*Photo courtesy – Mahesh Thakur Facebook Page
Our interviewer Deepti has been following Mahesh Thakur on Facebook for a while. His spiritually-inclined posts helped her understand her life better. For this Lucknow-based journalist, a trip to Mumbai would have been incomplete without meeting Mahesh. The two met at Cherish Studio where actor Mahesh Thakur was shooting for a television serial. True to his beliefs, he had a very insightful take on life, and in this case, parenting. Read on and find out how Mahesh Thakur applies his relationship with God to his existence, parenting and other bonds in his life.
Mahesh Thakur, 48 years, Actor, Mumbai
Interviewed by Deepti Ojhaa
Why did you decide to give us an interview on parenting?
Parenting is the foundation of every individual’s life. Parenting gives you a base to stand on. It is very important that we as parents give that to our children, and we as children give it to our parents. It is the basic foundation of family, and when you talk of family you talk of parenting first.
Are you a parent?
I have two sons. My older son is 16 and the younger is 12 years old.
How are you as a father?
I transformed from a caretaker to a friend and then to a guide. You can mould them but you should know when to let them walk their path. I never have any expectations from my children.
Why is that?
If you have a good relationship with God, you will have absolutely no expectations from life. But if you have a relationship with fellow humans, you start doing things for them or to prove something to them. But you never do anything to prove to God. When you have a relationship with God, you will do things for yourself and you will do your best, and only as much as you can.
What have been your experiences as a parent?
Parenting has a lot to do with the sociology of the world we live in. What most of us do is put our thoughts into our child. If the child thinks differently, we don’t allow it. A good example would be if a child is old enough to question religion, we don’t like it. We never allow a child to explore religion. Is there any parent who allows a child to explore religion or have an overview of different religions? If you are born into a family, you need to practice the religion followed in that family. So in my case, I like to give the freedom of knowledge to my children.
Take my family for instance. I come from a family where my mother believed in the Guru Granth Sahib. She used to read the Gurumukhi. But every time I used to ask her questions, she wouldn’t have any answers. It wasn’t easy for her to translate the script for me and tell me what the scriptures were about. So she was practicing a religion but she couldn’t explain it to me.
You seem to be very passionate about God and parenting…you have so much to say.
As parents, we want to make a house for our children, make a bank-balance and we want to do so much, but this is like taking away the experience of life from our children. If we do everything for our children, what will our children have to give to their children? Has anybody thought of that? So are you doing “good” for yourself and your ego? Isn’t going through the struggles of life an experience too? Let our children make their lives and live their lives. Learn to let them go. Give them love and guidance. God has actually made us a guide. Parenting means taking care of God’s child not your child.
Let’s talk about your parents now. How did your parents react to your career in Bollywood?
I am very happy to have open-minded parents. They wanted me to find my destiny in life and do what I wanted to do. I belong to a business family from Central America. I am not from here. So I came here to meet my grandmother, because my grandmother was the one who brought me up. She wasn’t keeping well, and she was in the last stages of her life. I wasn’t doing much so I started modeling, doing fashion shows, doing ad prints and ad films. I used to work to keep myself busy and earn a little money, and be with my grandmother. And soon my grandmother started becoming alright. I mean when I came to India seeing the condition she was in, we thought she will live only for a year or two, but after I came her health improved and she lived on for another seven years.
What year was this?
This was in 1993. What was lacking in my grandmother’s life was love and attention. The loneliness in her life got filled up with my presence. The move by itself just goes to prove that we humans need interaction, care and love.
She got a reason to live now…
She now had to get up in the morning to see if her grandson was eating something or not. There was a force to heal herself mentally and emotionally.
You have incredible faith in God. Is there any incident that cemented your belief in God?
Yes. The year was 1996. I had just got married. There were some financial constraints and that year I needed money to buy a house. There was a Home TV contest running around that time…Have you heard of Home TV?
Yes…a TV channel ages ago…?
Yes…the channel had organized a slogan writing competition to promote itself and was going to give a house as the first prize. The competition was open to all viewers from India to UAE to Hongkong to all the countries where they had their presence. There were more than 40 lakh entries. One had to write the slogan on a postcard, paste a one-rupee stamp on it and post it in one of those red-colored post boxes. My wife entered the competition, and she wrote one postcard in her name, another one on my name and some other post cards on other people’s names.
She didn’t mention this to me even once. When the name was announced, I was watching the program on TV. My wife had gone out. And after a lot of suspense, the name was announced, “Mahesh Thakur”. I started laughing at the coincidence of the winner sharing the same name as mine…
So you didn’t know it was you?
No…I just didn’t know! And I got a call three days later saying somebody wanted to come home to see me. I wondered who it could be. Mini Mathur was the anchor and Kabir Khan was the cameraman. They fell in love with each other on that show…so they both landed up at my door with a mike and a camera asking him how I felt about my win!
And I asked them back, “What did I win?” (sounds excited)
They replied I won a house.
(Mahesh and Deepti laugh)
When I called up my wife to tell her this, she was elated and that’s when she told me she had entered our names in the competition.
Just look at how it all panned out – the first prize was a house. I was looking for a house. I didn’t get the second or the third prize, I got the first! I got what I wanted. It means God was looking out for me because I believe I have a one-on-one relationship with God.
The last question has nothing to do with your interview topic. But we ask everyone we interview – what does love mean to you?
Love is a choice and I believe it is made in heaven. We like to believe it is a choice we have made, but I believe it is destined. If it is meant to be, a person will come into your life; if it is meant to be, the person will stay in your life, and if it is meant to be the person will come to your life, stay for a while and leave.