By Shilpi Madan
Singer and single mom Suchitra Krishnamoorthi (of the blockbuster Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa fame) is a happy soul. “I feel blessed,” she says with a broad smile, “that my new single Sawan Barse has met with such a thumping response.” Relieved and relaxed, she is busy reorganising her life, picking up the threads of her singing career again, now that her daughter is flying out of the roost. Excerpts from a candid conversation:
How old is Kaveri now? You have done a brilliant job of bringing up your daughter single-handedly.
Eighteen. How fast time flies. And thank you. Though I honestly believe that a child needs both the parents. Since Kaveri has always been a priority for me, I put aside my personal feelings to co-parent with Shekhar (Kapur, her ex-husband, based in London).
That demands tremendous strength of character.
Yes, it does. It also needs constant effort and a great deal of unselfishness. But then, that is what parenting is all about.
Was it an easy decision?
There was nothing to think about. I believe, life is karmic. There is no question of not being able to do it. Some things just need to be done, for the sake of your own child.
How have you changed temperament wise?
I used to be very volatile, and short tempered. Kaveri’s arrival calmed me down sizably.
What is that one activity that both of you do together?
We belt it out on karaoke on YouTube.
Is Kaveri close to her cousins?
Yes. There are certain challenges for a single child, but luckily Kaveri gets that sense of having siblings through the thick bonds she shares with all her cousins. They are scattered all across the world and are constantly taking her out for lunches and dinners whenever she is travelling as well.
How different are you from your parents?
They were very strict! But I discuss everything with Kaveri. We were chatting the other day about how weirdly boys behave sometimes. Then going through college applications with her…
You are back to work now after 18 years.
And happily so. Earlier I was totally focussed on raising Kaveri. Everything I did was worked around her schedule. I took to many forms of creative expression, whether it was writing a book (Drama Queen), dabbling in theatre, painting, making aromatic candles. Though my parents chipped in sizeably over the years as I brought up Kaveri, and stayed over with her when I needed to shoot out of town for a day or so on work, I was not too comfortable leaving Kaveri behind. Now she is a big girl. Things are different. This gives me more time to pursue my career again.
The music world is a different space now, compared to what it was in the 90s.
Absolutely. I have always been an independent artiste. I am open to playback singing as well now. You know, the last time I was promoting a single, I was pregnant with Kaveri (laughs) Her little teenage friends now seem surprised to discover that I sing and I have to remind them that I am where she got her talent from, after all
What about dating?
I am certainly not looking to get into a relationship. Honestly, I have made such good friends with myself now that I am not seeking any company.
Your advice to other moms in your space?
Hang in there. Be brave. Just like I have been, in overcoming my emotional voice paralysis and leaping back into what makes me happy: music. I never thought I would be able to sing again. It was a psychological block. Technically and medically, my vocal chords were intact but yet I just could not bring myself to sing. When people would ask me to sing, I would start suffering from severe anxiety, as if there were a noose being tightened around my neck, and then I would gradually start avoiding putting myself in such situations completely. It took mustering up every ounce of my strength to sing again. I believe, everyone has a core competency, like it is singing, for me. Discover and revel in it.