Padma Lakshmi: On breaking stereotypes, being a mother and living with endometriosis
Padma Lakshmi's spat with Salman Rushdie was because she was suffering from endometriosis, a painful condition affecting the lining of the womb.
Indian-born American author, actress, model, television host and executive producer, Padma Lakshmi made it to the breaking news sections when she divorced controversial Indian-British writer, Sir Salman Rushdie.
When I gave birth to Krishna after being told I would never have children, I began to see the world in a new light. Like most new parents, I resolved to work harder so that she would have opportunities I never had. I began to see a world of possibility, a new world where I could help this little being be the best of who she wanted to become, to taste and savor the world and find her place in it without limits or constraints because of her gender or color. She would have it easier, she would have so much of what we did not. She would inherit this new world. Born in a country that came around to the grace of marriage equality in her short lifetime, she would know that she could love whom she wanted, even if they came from across a border like her mother and grandmother had. To say that the last year and a half has been very meaningful, to explain why her mother has supported Hillary, would be a gross understatement. Enjoying this process with her young curious mind meant that it gave me many real life teaching moments about loving your neighbor, fairness and equality, respecting women and men, each other, all of us. The very real and palpable idea that we would finally have a female in the highest office was exhilarating, in a house full of girl power that still loved and admired the males in our lives. The next few days will be teaching moments too. As I watched her sleeping face in the predawn darkness before leaving her for the airport today, I felt I was leaving a world behind. The world of Barack Obama, of tolerance, of dignity and empathy. I fought hard to form thoughts about what to say to her, to explain the world to her young and hopeful ears in a way that she could grasp. Frankly I am still grasping it myself.... But that world of tolerance is not gone; like love, it lives in our hearts and is expressed through our hands in action as well as our words. One day, there will be a Madam President, if not in my lifetime, in hers. But until then, I would use the words of our great HRC , "never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it." Photo courtesy of Terry Gruber photography #SenecaFalls #LillyLedbetter #littlehands
Padma Lakshmi is a winner in the true sense of the word. Born in Chennai, her mother divorced and shifted to New York when she was just 2. At the age of 14, she was detected with Stevens- Johnson syndrome, followed by a massive car accident which left her with a broken hip and arm, causing a lifelong 7-inch scar on her right arm.
She is known to have fallen in love with older men and failed relationships till she finally found the real love of her life- her daughter Krishna, her beliefs and her culture. She is also known to be one of the very prominent brown faces in a world dominated by white men.
Little do people know, her spat with Rushdie was because of a disease she was suffering from, and her ex-husband's insensitivity towards it. She realised that she was suffering from endometriosis, a painful condition affecting the lining of the womb.
When she refused sex due to the pain, he would reply: “How convenient”, she mentioned in her autobiography. After a five-hour surgery, Padma Lakshmi had stitches in four organs and stents in her kidneys. But Sir Salman left the next day for a work trip. As soon as she could leave the house, she went to a divorce lawyer.
She then started the Endometriosis Society in the US to build awareness towards this medical condition that not only creates physical scars, but also mental ones.
From being a super model to hosting the award winning Top Chef, she is now an activist and a true fitness believer.
A recent excerpt from her interview she said, "Every year after filming, I go on a diet and exercise every day. My daughter has absorbed this. She sees how I get dressed. Added to this, I’m a physically affectionate parent, I like to hug my daughter and lift her. But she’s seven-and-a-half now. Inadvertently, I’d said she’s getting too heavy to lift."
"Then she heard me say that I have to lose weight. One day, she tells me that she’s watching her figure, parroting what I’d said. So I’d made a conscious decision that no red-carpet event or dress is more important than sending my daughter the right message. Also, I think that curvy women too are incredibly beautiful, like my aunt Neela."
From living true to her roots, Padma also made sure her daughter always got to live and breathe both the sides of the world. She makes sure, that she has frequent trips to the south and her daughter participates in all festivals.
The most difficult part of being a celebrity is that there is a constant radar under one's life, and when so many speculations and rumours do the round, it becomes tough to stay real. Padma Lakshmi is one such person who has always been open and vocal about her life, her choices and her situations.
From being abused and molested as a child, to not willingly disclosing Krishna's real father; she finally has found peace in her beliefs and Adam Dell. During Father's Day this year, sparks of patch up seem to have flown around.
Many-a-times we find our lives to be like a roller coaster ride, but the only way to deal with it is to enjoy it. Situations are inevitable, but the earlier one makes peace with it, or does something about it to change it in one's favor, the wiser it is.
1. Don't Run, Face It: When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade! The only solution to any situation is to face it. The earlier acceptance seeps in, the stronger you become to handle the situation. Denial makes it just more difficult with an added layer of struggle and self-pity.
2. All's well, that End's well: May be your journey hasn't started the way you wanted it to start. But hey, life gives you more chances than you can ever imagine. If you want to change the way your life is currently, make an effort and change it NOW, so that the story ends the way you want it to be.
3. Kids as the first Priority: You may think, that having kids is an option, but in reality, it is a privilege. So make sure, that once you decide that you want to have one, none of your other actions or situations hamper their well being. Your choices should not end up being as their traumatising childhood.
At the same time, make sure you are not suffering as well. There is always a middle way out to balance both, make sure you keep your kids as your first priority.
*This article first appeared on theIndusparent