My mom was the backbone of the family and now, at home, it’s like a vacuum. It is an unexplainable loss. But I want to celebrate my mother’s life as she lived a great life. Both my kids, Ananya and Rysa were so close to their daadi. Since they are young and tender, her demise has really affected them. They are yet to come to terms with the fact that their grandma is no more. At times, they are uncontrollable, but I try to be strong and make them understand that their grandma led a great life and now we have to continue her legacy.
My mother’s journey is inspiring and incredible. She was born with a rare heart defect in Pakistan, six or seven years before the India-Pakistan partition; she was not supposed to live beyond her age of 10 or 15 but she actually lived till 85 and how!. She was always happy; I never saw her sad in her life. I found her happy for no reason sometimes but she was a very positive person. I have travelled with her everywhere and I was known as a mama’s boy. Normally heroines used to take their mother along with them while travelling for films, I was the only hero who travelled with his mom. And since I didn’t have any steady girlfriend, I used to take my mother everywhere. I am glad that she got to see the world with me. When I was born, she always wanted to have a daughter and she got a son. So, till the age of 2, she used to dress me up like a girl. I used to wear these lovely earnings and that’s why today when I go shopping, I normally pick up ladies clothes and the shopkeeper asks me if this is for my wife or for my daughter and I say, it’s for me (chuckles). I was really a naughty kid and I had troubled my mother so much as a child. I remember once I had picked up my dad’s razor and had shaved my entire face along with the eyebrows and my mom got scared thinking that I have got some disease due to which I have lost all my facial hair and then she was very angry with me. I gave her some shocks but she always encouraged me.
I have always seen my mother working. I remember when my younger brother was born, my mom used to practice from home. Her dispensary was in the house, so I used to be a compounder to her, mix medicines and help her with whatever she needed, and carried her bag wherever she went for medical visits. Many celebs from the film industry visited her clinic as she was a health practitioner, and I was known as Dr Panday’s naughty son.
I will never forget an incident that gave me confidence and courage to survive in the industry. There was a talent competition organised by IMPPA, where we had to perform in front of some known producers. I participated and went there but when I saw other people performing, they were so good that I got nervous. I left that competition and since there were no mobile phones, I called up my mom from a public booth and told her that I can’t perform. She told me that if I step away from it today, I can never be an actor in my life. So, I went back to the studio and performed, and I actually won. I was going to run away from that competition and come home, but that phone call did change my life. I can never forget that phone call with my mom.