For many, motherhood comes naturally. For others, it is a learning curve. For actor Esha Deol Takhtani, mother to two baby girls — Radhya and Miraya — embracing motherhood has been a combination of both such that she slowly transitioned into an author and is now out with her debut book Amma Mia! published by Penguin Random House India. The book, packed with advice, tips, stories and easy and delicious recipes for toddlers, reflects the personal journey of one woman’s transformation into a mother. From how the book came about to why women should take out time for themselves to stay fit and fab, the 38-year-old shares her journey with indianexpress.com.
From actor to an author, how do you describe your journey?
It has been extremely exciting. Acting has been an adventurous profession, constantly on-the-go, working round the clock, while being an author is something you can do at your own pace. Writing is therapeutic and also a lot of fun. I enjoy writing generally, whether it’s my thoughts or feelings. The journey has been beautiful, one that was not at all planned. Life has constantly thrown opportunities my way. It is up to me to choose. My acting and writing has been both god-sent. I feel through my book, I am reaching out to millions and millions of people, especially mothers.
How has motherhood treated you?
Motherhood is the most beautiful role that I have been given to fulfill wholeheartedly with complete dedication and responsibility. It’s just filled with unconditional love. I recommend that every woman who wants to have a child and can have a child must do it. I feel complete having given birth to two beautiful baby girls. They bring out the best in me.
What prompted you to write a book on parenting?
I, honestly, never in my wildest dreams, thought I would write a book. It was something that happened organically. There was so much I went through as a first-time mother; it was overwhelming. I felt there would be so many women going through the same emotions and I wanted to reach out to them. I was able to overcome them in a beautiful way. Simultaneously, my daughter was transitioning from liquids to mashed foods and then solid food, so I ended up creating a lot of simple and easy recipes at home. It was something I wanted to share. There are women out there who are helpless and clueless. That is how Amma Mia! was born. That is how I pitched the idea to Penguin Random House India. They immediately loved the idea. I would call my book, a beautiful gift, a guide, a helping hand to be given to a mother.
As far as my book is concerned, no one really knew about it for the longest time. Not even my husband (Bharat Takhtani) and not even my mother (Hema Malini). A lot of my writing happened at midnight, when I am at my most creative. I can do without much sleep as I am used to it. Mom was extremely surprised and excited when she came to know of it. I am blessed to have her as my mother, guide and someone who has gone through the same thing with two daughters. She is amazing with her tips on parenting. At the same time, she doesn’t really interfere much and lets me do things my way. She very subtly puts across pointers that I take and keep at the back of my mind.
How do you keep your fitness going?
I don’t mix my fitness with any of my other roles because I am very particular about it. I have always been a fitness freak, whether it was training for films such as Dhoom where I worked very hard for the washboard abs. I have always been athletic and into sports. My body structure itself and blessings of good genes have helped.
I like to work out, give that one hour to myself, no matter what. It is so important to not just workout to look good but for your mind as well. I follow a healthy diet. I don’t eat a lot of junk food and don’t starve at the same time. Maintaining a balance and not overdoing anything is important. Every woman should give herself an hour every day. Love yourself.
How can women continue to stay fit given the various roles they play?
One hour for yourself — your mind, your body and your soul. Because we women are the ones who are keeping everyone together. We need to be strong emotionally, mentally and physically. Don’t indulge in extreme diets and starve. Don’t be too desperate to achieve a supermodel’s figure. Give yourself time. Each individual is unique. Learn to love yourself. Do pamper yourself too. Swim, do yoga, walk, run, whatever suits you….but do something and give yourself that one hour in a day. That is called me-time.
If you are taking your kid for a walk on a pram, then perhaps put weights on your ankles and walk. That way, you are brisk walking with the kid and simultaneously toning your leg muscles. The leg is the most important part you hit during a workout, which takes care of the rest of the body automatically.
Apart from that, just drink lots of water. We forget to hydrate ourselves when we do so many things. Sometimes, squeeze a lemon in it and drink it for vitamin C.
A lot of women give up their careers after marriage and children. If you have a chance to not let go of your career, then don’t. Don’t lose your identity. You worked so hard and made an identity for yourself. Don’t let it go.
Women are often shamed for their post-pregnancy weight. What do you think of such trolling/shaming?
Body shaming is not a nice thing. And if you are a public figure, it is worse. Being in the industry, you have to be open to criticism. I didn’t have to go through that. But it is not fair to the mother. I hope people who indulge in such petty comments realise that she has given birth, her body has gone through so much…she has gone through something so beautiful, it is time to embrace her. The mother herself should embrace her body the way it is and give herself time.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines