By Shilpi Madan
Fashion designer Pria Kataaria Puri epitomises elegant, classic fashion. Both in her sense of style as well as in her creations. Chic, stylish and beautiful, she is the cynosure of all eyes whichever part of the globe she travels to, while dividing her time between Kuwait, India and the US. Pria got married early and decided to have her kids early into her marriage with Sumit Puri. “It has been the best decision of my life, as my kids are in their 20s now and are my closest friends,” she says with signature honesty. Excerpts from a conversation:
You don’t look like a mother of two kids in their 20s, for sure.
Thanks. Probably has a lot to do with the fact that I elected to have my kids within a couple of years of my marriage. When you are younger, your body bounces back faster into shape. Also as young parents, you are higher on patience and energy and can give time to your little ones, running around with them. Sumit and I were able to enjoy our time together with our kids, and they are friends and companions to us now.
But a parent’s job never ends, does it?
Of course it doesn’t! As a mother, I am always worried for my children (they are in the US. My daughter is working, my son is studying there).
So share with us the touchpoints.
I chat with them three times a week, at least. But they know I am there for them all the time. Sumit chats with them every day. He calls them on a daily basis, and asks them about their food intake, everything. There have been times when sitting in Kuwait, he has ordered groceries in the US for them. Me, I concern myself with things like how they are doing emotionally and psychologically, sharing their experiences with them, giving advice…I worry about different things (laughs), so between Sumit and I, we have all areas covered!
How important are family vacations?
Very! I divide my time between Kuwait and India as Sumit is based in Kuwait and I also retail my fashion label in India. Then there are fashion weeks. Also, the children are in the US. But we take three to four family vacations every year as a rule. The kids love Europe. We always pick new cities to explore. South of Spain is on the anvil next, followed by Russia.
You have coursed through the teen phase with Reaa and Nosher. What works best?
Listening to them. Hearing them out. Being their best friend. Travelling the world with them
It isn’t easy.
Of course, it isn’t! Did anyone tell you otherwise?
What is the biggest challenge?
When you want your child to change a bad habit or improve upon something, and he or she does not agree with you. That is the most frustrating and worrying bit. Sometimes they just refuse to understand your perspective. “It’s okay Mom, just chill, I can handle it” is the retort.
So what do you do in such a situation?
Hang in there. Don’t dictate. Listen, hear, love unconditionally and give them a chance to prove themselves. Eventually, it is good to let them make their own decisions. It instills confidence in the children, makes them independent, gets them to take ownership of their own actions and makes them learn from their own mistakes. As parents, we cannot mollycoddle them throughout our lives. The idea is to be supportive while helping them to scramble onto their feet and stand independently subsequently.
What knits the four of you together?
We love to live life to the fullest! And all of us love to travel and meditate.
Something that few people know?
Both our kids are vegans.
Live, learn and grow, along with your kids. Being a mother is the most fulfilling experience in this world. It goes beyond words for me.