It’s said that daughters are often the shadow of their mothers; but these daughters have also been the beacon of light for these strong willed women who gave birth to them. So here’s raising a toast to the darling daughters!
Matching footsteps, following tech commands
Being an artist or performer comes with the responsibility to be the torchbearer of a legacy, which is often passed down through generations. But when you are a teacher, alongside being a parent, to a daughter who takes after you, then learning becomes a two-way street!
They are “friends, co-choreographers and of course, guru-shishya”. The Delhi-based mother-daughter duo of Padma Shri Geeta Chandran and Sharanya is one such example in the world of Indian classical dance. Sharanya shares how her mother was the reason that she got introduced to Bharatanatyam, and adds, “My mother’s creativity, dedication, skill and holistic approach to the craft has inspired me to engage, experiment, and fall and stay in love with Bharatanatyam.”
While the young one has received grace and technique in the dance form, as a gift from her mother, she has also been her mum’s guru. Ask how, and tech comes to the rescue…errr, reply! Recalling the time when the pandemic induced lockdown brought life to a standstill, Geeta Chandran says, “Sharanya mentoring me through this prolonged lockdown — when I had to embrace technology to present my dance as well as continue my teaching — has truly been godsend! So, in a way, these silos of mothers teaching daughters, etc can be quickly reversed and turned on its head; as it happened in our case!”
For the love of art
For painter Shobha Broota, the confidence of her daughter, mixed-media artist Pooja Iranna, has played a crucial part in developing her own oeuvre. She explains, “Pooja’s various skills in different fields such as architecture, fashion and gardening are admirable. She would often change the medium of her art practice so seamlessly that it inspired me, too! Then at one point in time, I realised that we both learn from each other and our understanding is thus intertwined. She has surpassed me at a very young age with her social skills, compassion towards others and approach towards her profession. How she perceives the world from her own point of view changed my own. If I hadn’t fully open my senses, I wouldn’t have learned so much from my daughter.”
Whereas for Pooja, the source of her inner strength lies in her mother. “My mother’s ability to work endlessly without expectation, and to depend on oneself for everything, has made me what I am today. Her perseverance and patience have taught the artist and woman in me to happily be myself,” says the daughter.
In the field of visual arts and photography, the daughters of conservation architect Gurmeet Sangha Rai are individuals who have carved their own paths. This mother feels, “having daughters is like reliving your own life”, and adds, “When you see your children grow, you can see yourself, your vulnerabilities, and where the mind application is or where the heart application is. It’s like an X-ray through your own life! When you are 20-25, there is a purity of expression, and as you grow older there’s conditioning that happens. When you look at your girls, you want to be more spontaneous and open hearted… Learning is more like a process. I see these millennial kids as more daring. As you get older, your vulnerabilities expand. And with my daughters around, I drop some of those thoughts. It’s a lot of self check and awareness!”
On the other hand, Avani Rai opines that it’s her mother’s passion for “understanding vernacular, people and cultures that inevitably intermingle with her spaces”, which is enough proof of her very own purpose and passion in life. “This constant ‘push the boundary’ energy that lies at my mother’s core has been an essential inspiration in my approach to what I do. Our bond is best described in this sense of belonging and simultaneous love for freedom,” says Avani, and multimedia artist-designer Purvai Rai recalls how their Nani (maternal grandmother), “who was a single parent to five daughters”, including Gurmeet, made an impact on lives of all of them. “A lot of my mom’s strength comes from the fact that all these women have grown up supporting each other and becoming independent. That’s something both my parents imbibed in mine and my sister’s existence — to be independent, to be creative and to follow what you want to do. So our parents have always celebrated everything we do with criticism as well, so we can be better versions,” says this daughter of veteran photographer Raghu Rai.
Author tweets @siddhijainn