Mira Rajput: Women who stay at home and look after their children deserve to be celebrated

A Delhi girl, Mira Rajputcatapulted into the limelight when she tied the knot with Shahid Kapoor in 2015. In the beginning, she found the media attention intrusive, but in the last two years, she has warmed up to the idea of facing the flashbulbs with her other half. This Mother’s Day, in her first full-on interview to a print publication, she talks about being a new-age mom, giving Misha a normal childhood amidst the public glare and how her statements on working moms were misconstrued. Excerpts…

You enjoy a certain ease in front of the camera. Is this how you have always been or have you developed this confidence over time?
I think it’s a part of my personality. I am unfazed by the attention and am comfortable with who I am. I guess that shows.

Your marriage to Shahid put you in the limelight. Were you prepared for it?
It’s understandable; because Shahid is an actor, there’s bound to be curiosity about his partner. I have to respect the love people have for him. But yes, it was intrusive at times and I was not used to it. Now, I know how to maintain a safe distance.

Did Shahid forewarn you about the attention?
Yes. He was more worried about it than I was and prepared me for it. He is my strength and it’s because of him that I can speak my mind. He doesn’t curb my thinking and lets me be.

You shifted from Delhi to Mumbai and got married to a Bollywood star. In a way, your entire life changed overnight and it must have been very challenging. But in comparison, do you think motherhood is an even bigger challenge?
The Delhi-Mumbai battle is going to be a lifelong one. While my heart is in Delhi, my life is in Mumbai. Coming to motherhood, it’s a huge step, but I was looking forward to it. It cemented my relationship with Shahid. As a couple, we became who we are after Misha’s birth.

All women have certain notions about motherhood, but reality often turns out to be different. Was that the case with you, too?
It is very different watching others and then experiencing motherhood yourself. I have two elder sisters and I have seen them raising their kids. But both of them have different approaches. My eldest sister is married into a joint family and her kids are very social, always surrounded by people. On the other hand, my sister who lives in the US manages everything on her own. After having seen them over the years, I knew exactly how I want to approach motherhood. It’s natural, it’s going with the flow and it works for us.

You are a young mother, but a lot of women these days embrace motherhood at a later stage in their lives. Do you think it is better to have children early on and then pursue what one wants to?
To each her own, but being a young mom works for me. I am more hands-on and I have more energy. I think we’ll be friends when Misha grows up. Age gap will not be a roadblock in our relationship. My mom had me very late in her life and my relationship with her is very different from the one that my sister has with her first born because she had him early on. So yes, I think that being a young mom is a huge advantage. I’ll give her all my time now and once she gets older and independent, I will start working. I have nothing against being a working mom. I think it’s great to be able to balance a career and motherhood, but this is what works for me.

Your recent comments about wanting to stay at home because Misha is not a puppy who you’d spend an hour with, and then rush to work, received immense flak…
I was just speaking my mind, my intention was not to offend or hurt anyone. Could I have chosen my words better? Maybe. But I am not a seasoned actor and I don’t know how to be politically correct. I was speaking for a section of women who aren’t given their due. For that matter, I don’t think financial independence is the only yardstick to measure feminism. Women who stay at home and take care of the children or work from home deserve to be celebrated as much. They are also feminists in their own right because they have chosen their lives… even if they have not, they are giving it their all. My mom balanced her career and motherhood. There was never a time when I felt that she was not around. That’s the essence of what I was trying to say. I don’t want to cross the fine line between independence and negligence. The Bill on six-month paid maternity leave was passed recently and it’s to enable a woman to spend time with her baby. It’s not just for physical recovery; had that been the case, adoptive mothers wouldn’t have been eligible for it. It’s to nurture the bonding between a mother and her child. That’s all that I meant.

A certain section of women believed that your comment was insensitive towards working mothers, who can’t spend enough time with their kids…
Opinion is the fulcrum of the society. Everyone should have one, but people should also have the discretion to not shove it down somebody else’s throat. My intention was not to belittle working women, but I don’t want homemakers belittled either. There was a lot of flak, but that’s their opinion. I was just voicing mine.

How did you deal with so much of criticism?
It was tough, but I had Shahid by my side. He said, ‘It’s okay and it happens.’ Also, I prefer looking at the positive side of things.

Does it affect you when Shahid gets cornered for what you say? Do you think you have to be a little cautious?
I am not an actor or a public figure, I have the luxury to be politically incorrect. Also, Shahid is not going to defend something unless he doesn’t believe in it. He will only stand up for what’s right.

 

Source: Times Of India

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