Happy Mother’s Day! It’s the day of these magical creatures who somehow love us more than ourselves and don’t let any force of nature (or mankind) shake their belief in their lil’ ones. From changing diapers to pencil cases, from prom dresses to engagement rings, from jobs to their babies’ babies, there’s one forever constant in life’s picture: mom wiping a joyful tear. Celebrating ‘em incredible mothers today (not that we need just one day for that!), we got chatting with four Delhi supermoms to share their insight on the good, the better, and the best about being a mom (because of course, it’s all always good in mom land!).
These remarkable ladies are not only stellar mothers by day, but also forces to reckon with in the professional world, also by day. Meet Ina Puri and Kalpanaa Misra, who’ve gifted gems of adults to the city, and Tina Sharma Tiwari & Madhulika Bhattacharya Dhall, who’re raising their young ‘uns to be just as smashing.
Journalist & Novelist Tina Sharma Tiwari has delivered ace sports & politics journalism for over 16 years, and is now engaging minds with her fun reads as she nurtures two sonny boys, Dev Aditya & Jaivijay, into dapper young adults.
Madhulika Bhattacharya Dhall, aka Madame La Cave, has singlehandedly given the capital its much needed wine makeover with her topnotch wine boutique. As she clinks reds & whites, Madhulika dotes on her daughter, Amarra, helping her evolve into a woman as formidable as herself.
When Ina Puri isn’t curating art and writing, she’s seen spreading banter with her son Arjun – who has taken after for swimmingly splendid taste in all things art & culture.
Kalpanaa Misra believes writing is what she does best, and there’s no contesting that fact. As she delights the world with her words, she continues to be an A-mom to three stunning daughters: Karuna, Danika, Nayantara.
Hello there, how are you feeling today? Tell us in 3 words.
Tina: Living, loving, laughing.
Madhulika: Superwoman, Supermom, Super exhausted!
Ina: Charged & energised!
Kalpanaa: Fabulous. Slightly melted (not just mushy like melting chocolate but over heated from the scorching weather – like ice cream – cinnamon ice cream).
You’ve done a beautiful job with them evolve into smart individuals: surely it’s all your (& partially Pop’s) doing. Tell us more about your relationship with your children?
Tina: They really are the light and delight of my life! I’ve been a busy working mum for most of their lives, so our relationship is more about quality over quantity. We play sports and board games, go cycling or swimming, and sometimes paint together. I encourage them to read a lot, and we travel frequently to expose them to different cultures. You discover life all over again once you have children, and it is this aspect that defines my relationship with them.
Madhulika: Amarra is a beautifully deep and sensitive child. I’m happy that she talks to me about everything under the sun. I instantly know when she is upset or sad about something and I know she can reach out to me for anything. I’m fiercely protective about her, yet want her to be independent and learn through her own mistakes. Am dead against being a momzilla or a helicopter mom!
Ina: We have always shared a warm & robust friendship, and down the years that has defined our relationship. We argue and quarrel, being the quintessential argumentative Indians! But we also share our hopes, dreams, and disappointments.
Kalpanaa: Our relationship has evolved from the well-trodden path of Mother-baby where a Mum is responsible for everything the child needs. As the girls became women I let go of being the Mother Figure because I don’t know everything and don’t mind learning from them sometimes. We’re friends now, we share books, thoughts, rants, clothes, makeup, and shoes! But when needed I can be the Mother Figure again, the one who makes everything alright and has all the answers. One thing though – I still rarely swear in front of my children.
What’s the one shared trait that made you believe you’ve cloned yourself? And the one opposite trait that gave you a hard time believing they are indeed your progeny?
Tina: Oh my God, observing Jaivijay is like looking into a rearview mirror! Not only does he look exactly like I did back then, but he behaves the same. The one uncanny similarity is his natural propensity for debates, arguments, and the gift of the gab. Dev, on the other hand, is so saintly and reticent that I’d have a hard time believing he was my progeny had I not married an incarnation of the Buddha.
Madhulika: She is super organised and neat, which I’m terrible at – she loves organising my stuff too! So well that is totally not me. Her love of music…definitely me!
Ina: We share our sense of humour – we both respond to a funny situation exactly the same way. As for the opposite, I feel he is too self absorbed and wish he would have more time to give his grandmothers. I’ve always encouraged him to be caring, considerate, and patient towards the older generation, as I have been. Sometimes today’s work pressures prevent that, sadly.
Kalpanaa: Our love and compassion for animals. I can’t answer the second part of the question in a nutshell, as I did my best to understand them as people who have a right to be different, not mere extensions of myself.
What’s the one piece of advice you’ve always shared with them?
Tina: To give it their best shot, at whatever they do. I don’t obsess over results – academic or sports – but I do insist upon an ‘all or nothing’ approach.
Madhulika: Never be afraid and always believe in yourself.
Ina: Never give up! Fight for your beliefs & convictions! Stand up for yourself and the person who needs your support! Always.
Kalpanaa: Just breathe. Breathe in and breathe out when things are going wrong and remember – this too shall pass. Oh and ‘eat your sprouts’.
One thing you did as a teenager that you wouldn’t admit to your children?
Tina: Only one? There are a million that I would never admit to now! There was one phase in my teens when I tried too hard to please, to fit into the crowd. It was the only time in life I lost myself. I hope they never bow down to peer pressure.
Madhulika: Whoa, can’t write all that stuff on a public forum! For one, I did go off cycling on my own to far off places, if my parents would’ve known they would have freaked! Thankfully there were no options of mobile phones etc. back then.
Ina: Nothing, really.
Kalpanaa: It was the ‘60s so we wore the tiniest of miniskirts and walked around the city (Calcutta) in platform heels with strawberries, blithely (and safely) taking buses to visit each other. It seems unthinkable in the Delhi of today, so I wouldn’t admit to it.
The one cherished moment with your young gun that is embedded in your memory?
Tina: When Dev was about 3 y.o. and had just begun to speak properly, he loved telling stories and every single story would begin with “Once upon a time there was mummy”…I was the protagonist of every story and I loved it! With Jai, the moment he promised me he’ll become a pro tennis player once he retires from the Indian cricket team! Gotta love the confidence.
Madhulika: We had done a mother and daughter trip to Dubai, just the two of us…happy memories!
Ina: When he didn’t win at the school races there would be the same Black Forest cake from Kookie Jar awaiting him at home, with the same message…’Congratulations, champ!’, no matter how well or poorly he fared.
Kalpanaa: That has to be the moment when I first set eyes on each one of them. You wait for months, fantasising about your baby’s features and then she’s in front of you, making eye contact with you for the first time. It’s so strange and wonderful, because you already know this human being inside out but you’ve never seen them before. Ultrasounds don’t count.
Your shared comfort food?
Tina: Maggi and Bingo chips. All three of us hide from my husband and binge.
Madhulika: Butter chicken!
Ina: A light mutton curry & rice. Our Sunday lunch menu, forever!
Kalpanaa: Mashed potatoes – with loads of butter and beans salad, followed by homemade apple crumble topped with whipped cream or ice-cream.
Hail, storm, or thunder, one Mother’s Day tradition you & the young ‘uns never surrender?
Tina: They make me a beautiful, heartwarming Mother’s Day card each year and I get all misty-eyed & overwhelmed, and give them great big hugs. I can’t really remember if we do anything else. Which probably means we don’t. Should we be?
Madhulika: I always do a radio show on Mother’s Day on All India Radio FM called the Matchless Music Hour, and she tunes in proudly while I play her a request.
Ina: There were hand made cards earlier, now books. A token to say he remembers.
Kalpanaa: Arguing about when it is. My daughter in England sends cards on the fourth Sunday of Lent and in India we follow the tradition of the second Sunday in May, so we argue and can’t always agree. I’m told I get too many Mother’s Day celebrations – but then I also had more children than most people so I deserve more celebrations.
Hail, storm, thunder or searing heat I get a bunch of flowers and we try and eat a nice meal together (the definition being wine, salad, and dessert, because no other food is as important as those three). Dining together doesn’t happen that often since most of us are no longer in the same city.