‘Harbhajan absolutely loves kids’

Geeta Basra and Harbhajan Singh are all set to welcome a new member into their family — the baby will join the couple’s daughter Hinaya, who will turn five on July 27.

On March 14, the British-born actress took to Instagram to announce the good news. The baby is due in July 2021.

In an interview with Rediff.com Contributor Prateek Sur, Geeta gets real about what life’s been like being pregnant during the pandemic, how Hinaya has been dealing with the lockdown, the relationship Harbhajan shares with their daughter, and what she misses about her first pregnancy.

Getting pregnant in the middle of a pandemic?

I won’t lie, it is really tough. Knowing what is going on outside, in the real world, makes me really upset.

I try not to watch too much of news on TV. It is so negative and gets me emotionally upset.

It does affect the pregnancy, but it is a sad reality we are facing right now. We all wish we were not in such a position.

I do feel very lucky that I am at home, safe and sound. But it is hard as I’m not very active and cannot step outdoors.

When I was pregnant with Hinaya, I was constantly doing something or the other.

I’d attend different classes and shop so much. I used to walk a lot too. Now I am just stuck in at home.

What about Hinaya?

It is hard to accept the reality as you have to give your other child all the attention she needs as well.

Hinaya is at such an age where she needs to be out in the parks, gardens, playing and running around with her friends.

Even though she says nothing, I feel it. As a mother, I feel helpless that I can’t do anything.

The uncertainty of these times makes things even harder as you don’t know till when the pandemic will go on.

The precautions you are taking to stay safe?

The only thing one can do right now is to follow the rules.

One can just sit at home and make sure that every single thing that comes inside the home is properly sanitised.

My staff is always wearing masks.

We wear a mask — sometimes two — when opening the door, and the moment we shut the door, our hands are sanitised.

We maintain social distancing and don’t go out unless it is an emergency.

What is your maternity workout routine?

I am doing yoga. That is the only thing I really can do.

It is really beneficial for pregnant women.

The more you progress into your pregnancy, one experiences a lot of backaches and spasms.

The relief one gets from yoga, you won’t get doing anything else.

Also, I feel it is better to do yoga as it is safe.

If you have a yoga instructor or a practitioner who can guide you the right way, maybe on video calls, that is the best, as you don’t want to do any stretches or exercises that could be detrimental to your baby.

I have a yoga teacher and I do a one-hour class daily.

Other than that, I end up running and walking all over the house chasing Hinaya.

 

How different is this pregnancy from the first time? Are you more prepared?

Mentally, yes! Physically, no! I was far more active the last time.

The last pregnancy was all about me, but this time I have to also focus on Hinaya and make sure she gets the attention she needs.

It is a very different pregnancy as we are living amidst a pandemic.

There is no opportunity to step out to buy stuff. Everything I need, I have to get it online.

I don’t get to visit a shop, check the quality of the fabric, and then buy stuff.

I just have to look at the product pics online and order. I hate online shopping.

What about your food cravings?

This is a really boring pregnancy as I have no cravings.

I have no desire to eat anything in particular.

During Hinaya’s time I enjoyed my food, but this time around I am not enjoying it.

I have the regular dal, roti and sabji, as I don’t feel like eating much.

What was Hinaya’s reaction when you told that she’ll soon be a big sister?

She was happy. She understands things. She is a clever child.

A baby is more like a toy for kids at that young age; someone she will be able to play with.

But she is really looking forward to the responsibility of being an elder sister.

I am sure she is going to enjoy this new chapter of her life.

What was Harbhajan’s reaction when you told him about this pregnancy?

Obviously, he was really overwhelmed and very happy. He loves kids.

He is from a big family himself.

He loves the fact that he is going to be a dad again.

There is no greater happiness than being a father and he is excited about the new phase.

How supportive is Harbhajan during this pregnancy?

We have not met each other for almost two months now.

It is sad because during the last pregnancy he was there right by my side. But it is okay. There is not much that he can do now.

I would much rather have him do his work and fulfill his duty towards the sport.

When he is around, he is great. He shares the load with me.

He is with Hinaya constantly. He bathes her, feeds her, plays with her, and spends a lot of time with her.

He is a very involved father, and he enjoys his time at home with Hinaya. He absolutely loves kids.

He has been around kids of almost everyone on the cricket team — from Sachin’s kids, Laxman’s kids to Dravid’s.

He loves having kids around him all the time.

He becomes a child himself as he loves being with kids. He would do anything for them.

There are some people who aren’t too fond of children and then there are others who absolutely dote on them. Bhajji is the second type.

So when he is at home, it’s nice for me as I get a break and he gets his time with his daughter.

He is constantly in and out of the house, and he needs this time to bond with her.

Who chose the name Hinaya? It is very uncommon.

We took exactly 40 days to come up with the name.

In London you get 40 days to register a child’s name.

It was taking us forever to come up with a name.

I was certain that I didn’t want a common name; I wanted something unique.

So initially she was called Himaya. That was her name and whenever I used to call her by that name, it somehow didn’t seem to suit her.

My mom used to keep saying that everyone, especially in India, is going to just call her Maya.

That was a valid point and I wanted to change the name when a friend gave me the idea of naming her Inaya.

Bhajji came up with the idea that why don’t we add an ‘H’ to Inaya and call her Hinaya.

I said that’s it! That’s her name and we’ve got it. That’s how she was named Hinaya.

Have you thought of a name for the baby?

Absolutely not! Once the baby comes, and we get to know the sex of the baby will we be able to decide on a name.

That is going to be another mission, to find a unique name.

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