‘I’ve never felt a moment’s regret’

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“When they asked me what kind of music I’d like them to play in the operation theatre, pat I answered, ‘Bollywood music!’ The doctor looked at me and said, ‘Really? No bhajans or anything devotional?’ I said, ‘Why? Do you need a little more divine power to assist you? No? Cool then, Bollywood music it is!’”

Remind Karisma Kapoor of this little anecdote she’s mentioned in her new book, My Yummy Mummy Guide (co-authored by Madhuri Banerjee and published under Shobha De’s imprint for Penguin) and the actress bursts out laughing. “I love Bollywood music, and I wanted my kids to love it too,” she says.
Karisma’s book, a guide for mothers that covers everything from getting pregnant to balancing work and family, is peppered with lots of such personal anecdotes and insights. The actress, known to be incredibly private, admits that it was difficult to bare so much of herself. “I contemplated for a very long time just how I was going to share all this information but then I thought that if my experiences could help some young mother, then I should make an effort,” she says.
Her book is dedicated to her grandmother Barbara Shivdasani and mom Babita Kapoor, and the depth of her feeling for these “strong influences” in her life really comes through when Karisma describes just how they’ve shaped her attitudes towards parenting as well. “My grandmother was so hands-on,” Karisma recounts. “She’d cook for us, tell us stories, tell us about history and our culture. As for my mother, the values and upbringing she gave me, I wanted to pass on to my kids.”
The actress says that among the things she’s tried to instill in her children — Samaira and Kiaan — are “respect for self, respect for money and respect for family”. “These are very ‘basic’ things, and this was what our parents taught us,” she explains.
Learning the value of “discipline”, Karisma says, is another vestige of her upbringing, and today, she ensures that her children follow a regimented schedule. “Being disciplined was something that was very important for our mom. (And what she made us follow in) our school life continued into my teenage years and my working life — in fact, it was a huge asset in my career — and now it’s passed on to my children.”
Another thing that’s “passed on” to her children is the lovely bond Karisma shares with her sister Kareena. She recounts the moment when, at the age of six, she held Bebo in her arms for the first time, and shares that Samaira had a similar moment when her little brother Kiaan was born.
She says: “When you’re a lone child, you can’t share all your special moments with anyone — you can with friends, but I think it isn’t the same. And it feels very nice to see that my children share the same bond (that Bebo and I used to share).”
Karisma describes her own relationship with her children as a “learning process” with something new being taught to her every day, and says she’s learnt more from her journey as a mother than she ever did in all her time as an actress.
There are no regrets, says this certifiable yummy mummy, about leaving behind life under arclights. “I think I would rather be changing nappies than be in the public eye,” she asserts. “I started my career so young, and worked really hard for so many years. This (taking time off to raise my children) felt like a great break. I’ve never felt a moment’s regret.”

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