After Twinkle Khanna’s Mrs Funnybones and Shilpa Shetty’s ‘The Great Indian Diet’ making it to the bookshelves, actress Sonali Bendre Behl has penned a book on what she has lived and experienced being a mother.
The mother to 10-year-old Ranveer and wife of filmmaker Goldie Behl, Sonali is busy promoting her debut book, The Modern Gurukul – My Experiments with Parenting (of Penguin Random House).
“There was no social media when Twinkle, Shilpa and I were acting. It was all about interviews and glamour. Back then it was okay, but now, we want the world to see another side of us,” said Sonali.
In Chandigarh to promote her book, Sonali interacted with the media and students at Tiny Feet Little Giant Leaps School, Sector 8, in a session moderated by Shiraz Saini. The actress talked at length about her journey, from mothering to motherhood, and how one should not assume that this book makes her an expert on parenting or children.
“I am an expert on my son only,” she said. Penned in six months, the book comprises notes of wisdom, nuggets of knowledge and tips on being a parent collected over the years, in her memory scribbled as forget-me-nots at the back of grocery to-do lists.
“Getting married and having children is an evolution process. A live social experiment no one is documenting. All we have is the knowledge passed on to us by our elders, experiences we inculcate and hardly negate. But to bridge the generation gap, one needs to adapt to the new while retaining the goodness of the old,” said Sonali, balancing the modern and traditional way in her book, combining the vedic way of bringing up children and adapting to the smartphone generation.
“So, we make sure Ranveer has to understand the value of everything, earn it, respect it,” Sonali said.
At the centre of all the learning and application is the need for teaching compassion. “In our obsession to make our children perfect, we forget to teach them compassion, to be good human beings, to empathise. It’s a volatile world we are living in, where resources will get scarce, where it is going to get crowded and we need to prepare them for it,” Sonali said.
These days, it takes a father to show equal interest in bringing up a child. “There is a whole chapter on fathers. Goldie is a hands-on father and I feel, new age dads are involved in every aspect of their children’s lives. Now, that is being macho,” said Sonali.
Being friends with the child is also a must. But, there is always a fine line he or she should not cross. “My son can be as open as he wants with me, but he cannot forget I am his mother and that all will not be forgiven,” said Sonali.
An introspection, the book is personal, anecdotal and honest. “Once you are a parent, everything takes a backseat. It ceases to be a role. It is a reality. Once I had Ranveer, I realised that I was cracking under the pressure and that I cannot be a superwoman. I had to open myself to learning,” added Sonali, who had to change herself to set an example for her son. “Like the gurus in Gurukul, I had to improve on myself for my son to emulate. For instance, for my son to be fit, I too had to be fit and joined the gym,” she said.
While films are a no and so is a second child, Sonali will be seen as a judge on a reality show, India’s Best Dramebaaz and Mission Sapne.