A warm festive shoot

Mother Koneenica Banerjee and daughter Antahkarana brighten up the pages of The Telegraph
Koneenica Banerjee and daughter Antahkarana

She has changed me completely. I was patient before too, but ei boyeshe eshe, bhalobashar shotyi ki ortho sheta o aamai bujhiyechhe. At times, she’ll just keep looking at me and I would be like: ‘Am I so important?’ She has made me believe there is still bhalobasha, but since we are all in a race against time, we don’t get to take that time out. But may be since I have to take out that time now, these realisations are occurring to me now.

Did you take parenting tips from your mother?

We all need tips. Even to raise a kitten or a puppy, we need tips. Human kids are much more interesting. I am still learning all the time. I feel every woman should experience motherhood once. Jiboner meaning ta bodle jai tate. It is a huge learning. I bonded with her in the lockdown.

You don’t feel the pressure to be a good mom?

I am not a good mom. We are all humans and every mom is a good mom. Recently my blood pressure fell so much that I fell asleep singing her lullabies. When I woke up, I saw she was playing. Does that make me a bad mom? There is no competition for moms. What they do, even if dads want, they can’t. They can’t multitask.

What are your dreams for her?

She should be a good human being. That’s why I named her Antahkarana (the inner cause).

Meet Antahkarana
  • Age: One year four months. “She was a quiet kid in the beginning but she is getting naughtier by the day,” smiled Koneenica.
  • Birthday: June 12, 2019
  • Height: 70cm!
  • Loves eating: Pasta and noodles. “I try not to give her, but she is so thin that even if she puts on weight after consuming a bit of that, it’s a big deal. I am training her to eat with her hands,” said Koneenica.
  • Also loves: Taking off bindis from people’s foreheads and instructing Alexa. She loves watching rhymes and is a big Badshah and Hardy Sandhu “fan”. “Badshah kaku and Hardy kaku! I had hardly listened to them before this. My father once played the original Genda phool, but we couldn’t find it later, so we switched on the remix. Tarpor or naach shuru holo. If I ever meet them one day, I will say ‘thank you’. There is another song called Naagin gin gin. She loves it! I had thought I would not introduce her to a mobile phone or let her watch TV, but…. My mother also switched on Tamil songs that day. She loves colours and paintings and understands patterns. She loves casual clothes and doesn’t like trousers at all. She is very close to my father and loves her boxer pet called Boxer and is an animal lover,” laughed Koneenica.
  • Weakness: Threads and cords.
  • Koneenica’s favourite pastime with her: “I sing her lullabies. I spent most of my time with her,” she said.
1. Parama dressed Koneenica in a Mangalgiri silk with the motif of a hand-embroidered daak er saaj idol. “The pandemic made way for self-introspection. The traditional daak er saaj was getting lost somewhere. I really wanted to do a traditional one like the Bagbazar puja idol. The references are from the photographs we clicked over the years,” said Parama. Antahkarana wore the Lokhhi Meye dress, totally made for her. “The form is of a mother and daughter with the mother tying the hair. I think that’s my most affectionate memory of my mother. After marriage, I missed that so much. The writing is in my best friend’s handwriting,” said Parama. This shot was clicked when we could actually sit the bundle of energy down!
2. Antahkarana looked like a cupcake in this shiuli jamdani sari. “You can’t think of a Puja without shiuli flowers. This Puja we have launched saris and dhotis for kids,” said Parama. Mom Koneenica draped a hibiscus sari. The wooden animal motif blocks on Parama’s table ensured that the little one was engaged enough to flash her cutest smile.
3. From the moment she walked in, all Antahkarana had her eyes set on were Koneenica’s red bindis. This was the fifth one to go off the actress’s forehead.
4. While Koneenica paired a hand-embroidered Mangalgiri shiuli sari with a jamdani blouse with hand-embroidered flowers, her candy-sweet daughter slipped on a shikara dress. “We are calling this the Firdous dress. I think we have missed travelling for Pujas this time. So, I thought of bringing alive a favourite destination, like Kashmir. Antahkarana looks like the girl in the dress, with apple-red cheeks,” said Parama.