Book Excerpt: ‘Raising Stars’ by Rashmi Uchil

Book Title: Raising Stars: The Challenges and Joys of Being a Bollywood Parent
Author: Rashmi Uchil
Publisher: Fingerprint! Publishing
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-9358563283
Date Published: Oct. 20, 2023
Price: INR 289

Raising Stars by Rashmi Uchil Book Cover

Book Excerpt

CHAPTER EIGHT (Pg – 94-96)

Helicopter Parenting

Jackie Shroff

MY LIFE, MY KIDS

The first day Tiger went to school, he cried a lot. Woh bahut roya. His mother would sit outside the classroom waiting for school to end. A mother’s contribution is always much more than a father’s. She carries the child in her womb for nine months and holds the baby to her breast for another year. What has the father done in comparison?

Back in the day, actors worked three shifts, we worked round the clock. Whether I was shooting in Delhi or Bangalore, I always made it a point to return to Bombay at night to be with the kids. Though I was shooting for three films a day and had a hectic schedule, I still took a flight to be home with the kids at night. Maine kissi pein ehsaan nahin kiya. Main chahta tha ki mein apne bachchon se chipak kar so jaaoon (I was not doing a favor to anyone, I just wanted to hug my kids tight and sleep with them). Whatever I did, I did it for a very selfish reason. I wanted to be near my kids.

Put your child on the playground. That’s how he will get grounded. Tiger wanted to play basketball while at school. Picking him up and dropping him to the ground was our job. Kids should sweat it out on the ground. Poora din computer ke saamne bachon ko math bithao (you should not let children sit in front of the computer the whole day).

The day my kids finished school, I let them loose. There was absolutely no interference from my side. Bachchon ne hosh sambhala. That’s when parents need to take a backseat. Overbearing parents do their children no good. I doubt anything good comes from a parent breathing down the child’s neck. If my child is interestedin acting, I will encourage him to be an actor. I will not force him to become an astronaut and send him to space. Children know instinctively what they are good at and where their interests lie. As a parent, your job is to take cognizance of that and encourage them on their path.

Whatever Tiger has done, he has done out of his own free will. He wanted to do martial arts; he went ahead and excelled in it. He wanted to learn gymnastics, and he went ahead and excelled in that too. Whatever Tiger has achieved, he has achieved on his own merit. Krishna, my daughter wanted to teach kids basketball, she did so. You just have to let the child follow their heart.

Aap bachchon ke saath jabardasti nahin kar sakte (you cannot force children). I have never done shaanpati or boasted in front of my kids— “I have done 200 movies. I have done this and I have done that.” My father was an astrologer. He had predicted I would be an actor. That is my journey, it’s my thing. What your children do in their life is their destiny, their journey. Never say, “yeh kar, woh kar” (do this, do that) to your kids.

The thing with kids is that you can never fool them. They see through things. Construction workers make a makeshift cradle out of a saree and hang the cradle between two trees. The child rocking in the cradle, smells the dambhar (concrete) on the road. He knows his father is toiling under the hot sun to earn a living. There is respect attached to the money earned by the sweat of the brow. Easy money does not last. The child is aware of that too. If the father is an artist and is sweating it out in the studios, the child is a witness to it. Sab bachchon ko maa-baap ka struggle dekhna chahiye (children should see their parents’ struggle). Children understand the importance of everything when they see their parents struggle. As a teen, growing up in Teenbatti I saw my parents struggle to make ends meet. Though my parents did not put any pressure on me to earn a penny, I could see things were tough at home.

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Ma ke pass nayi saree nahin hai, pitaji ke paas koi aadmi kiraya ka paisa maangne aaya hai (my mother didn’t have any new saree, and we were struggling to pay the rent money). You cannot hide these things from the child. When the child observes their parents toil to earn a living, they automatically understand the value of money. No need to teach kids anything bhidu. They assimilate everything, they imbibe everything, and they know everything.

Excerpted with permission from Raising Stars: The Joys And Challenges of Being A Bollywood Parent, Rashmi Uchil, published by Fingerprint Publishing.

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