That Gulzar has a way with words has been demonstrated time and again but his filmmaker daughter Meghna Gulzar on Thursday revealed another facet of her poet-lyricist father -- he also excelled at braiding hair.
The father-daughter duo were speaking at the session, "Because We Are: A Portrait of My Father", at the Jaipur Literature Festival that opened at the Diggi Palace here on Thursday.
Meghna described Gulzar as a "maternal father" -- one who did not pay any heed to the conventional gender roles in parenting.
She said her father would tie her shoelaces when she was a child and also braid her hair, an art he worked hard to learn because Meghna was very particular about her hair.
"Today, we talk about fathers and mothers breaking stereotypes and exchanging parental roles. He was doing this many, many years ago.
"He did all these things which we know were not traditionally the role of the father. But he embraced it completely and excelled at that," the daughter of Gulzar and actor Rakhee said.
Gulzar was quick to accept the praise coming his way, and happily declared, "I am a very good mother."
"I was not born a father and I was not born a mother, I became a father for her and became a mother for her," he said.
Among other qualities of Gulzar as a parent, Meghna said his "equal approach" to her even as a child worked wonders for her.
"Thinking that they know more than their children is a mistake many parents make, because their experience as a parent is only as much as that of the child.
"So, if your child is two-year-old, you are also two-year-old as a parent and that is your experience as a parent. This equal approach has been the approach of my father," she said.
The fact that her father always talked to her and never down to her was very "precious", Meghna, who made her debut at the literary festival, said.
The wordsmith couldn't resist chipping in with a quick comment, "I hope she does the same to her child."
The session, that also talked about Meghna's 2004 book "Because He Is", was replete with anecdotes, revealing how doting Gulzar has been as a father.
Meghna shared how her father when not shooting for movies would stop work at sharp 3:30 in the afternoon because that was when her school got over.
"He was always there to pick me up from my school. He does that even today, but only this time it is for his grandson," she said.
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