Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Artist mom gives daughter life lessons through Instagram

Sujata used all her years of wisdom to curate catchy, impactful reels with an important message.

Sujata Tibrewala, Pankhuri KohliSujata Tibrewala with her daughter Pankhuri Kohli (Source: Sujata Tibrewala)

By Zofeen Maqsood

‘Oh, the lengths mothers go to for their kids,’ – the phrase cannot be truer for artist mom Sujata Tibrewala. Earlier this month, Tibrewala thought of a unique idea to mark her daughter Pankhuri Kohli’s 22nd birthday and impart her life lessons alongside. Sujata decided to utilise a medium that youngsters relate to and decided to make an Instagram reel for each of the 21 days preceding her daughter’s birthday.


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A post shared by Sujata Tibrewala (@sujata.tibre)

Sujata used all her years of wisdom to curate catchy, impactful reels with an important message. What is refreshing is that her messages aren’t preachy or something most Indian parents would advise, such as taking interest in academics or building a solid career. Sujata can be seen telling her daughter through reels to question patriarchy, speak her mind, not bother about not giving 100 percent to everything and even taking breaks in her studies and career if that gives her mental peace.”

For Sujata, a busy tech professional working for a leading multinational in Silicon Valley and flourishing artist, Instagram Reels was not something that she made on an everyday basis like most youngsters. But this did not deter her. She took out a weekend and did a short course on Skillshare on reel-making to know the medium. And before you thought that the reels are all fun and games, Sujata has an important unconventional life wisdom weaved into her reels each day for her daughter.


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A post shared by Sujata Tibrewala (@sujata.tibre)

How it began

Speaking to Express Parenting on a phone call from her California home, Sujata says, “I learnt one thing as a mother early on. You have to teach the kids in a language they appreciate. Even when my daughter was a toddler I never tried to explain things to her in a condescending manner. I tried to make friends with her and then share things based on my experience as, say, an older friend. So now, when she is a grown up and is on an important milestone in her life, I took up the challenge of reaching out to her in a tone youngsters are using.”

Parenting against the tide

On giving her growing daughter advice which goes against the traditional mandates, Sujata remarks, “I believe kids flourish when you give them the freedom to choose and not try to make them tow the line. If you trust them they will grow up to be more responsible. Making rules does not even work for toddlers, forget the older kids.”


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A post shared by Sujata Tibrewala (@sujata.tibre)

Sujata also says that most parents think that the crucial part of parenting are the formative years but parenting never really stops; you just have to mould yourself as a child grows. She shares, “I gave my daughter freedom of choice even as a child. For instance, when she was barely 5-6 years, during winter when we would go out she would refuse to wear a sweater. I understood that staying indoors, she doesn’t realise that it would be cold outside. So, I wouldn’t force her but just keep one in my bag. When we went out, she felt cold and would ask for a sweater. It’s a small thing but letting them explore the world on their own builds the path towards making them self-appreciating adults.”

Let them ask


Another important advice Sujata has for young mothers is to never deter their young kids’ questions no matter how repetitive or inane they may sound. She explains, “Children are naturally inquisitive. They learn by asking questions and repeating them, well, thousands of times. I had read this in a child development book and it made sense to me. So when my daughter was young I gave this rule to her grandparents from both sides and to my husband that they should answer her questions no matter how stupid and how many times she asks, as if she was asking the first time. Today, she understands more about the world than me and that’s because I let her cross certain conventional lines and let her be free to ask, to question certain practices.”

Sujata’s emphasis on giving kids free will is reflected in her videos as she encourages her daughter to not love someone until they respect her freedom to choose or say no too!

Parenting reboot

Sujata also says, “I vowed early on that I will not make studying a chore or, even eating, for that matter. She ate how much she wanted and what she wanted. I never formally sat down to teach her. It was on her time and during play.”


She adds, “Today, she is a political science graduate from University College of San Diego. We did not force her to choose a career path. She has decided to take a gap year to introspect on what she wants to do in her life. We are letting her go with the flow. My Instagram Reels are just an extension of what I taught her over the years. I hope that other kids her age benefit from it.”

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First published on: 13-10-2021 at 16:55 IST
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