Culture

All about my mother

This Mother’s Day, we got a few of our favourite people to dig through their family albums — all for mum’s sake

Freny Taraporewala

Soon Taraporevala with her mother, Freny Taraporevala (right) 

FRENY TARAPOREVALA by SOONI TARAPOREVALA

SCREENWRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILM-MAKER

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“My mother, beloved Miss Freny to countless students, was a nursery teacher, who gave tuitions and also modelled in her free time — I don’t think she was ever quite at ease though, on the ramp or in from of the camera. She was very shy. My dad, Rumi, a keen amateur photographer, took many photos of us with the Rolleicord camera he borrowed from his uncle, Shapur. Both these photos were taken by him. One is of my mother on our Cozy Building balcony, the other was taken in Nainital, on a Lala’s Tour where I had, as the story goes, driven my mother crazy. Miss Freny, despite being a teacher, was not one for words. What I remember are her concerned comforting hands on my forehead when I burned with fever, and her silent and incessant prayers for all of us.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“At 18, when I left for university in the US, she told me: think of God when you are in trouble, or even when you are not; just pray every day.” 

Aishwarya Nair and Lakshmi Nair

Aishwarya Nair with her mother, Lakshmi Nair (left) 

LAKSHMI NAIR by AISHWARYA NAIR

HOTELIER, THE LEELA HOTELS

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“My mother is kind, wise and a beacon of light for my entire family — including my father, my older sister Amruda, and my younger brother Aushim, and our two dogs, two turtles and four cats. To keep such a disjointed, creatively different family together is a real mission, but she does it with pure ease and wilful joy. She nds the best in people and has an irrepressible and intoxicating joie de vivre. This picture was taken by my mother-in-law, Meena Mathew, at a puja on the morning of my court marriage, making it doubly special. I think it describes us the best. My mum is holding the oil that fuelled the ceremonial lamp.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“Wake up with gratitude, every day. Be inspired, energised and disciplined in everything you do.” 

 

Anjali Mody and Zia Mody

Anjali Mody with her mother, Zia Mody (right) 

ZIA MODY by ANJALI MODY

FOUNDER, JOSMO STUDIO

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“This was taken at my third birthday party, when all I wanted to do was eat cake, but my mum wanted me to smile for my father, who was taking this photo. I love it because it’s authentic. It shows her patience and my craziness.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“Give the best to anything you do — and do it with the utmost virtue. Being a good person, creating an impact and being the most authentic version of yourself must always come first, no matter what the sacrifices.” 

 

Radhika Chopra by Roopika Saran

Radhika Chopra (far right) with her mother Tina Chopra, sister Nandita and daughter Maya 

TINA CHOPRA by RADHIKA CHOPRA 

ART PATRON AND FOUNDER, NO. 3 CLIVE ROAD

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“Our embrace in this photograph says it all — three generations of women in my family. Our body language reveals our relationship; we’re ercely protective of each other and surrounded by in nite love. And now, as my mother ages and my daughter grows, the photograph shows how the roles have reversed from when my sister and I were young. My mother is my biggest champion. She is the reason I grew into the woman I am today.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“Don’t be afraid of your intelligence and what you have worked for. No one can take your education away from you.” 

 

Shireen Gandhy and Khorshed Gandhy

Shireen Gandhy with her mother, Khorshed Gandhy (right) 

KHORSHED GANDHY by SHIREEN GANDHY

GALLERY DIRECTOR, CHEMOULD PRESCOTT ROAD

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“I was my mother’s tail. Her sari pallu was my anchor. Growing up, I started helping my mother run the gallery. Slowly, my interests began to get more af rmed. This photograph tells the story like it is. I began to nd my niche, curating works that were generationally different from the ones my parents normally displayed. Slowly, the gallery began to tell a different story. Looking back, the transition was egoless. My mother and I worked together for 25 years, functioning as a team, with her as my guardian angel, always watching my back.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“When you hold a grudge, reason it out with the person. Don’t give in, and don’t give up winning back the con dence of your adversary.”

 

Gauri Devidayal and Meera Devidayal 

Gauri Devidayal with her mother, Meera Devidayal (left) 

MEERA DEVIDAYAL by GAURI DEVIDAYAL

OWNER, THE TABLE AND MAGAZINE STREET KITCHEN

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“This picture was taken at the surprise party we had organised for my mother’s 70th birthday. Some of our immediate family members don’t live in Mumbai, but it just so happened that everyone was here for this. So, it was extra special for her — and a change, since usually she’s always the one throwing parties for people.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“Whatever you do, do it in the best way you can — or don’t bother. She made me always aspire to the highest standards and turned me into the perfectionist I am today.” 

 

Namita Gokhales mother Neeraja Pant

Namita Gokhale’s mother, Neeraja Pant (right), and aunt, Pushpa Pant (left) 

NEERAJA PANT by NAMITA GOKHALE

AUTHOR, PUBLISHER AND FESTIVAL DIRECTOR

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“This photograph of my mother, Neeraja Pant (right), and her cousin, Pushpa Pant, was taken around 1955. The cubs had been gifted to my grand-uncle, Pandit Govind Ballabh, and were later given to a zoo.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“My mother has never given me any advice, except on health, exercise, posture and other such things, all of which I have blissfully disregarded. She has always led by example with her utterly reasonable and pragmatic attitude.” 

 

Gaurav Bhatia and Nalini Bhatia

Gaurav Bhatia with his mother, Nalini Bhatia 

NALINI BHATIA by GAURAV BHATIA

MANAGING DIRECTOR, SOTHEBY’S (INDIA)

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“My mum and I are often travel buddies, and this is a favourite photo of mine from our holiday last year. This was taken at the Ritz in Paris, at our favourite chef Nicolas Sale’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, La Table de L’Espadon. I still remember Sale’s signature langoustine cannelloni. Mum and I are hotel junkies, and love haute cuisine and wine. This image captures our bond beautifully; never mind the bickering that occurred seconds ago!”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“Live a full life, with elegance and generosity. She leads by example.” 

 

Aatish Taseer and Tavleen Singh

Aatish Taseer with his mother, Tavleen Singh 

TAVLEEN SINGH by AATISH TASEER

WRITER

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“This was at the Ritz in Paris on my 21st birthday. My mother brought me up on her own, but my nature was much closer to my father’s. I think she feared there was something self-destructive in that nature. Her present to me on this birthday was a letter. In it, she warned me that the world was full of people like my father, who are given everything by life, but never succeed to be happy. There was a danger, she said, in thinking of happiness as a gift. It was not. It was instead the sum of the
good energy one puts back into life. True happiness, she felt, was not an expectation, but an achievement—something one gave to life, rather than took.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“Only you will ever know what is real and what is not, because it changes with every life. But whatever you nd to be real and true and beautiful, that is what you must hold sacred and never de le.” 

 

 Jamini Ahluwalia2

Maithili Ahluwalia’s mother, Jamini Ahluwalia 

JAMINI AHLUWALIA by MAITHILI AHLUWALIA

FOUNDER, BUNGALOW EIGHT

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“This is one of my favourite photographs of my mum. It was taken in the ’80s in the south of France, and captures so many facets in one frame: her individuality, warmth, ease, beauty, curiosity, and of course, her sense of style.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“To be my own person and own that uniqueness.” 


Meera Dham

Priti Mahajan’s mother, Meera Dham 

MEERA DHAM by PRITI MAHAJAN

BRAND ADVISOR AND FOUNDER, THE LIFESTYLE PROJECT

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“My darling mother is an amazing artist. She is also funny, naughty and unstoppable. As children, my brother Varun and I would spend many afternoons outdoors with her, learning to paint and falling in love with art and nature. This picture was taken a few weeks ago at my mum’s favourite spot in our backyard in Chandigarh. She’s showing my daughter, Jiya, how to use colour, just like she showed me all those years ago.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“‘Play with your colours, darling. Spill them, mix them, enjoy them; how else will you ever use them?’ Thank you, my darling mother, for bringing the joy of colour into my life.” 


Kamal Sawhney

Arjun Sawhney’s mother, Kamal Sawhney 

KAMAL SAWHNEY by ARJUN SAWHNEY

MANAGING DIRECTOR, THE COMMUNICATION COUNCIL

THE STORY BEHIND THE PHOTO

“This is my mum as a young bride, taken in Kolkata in the 1960s. For me, it’s special because it captures her youth and innocence.”

THE BEST ADVICE MUM’S GIVEN

“Always be even. Do not get carried away by success and wealth. Keep your feet on the ground. It is better to drive a sensible car all your life than drive an expensive car one day, and walk the next.”