I’d just wrapped up two editions in 10 hours and tottered home. The mind brakes had been applied as I sat down for dinner and thought longingly of dreamless sleep. Ah, blissful oblivion. I couldn’t wait! But I would have to wait because then Amitabh Bachchan did the unimaginable. He tweeted: T410—News news news!! I am going to become a grandfather, Aishwarya expecting… so happy and thrilled!!” And all hell broke loose!
“Get a quote from one of the Bs—Aishwarya, Abhishek, Jaya or Amitabh,” came the diktat from the big bosses. Tired, I picked up my Blackberry and started buzzing their managers. I was promised an official statement in a few minutes. The minutes ticked away. The phone lines were busy. The media circus had started! Finally, I got through to one of the publicists. “Mr Bachchan, as head of the family, has made the announcement, isn’t that enough of a confirmation?” she reasoned, admitting that she’d been caught by surprise too by the tweet, as she helped her school-going son cover and label his new term books.
Ah, the daily trial of a working mother trying to strike a never-perfect balance between her personal and professional life. I knew the feeling. My 12-year-old daughter Ranjika was shooting daggers at me, as I stayed connected on my BB. I could almost hear her thoughts aloud: Mummy gets home close to 10 pm and is working again within an hour, no time to even take my history lessons. Ufffffff!!!!! The saga of super Junior B continued into the next day as our teams in Mumbai and Delhi tried to scrounge for details about the most awaited baby. Grandfather-to-be sent a quote but the parents-to-be continue to maintain a tight-lipped silence.
Earlier this year, I had set up an interview date with Aishwarya in New Zealand. I was in Auckland to cover the shoot of Players and she was there to keep her husband company through his birthday and Valentine’s Day. We bumped into each other only the night before I was to catch an early morning flight back home, at the wrap-up party.
“Shall we talk now?” Aishwarya asked, giving me a warm hug. Too many people, too loud music and too little time, I pointed out reluctantly. It would be better to wait till we got back to Mumbai. I wouldn’t be returning empty-handed anyway, one of the Bs had spoken. “Yeah, we work for each other,” Abhishek chuckled.
The camaraderie between the two was heart-warming and I said as much to Ash when we met three weeks later at her office in Jalsa, a month before their fourth anniversary. “Yeah, he’s always been more of a friend than a husband, which is probably why these four years have flown so fast,” she smiled. “Marriage is a lifetime commitment and unless you are sure, you keep finding excuses to stall it. But when Abhishek proposed, I was ready for the ride.” I smiled back as I recalled catching her at the Kolkata airport, waiting to board a flight back home, just before the release of Pink Panther 2, and wondering what she’d want to steal if she were a thief for a day. “Nothing, I already have my diamond in Abhishek,” she shot back.
This time I wondered about all the baby talk that had started within days of their marriage and hadn’t stopped. Any truth? Her laughter rang out, “You tell me since you guys are the ones doing all the talking. A baby is God’s gift and whenever God plans it, you’ll know.” The gift’s arrived and as I was just telling a friend the other day, Abhi and Ash will make terrific parents. What say (grand) pa?