‘My world changed the day Aaradhya was born.’
By a providential coincidence, Aishwarya already had the Bachchan middle name ‘Rai’ in her name when she became the family’s daughter-in-law.
“Isn’t it a lovely coincidence? As if the One above had planned it,” she once told Subhash K Jha.
Over the years, Aishwarya has become a metaphor for physical beauty. So blinding is her beauty that people forget she has a very intelligent mind ticking behind those looks.
Many fell in love with her.
She fell in love twice.
One whom she couldn’t marry.
The other whom she happily married.
Aishwarya fell in love with Abhishek Bachchan during the shooting of J P Dutta’s Umrao Jaan. They would be missing from the sets for hours driving the finicky JP up the nearest papier-mache wall. Once, he got so exasperated that he ripped up her costume into pieces after waiting for her to reach the sets for a dance number.
Aishwarya’s in-laws Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan have no interest or say in her career decisions. She doesn’t discuss the films she signs with them.
Jaya once said she was surprised to see her daughter-in-law in a film whose premiere she attended. Only then did she get to know Aishwarya was in the film!
Aishwarya balances her duties as a mother beautifully with her career.
While doting on daughter Aaradhya and refusing to let her out of sight, Aishwarya is also the disciplinarian in the family.
While Abhishek, Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan spoil Aaradhya silly, Aishwarya knows where to draw the line.
Aishwarya says she and Aaradhya have a soul connection. Her day begins and ends with her daughter.
Once, she got very emotional talking about her daughter: “Her constant presence in my life is not even something I consciously think about it. It’s just there! And I wonder how I lived before she was born. Only a parent would understand how I feel.”
“My world changed the day Aaradhya was born. Everything is the same around me, but she has changed the way I look at the world. The world that I now occupy with my daughter is my reality. Everything else is a secondary.”
Aaradhya has learnt to cope with her mother’s superstardom.
“What is really reassuring is that she has incredible resilience, by God’s grace,” Aishwarya says.
“She has seen this public attention from infancy. When faced with crowds, she becomes very silent and observant, as though taking it all in. Yes, she clings to me in public because there are people screaming and jostling. In fact, I get more nervous when I am in crowds with her than she is.
“I take her with me everywhere so she is a part of my multi-tasking life. I keep it as real for her as possible, and very normal. Now she is in school like any normal girl. But even when she was a toddler, I’d take her to the park to be with other children. It becomes difficult in Mumbai but when I’m travelling, I used to take her out to the park. Even there, there are people who recognise us.
“Aaradhya has to have a normal life. I’ve explained to her that is my life and now she’s part of it, so she’s comfortable in it. When people meet Aaradhya, they say she’s such a normal child. That’s my reward as a mother.”
People assume Aishwarya has a posse of workers helping her with her mothering duties. But she’s has never had nurses or nannies for Aaradhya.
This was partly due to ignorance. When Aaradhya was born, Aishwarya didn’t know one could hire reliable help for one’s child.
Aishwarya looks forward to growing old with her husband and daughter.
We look forward to seeing all three on screen some day.
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