Fit & Famous
Esha Deol is basking in pregnancy bliss. She gets chatting on motherhood, marriage and more…
Mom-to-be Esha Deol on motherhood, marriage, fitness and more…
EHow many people know that the beautiful Hema Malini did the horse riding scenes in ‘Razia Sultan’ - without using a body double - when she was five months pregnant? Or that, alongside she was also shooting for ‘Satte Pe Satta’?
sha Deol narrates interesting little stories to us about her mother when we complement her on looking so fit and agile, despite being in her eighth month of pregnancy. “I am blessed with my mother’s genes,” smiles the glowing mum-to-be. From the time she walks into their dance studio (the venue for our interview at Hema’s bungalow in Juhu, Mumbai), dressed in a layered spaghetti top and black pants, till the time she settles down on the sofa, we can’t help but notice the ease and flexibility with which she is carrying herself. No puffed up or tired face, no excess weight, no slow, measured steps… Esha is confident, relaxed and looks pretty energetic. The pregnancy glow is shining through too... Basking in the joy of it all, Esha talks motherhood, marriage (to businessman Bharat Takthani) and more, in an easy-breezy chat with us.
A Family Of Fitness Freaks
While she may credit her healthy pregnancy to her genes, there is no taking away from the fact that Esha herself is a fitness freak. In fact, the seeds were sown right in childhood – when she played football in school and even captained her team. Says she, “I have been athletic from my school days, learnt Russian ballet at a very young age, and dance, of course, was always a part of our lives. And so were gymming and hard core workouts.” She adds that she doesn’t remember a time in her life when she didn’t work out. Fitness, incidentally,
“Basically, when you are having a healthy pregnancy, with God’s grace, and are allowed to travel, the husband and wife take a nice honeymoon vacation. It’s their final bit of being just a couple.”
also runs in the family… While women swooned over dad Dharmendra’s chiselled body in his heydays, mum Hema’s dancing prowess worked as a huge fitness form for her in helping her maintain her elegant figure. “Even now, dad pushes himself to do his cycling. He also does pranayama and yoga regularly. And mum gets up at 5.30 a.m every day and does her yoga. So I guess, I have the fitness genes also from them,” chuckles she. All of which surely went a long way in ensuring she enjoyed good health most of the time. “A reason why I am having a healthy pregnancy too,” says she. In fact, even when they planned to start a family, the health freak in her made sure she and husband Bharat did regular health check-ups every six months. “At one point, Bharat was like, ‘We have just done one six months ago’, and I would say, ‘I am like that only – a little crack when it comes to all things health’,” laughs she. And adds that jokes apart, Bharat is also a fitness freak like her. “One reason why I got attracted to him,” she blushes.
The Five-Year Plan
But both she and Bharat, she tells us, were sure they wanted to wait for five years before planning a baby. “We’ve been through all that - people telling us, ‘ Shaadi karke bachcha paida karo’. But we knew exactly when we wanted to be parents, and till when we wanted to enjoy and chill and travel. Not that we couldn’t enjoy now but it’s different when a baby comes in. And once we decided now was the time, we took extra care to keep ourselves healthy. I started eating healthier and reading a lot on pregnancy and health. In fact, I have a full library on safe pregnancy books,” she grins. And adds, “I had people telling me - you will vomit, faint, crave for things in the middle of the night etc. But nothing like that happened. My sister (Ahana) had nausea – she, in fact, puked for nine months, even on her way to the hospital. I just had acidity, constipation, minor things which were bearable, and of course, mood swings, but Bharat has been very understanding throughout.”
Cravings & More
The only cravings she had was for South Indian food. “I think I went deep into my South Indian roots where food was concerned. There were certain pickles, powders and rasam I craved for every day. I enjoy my kadhi chawal too, being married to a Sindhi, but I didn’t particularly crave North Indian stuff. Otherwise, I eat everything in moderation – no binge eating, or excess sweets or chocolates.”
“Dad was against my joining films, and that was grilled so strongly in our heads that I totally rebelled because I really wanted to act. So I was made to be ‘the rebel’. I don’t want my child to feel like a rebel for no reason.”
“How a child turns out depends on how happy the parents are throughout the pregnancy. That’s what Bharat and I believe in. And Bharat is the main reason behind me having a lovely pregnancy so far.”
The Babymoon Bliss
So how did the idea of the much-in news ‘babymooning’ - that saw the totally lovedup parents-to-be in Greece - come about? There’s a twinkle in her eye when she replies, “I guess in India, it’s not really been pronounced as much as I pronounced it out to the world. Basically, when you are having a healthy pregnancy, with God’s grace, and are allowed to travel, the husband and wife take a nice honeymoon vacation. It’s their final bit of being just a couple. Bharat jokes, ‘My friends are complaining now, as your wife has increased our budgets. They want a babymoon too’. “We decided to go to Greece as we both like tropical places. And since I am the kind who loves making memories, I decided to do a maternity photo shoot at Santorini, which is such a beautiful place. I want my child to cherish these moments.” She is happy, smiling and excited as she speaks… And calls out to the house-help for some water to drink, with an emphasis on it being thanda. “Cold water?” we ask, a little surprised, as pregnant women, traditionally, are stopped from having anything cold, lest they catch a cold. “I can’t have water which is not cold,” she laughs. While some grandmas’ tales she doesn’t bother much about, she admits she is old school when it comes to believing that ‘a woman should be very positive throughout her pregnancy’. “It affects a child’s programming. How a child turns out depends on how happy the parents are throughout the pregnancy. That’s what Bharat and I believe in. And Bharat is the main reason behind me having a lovely pregnancy so far. He has kept me happy. The first three months, I did a lot of kitkit but he has taken it very well.”
And how excited are her parents about turning grandparents yet again? “Mum will be a second time grand mom, and dad, of course, has been one many times now,” she laughs. Adding, “But, of
course, he is excited too. Mum is really looking forward as I am her first child. But I am happy Ahana had her baby before me so they were all busy with Darien, and Darien enjoys mum’s company. She teaches him shlokas which he has picked up very well. So Darien knows more shlokas than Ahana now.” So does li’l sis give advice to big sis? “Yes, she does. In fact, right now, she is also in Mumbai. So Darien is great practice for Bharat and me. He is two now, and spends a lot of time with us.” Incidentally, Ahana threw a surprise baby shower for Esha, which turned out to be a grand and fun affair, and Esha can’t stop talking about how great a time she had there… “Rocky’s outfit, which I wore, was beautiful, and we played a lot of fun baby shower games. It was lovely.”
Growing up as children of superstars must have had its pros and cons… Any parenting traits she wants to imbibe from her parents? So also traits she would refrain from, or want to correct? This question seemed a little tricky to her but after some thought, she gets straight to the point… “Mum has always been larger than life for us. She multi-tasks, and has always been a very strong presence in our lives. My children will be lucky to have her as grandmother. She never restricted us from doing or wearing what we wanted, or choosing our friends. I was very independent and bold from young. She instilled a lot of confidence in us, so I want to make sure I do that too. “That said, I remember a couple of times when our parents weren’t aware of what we were doing and even we weren’t aware whether we were doing the right or wrong thing. I see that happening even now. The child is confused and the parent isn’t aware. I would like to bridge that gap between a parent and child. How I am going to do it I don’t know, but I would want our child to confide in at least either of his/ her parent at all times. “As for dad, he is so downto-earth. Full credit to him for making us so grounded. He is also very large-hearted. I would want to pass on these traits of his to my kids. But Papa was also a little conservative; he liked to see us in Indian outfits. So there was this phase when we were growing up when we knew that if Papa was coming home, we would dress in salwar kameez and sit, which definitely was not our personalities. We outgrew that phase, but I would never want my children to do such things. Sounds funny now but it had a huge impact on us then. “He was also very protective about us because he knew both the good and bad side of the film industry. He was against my joining films, and that was grilled so strongly in our heads that I totally rebelled because I really wanted to act. So I was made to be ‘the rebel’. I don’t want my child to feel like a rebel for no reason. I made mistakes, achieved things, but they were all my choices. Dad didn’t see my movies for the longest
“Mum has always been larger than life for us. I was very independent and bold from young. She instilled a lot of confidence in us, so I want to make sure I do that too with my child.”
“My mother’s advice to me when I was getting married was: Stop fighting for small stupid things because before you know, the time will be gone. Cherish moments when they are there.”
time. But now, of course, he is proud of me. So these are things I will correct when it comes to my parenting skills.” Having said that, she also says that she will never pressurize her child to do anything he/ she doesn’t want to do. “I will expect our child to study and will put them in a lot of extracurricular activities but he has to decide for himself what he wants to do.” And how eager are her in-laws in welcoming their first grandchild? “They are pampering me too. We meet every week, and my mother-in-law makes Sindhi curry for me. The first four years, I stayed with my in-laws, but now, we decided to move out. I wanted it that way – I wanted to take care of my home now. But I learnt a lot living with my mother-in-law, especially all about the kitchen. Before marriage, I didn’t know how to boil or fry a potato. I learnt cooking to patao Bharat,” she winks.
Down The Love Lane
…She may have done that post marriage but it’s no secret that it was Bharat who actually pataoed Esha way back in school. “Haha… Feels like
“Love and passion got you together in the first place but get to know your spouse beyond the romance and roses; go deep into the soul and crack that. Every couple fights; we do that too but we make up very fast.”
we’ve known each other forever. We started dating in school, went apart, got back again and dated for a year before deciding to be together for good.” Any relationship mantras she practices to ensure their marriage is smoothsailing and rock-solid? She replies, “Don’t let a third person’s opinion interfere with your husband’s and your understanding. Many people will give you advice but tell them all to go and take a hike. You have to trust each other implicitly. Love and passion got you together in the first place but get to know your spouse beyond the romance and roses; go deep into the soul and crack that. Every couple fights; we do that too but we make up very fast. My mother’s advice to me when I was getting married was: Stop fighting for small stupid things because before you know, the time will be gone. Cherish moments when they are there.”
…And Esha certainly knows how to cherish her moments. From the time she decided to have a baby, she’s been on a mission to make every moment memorable. Whether it was making sure she was in the pink of health, or living it up in Greece as a couple one last time before the baby came in, or freaking out at the surprise baby shower sister Ahana threw for her, here’s a mum-to-be who just can’t stop glowing… VINODINI KRISHNAKUMAR
At her baby shower
At her ‘ godh bharaai’ ceremony