At 49, jewellery designer Farah Khan Ali is more than just a celebrated entity. An insatiable traveller, she is also mother to two fantastic kids Azaan and Fiza, and strongly believes everyone has their own balance to find in life. As she circles 25 enriching years in the world of jewellery, she distills her travels, inspirations, experiences in her coffee-table book Farah Khan: A Bejewelled Life. With designer Zarine Khan as mom and actor-filmmaker Sanjay Khan as dad, the genesis of the creative crucible was bound to happen in Farah, and her two younger sisters Simone (Khan Arora) and Sussanne Khan. Excerpts from a conversation:
How old are the children now?
(Smiles) Fiza 14, Azaan is 17.
Are you reeling under the teen tantrums?
Fiza is a beautiful, kind, soft-hearted soul who tells me every day that someone or the other is in need of help. She even saved her allowance to buy me a gift on my birthday. And just the other day, my son’s tutor was telling me that even though Azaan’s concepts in maths may not be that great, he is sincere and honest in his work. That is all I want, that my children grow up into good, compassionate human beings with respect for all.
How different were you at the same age?
I was perpetually outdoors. Till 14, I led a very protected life. Then my father made me travel by bus everyday to town for college. He also wanted me to learn from people who had nothing yet knew how to smile. Humility was sown into us early on.
What would you say has been the most important thing you have learnt from your mother?
It is very important for every woman to work and earn her own money. If you are financially independent, you have a voice. Else, you are giving control of your life to someone else. Thank God, my mother has always worked. Otherwise, we would have been wiped out as a family, when in 1989 a massive fire had ravaged the sets of my father’s production The Sword of Tipu Sultan. There were so many people who had to be paid, reimbursements to be taken care of….that was an extremely exacting period for all of us, financially and emotionally.
What is that something you learnt from Mom that you employ as a parent?
Objectivity and problem solving. Always listen to the other person to absorb the facts of the situation before taking a decision. Often, I would return home from school, upset over a fight, and she would hear me out, ask what the other person said and did to understand the entire run-up, and then explain to me why I was wrong. I saw prudence in this technique. See, I would rather have a spoilt child than a spoilt adult. I make use of the same technique with my own kids.
So your mother is the superglue of the family?
Absolutely. She holds the entire family together, takes the effort to plan lunches and dinners to ensure all of us can meet and catch up. She keeps track of everyone.
Your biggest takeaway from Dad?
Be respectful towards all, from a sweeper to a millionaire. I take after my father’s grit and determination.
Shilpi Madan for Indian Express