers towards how important it is for women to be independent and be able to exert themselves. Khan throws light on how “the small things are the big things” – small efforts made every day add up to make a bigger change.
“What I’m doing at home is that I’m teaching her the value and weight of the word ‘No’,” reveals Khan. “I am teaching her to use the word only when she means it, and that every time she uses it, it will be respected. For example, when the child says he or she doesn’t want to eat anymore, we are in the habit of asking them to have one more bite. The idea is to stop. Even if Kunal tickles Inaya and she says no, he stops,” she further explains. “We don’t take children and their emotions seriously, but we really should.”