Chahatt Khanna created ripples as a model with hundreds of ad films. As an actress, she has essayed memorable roles in successful soaps like Bade Acche Lagte Hain, Qubool Hai, and in movies including Prasthanam, Thank You, Saat Phere. As a single mom, she is a force to reckon with, bringing up her two little daughters and combating orthodox mindsets galore. Meet the celeb mother as she gets candid about her views on parenting and on educating single mothers in slums about their basic rights.

Excerpts from a conversation with Express Parenting:

How old are the girls?

Zohar is three, and Amaira is two.

Are you staying with family?

My father stays with us. I have kept nannies for both my babies. The flipside is that I have to work harder to ensure I make enough money to be able to afford these perks, as without this infrastructure in place, I cannot work.

Are you co-parenting the children with your ex-husband?

I would have liked to, but it requires a progressive line of thought of both parents. The kids spend time with him on Sundays. I do want them to get their father’s love.

What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

Honestly, however young, beautiful, successful, talented I might be, the mindset is that I am a divorcee with two children (read: “liability”). A woman who might be less proficient than me, yet single, will score over me when it comes to getting work. People always judge you in light of your past. This stigma will always be there, stemming from the mindset of 80 per cent of our population. That is a truth of life, whether you like to admit it or not.

How does that impact you?

There are people who would have approached me otherwise for work, but now some people label me “avoidable” owing to the situation I am in at the moment. It isn’t easy. Sometimes I break down, then get up, resolute and move forward. I am a born survivor, like a spring which bounces back when put under tension. I have two children to bring up. This situation also got me thinking: if this is the prevalent mentality in the upper middle class to which we belong, what about the women in the lower middle class, grappling for their sheer existence? This realisation made me introspect on many issues.