Tahira Kashyap Khurrana: Clearly, I’ve failed as the ‘Bollywood wife’

Tahira Kashyap Khurrana’s ‘The 7 Sins Of Being A Mother’ is causing quite the buzz; so we ask the author about her uncensored approach to pregnancy libido and mom guilt

 

“My father has not spoken to me since he read the book. I’m ready to be abandoned by my family this Diwali. Right now, I identify as a crazy woman who is determined to embarrass her family,” says Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, writer and filmmaker, laughing over a phone call from Mumbai.

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Tahira’s book The 7 Sins of Being A Mother, published by Juggernaut, has just released and has been hailed as humorous, honest and ribald in equal measure.

The breezy, confessional-style book investigates modern Indian parenting at large, and Tahira’s experiences of motherhood in particular. With dashes of wry humour interspersed with slices of life that spill out of her bedroom and the labour room, the book travels beyond the family dining table Tahira colonised to write it.

A busy life

Tahira is the author of four books and travels between Mumbai, where she lives with her actor-husband Ayushmann Khurrana and her two children, and Chandigarh, her hometown where she was raised and the first part of the book is based.

“This book is for women of every kind, who are always under scrutiny; who have to tick all the white boxes, suppress their libido while pregnant, be holier than thou and put their family first. I don’t judge if you nurse your child into toddler-hood. But don’t judge me for topping my baby’s feed with formula milk when I’m unable to. What do you mean ‘never mind’ when I tell you I’ve had a Caesarean?” asks Tahira,taking us through her back-to-back deliveries, and the long litany of what to eat and what not to. All this, while her ‘boy’, as she refers to Ayushmann, goes about living his life without a blip.

The book published by Juggernaut | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

In the book, Tahira takes the seven cardinal sins and examines them in the context of parenting.

“I speak for all mothers who may not feel maternal at first and are judged; for those who are made to feel guilt because they forgot their baby in a restaurant like I did. It’s not okay to do that, but I’m sure if the father had done the same the people in the lift would’ve laughed with him and not stared in horror like they did at me. It’s the way guilt is weighed in on the mother, more so in patriarchal societies, that rankles. Now, there is realisation that self-love is important, although mother’s guilt is inbuilt in our DNA,” she says.

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There is also the Bangkok chapter, when the couple decides to take a quick break from young parenthood. Was Ayushmann comfortable with the revelations? The happenings in that one would make the reader gasp or giggle and when asked if the well-known actor-husband was comfortable with the revelations, Tahira says, “The fact that it made it to the book is because we allow each other to grow; don’t need permission from each other. We celebrate each other’s individuality and take our work seriously. I met him at 18, and humour is my voice. My writing may be raunchy even when I’m making a substantial point.”

Through her experiences with nannies and nurseries, surgery and chemotherapy, swear words and sexual abuse, Tahira aims to liberate her reader from fear and guilt. Her views are subjective, often debunking the glorification of motherhood, without sounding obnoxious. “Women are complex creatures with shades of light and dark. If there is a syllabus to be a Bollywood wife and mother, I’ve clearly failed that test. But it’s important that my kids don’t feel alienated by my parenting, that they are able to discuss love, life and everything in between with me.”

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