Celeb chef Amrita Raichand considers her 11-year-old son Agastya lucky for growing up in a loving joint family.
By Shilpi Madan
Amrita Raichand, of food show Mummy ka Magic fame, has thousands of mommies hooked on to the telly for her tiffin trail. The model, anchor and actress with a brilliant smile has seamlessly blended her love for the small screen, with iconic commercials for Whirlpool, Ponds, a trailblazer food show and tele serials like Mahi Way and Timebomb, together with outings in offbeat films including Baat Bann Gayi, and her theatrical outing in Three Women. All the while she successfully parents her son Agastya. Excerpts from a conversation:
You’re shooting, conducting workshops, travelling…how do manage to strike a balance between work, home, family?
Honestly, I have an unreal blessing in extremely supportive in-laws. They are my bedrock. I always say that they take better care of Agastya than I do (laughs).
No kidding. In these climes of nuclear setups, you are saying that living in a joint family works for you?
Yes, and beautifully so. Agastya is a very grounded child today because of his grandparents and the bond he shares with them. We are lucky to be living together. Many a times, when I am not around, I am rest assured he will not be alone at home as my in-laws are there with him, chatting with him as he eats lunch, telling them about his day. Sometimes, he shares things with them that he forgets to tell me later. Thanks to Dadi, he knows so many prayers and shlokas that are an intrinsic part of the daily pooja. Agastya and Mom even went on a vacation to London a couple of years ago. My father-in-law teaches him Maths. When he was seven years of age, he knew arithmetic tables up to 30.
He is growing up with a good value system in place. I always believe that a happy child spreads happiness. Agastya is secure in the love he shares with his grandparents, and is a balanced kid. I wouldn’t have been able to work if my in-laws weren’t around, for sure.
You cook for so many kids on screen. If you were to pick your favourite ingredient, from amongst the zillion options available?
Chocolate. You can’t go wrong with that. It is a big hit with kids, and cooking for children is my forte.
Oh, he loves ghar ka khana. He loves paneer, milk, dahi, pizzas and doughnuts. He loves the cookies, milkshakes, pancakes…that I make for him. Of course, I bring in secretly the nuts and seeds into his fruity milkshakes.
What does the tiffin trail look like, for Agastya?
He is crazy about parathas. I bring in healthy variations through beetroot, paneer, aloo stuffings, packed with butter in his tiffin. Nothing fancy as he is a simple kid.
What is it that you make and he loves to eat?
Everything! But in particular, he loves doughnuts. I prepare the chocolate sauce at home as well for him. Agastya loves helping me in the kitchen. He has a discerning palate and can pinpoint hidden ingredients in my preparations too.
Do you bake a cake for him on his birthday?
Every year, we bake a chocolate cake at home to celebrate his birthday, followed by a party with another customary grand cake and other goodies. But you know something? We talk about multi-tasking and have helpers at home. Our mothers, they are the real women. They did everything on their own, from scratch—lavish dinners to fun-filled, yummy birthday party treats.
What’s his pet name?
Gus. My husband came up with it when we named him. He didn’t wanted Agastya to be stuck with silly ones like Agu or Agy (laughs).
No plans to add to your family?
None. Even Agastya has outgrown the desire to have a sibling. He has enough cousins and friends to keep him busy (smiles).
One rule that must not be broken?
No night-outs. I am happy to have his friends over. Gadgets are limited to weekends.
What makes your relationship click?
However caught up I am with my work, a minimum of one hour a day is for simply chatting with Agastya to stay plugged into what is happening. And yes, I tuck him into bed at night. That’s very important in terms of bonding as I get to know how his day has gone.