How early in life did you become aware of fitness?
I think very early in life, in fact... in school.
How old is your son? How long did it take for you to get back into shape after the delivery?
My son will be nine years old. I was back in shape and working out in the gym, quite honestly, in two months time!
What is your take on dieting? Any food fads?
I don’t support diet fads or any of those crash diets at all. I am not somebody who encourages it, who does it or who endorses it… I am dead against it, purely because I don’t think it works. I believe in being healthy, eating healthy, eating right and working out. I think basically it’s a healthy lifestyle one should focus on.
Your strict No-Nos with respect to food?
I would say a definite ‘NO’ to fried foods and heavy food. Excess fried foods or any form of rich food is a complete No-No for me. I will never say ‘no’ to sweets, but rather have it in moderation and everything else in moderation.
What is your definition of ‘healthy food’?
I think food becomes heavy when it has cream, oil or spices added to it. I don’t like food that has too much of thick cream or dry fruits in it. I like simple and nicely cooked food than those heavy traditional Indian dishes.
Any homemade remedies for beauty, losing weight, hair and skin care?
I’ve always been somebody who endorses homemade stuff. I would rather prefer homemade face packs or whatever, or fruits; and to be very honest, I eat a lot of fruits --- be it orange, banana or avocado or any other. I have this habit that if I am eating any fruit, I always take out a bit from it and put it on my face, neck and hair. I tend to dip into my kitchen and take to these home remedies than to other things. I would also say that even drinking lots of water helps. I actually do that on a regular basis, which most people don’t believe in doing.
What’s the fitness secret to your envious hourglass figure?
I don’t think that our lifestyles are easy, but having said that, you have to work hard. Be it whatever, one has to work towards it to achieve it --- whether you want an hourglass figure or a good job or simply anything! If you want to be in good shape, pull up your socks and hit the gym and be dedicated to your regimen and you’ll see it happen.
From modelling to an MTV VJ to an item girl and along the way, a supermom… well, how do you summarize it?
It’s been a fantastic journey and has been a great learning experience. I have had my share of ups and downs. All I can say is that every day, every moment, every experience and every person in my life that I have met or I’ve known has been so unique, that I feel that it’s been a fantastic journey.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
Just like any other woman today!! You have to multitask and have to make sure that every aspect of your life is your priority and is looked into, and no aspect is neglected. You can’t give over importance to one aspect and overlook the others. I think everything has its own importance, be it work, family, home, children or friends – everything and everyone holds equal importance.
How do you ensure that your son is taken care of while you are out, shooting or doing shows?
We have a great system at home, between my husband Arbaaz and me. We make sure that one of us is at home and every aspect of home is looked into.
How do you manage to stay in shape despite being a busy mom and with even busier work schedules?
A busy work schedule is not an excuse to stay away from being healthy and not working out. You’ve got to love yourself. If you love yourself and make that extra effort, you will manage. You’ve got to do it. We are in a profession where our appearances matter eventually and are constantly under the scrutiny of the public eye. So, one has to make efforts and sacrifices. It’s all about loving yourself.
How close is your son Arhaan to you?
We are extremely close to each other. He is no different from any other boys. It’s not that he is not close to his father. It’s just that a mother can never be compared to others, especially for what she does for her child. I guess he is a Mama’s boy!
Who takes priority—work or child?
Nothing compares to your child and family… everything else is secondary. You can’t compare work to your child.
How was your childhood different from your child’s?
Benefits of today are far more than we could ever imagine. Times are so much faster now. We never had half the things that our kids have today. Life is so much more ahead and quality of life is incomparable in every aspect.
Do you have any diet chart for your son?
I do have a diet chart planned out for Arhaan – for a healthy active lifestyle. What I don’t eat, I don’t recommend for children. I would suggest healthy cooked food. I am not the kind of parent who stuffs my child with fast food.
How do you spend time with your son? What do you enjoy doing most when you are with him?
We love being together, be it playing games or watching TV, etc., or just simply reading a book out to him or playing a board game or downloading some information for him from the internet. In short, anything and everything together is enjoyable. When I have time, I make sure it is very special
How often do you cook for Arhaan? One thing that you’ve cooked and has been cherished by him?
I really enjoy cooking for my son and cooking together at times. Sometimes, I even bake for him. If he likes some changes in the recipe – we do it together. He appreciates all my endeavours. He is my best critic. Whatever I make and do, he always has amazing things to say. It’s very encouraging.
What is your specialty, as ‘chef Mallaika or chef mom’?
Anything! Right from making homemade puchkas, pastas or any snacks. Whatever my son feels like or I feel like trying, I cook. I love cooking and I also enjoy it.
As a working mother, what are your tips to working mothers and to all mothers in general?
It’s really important for all working mothers to take out time for themselves too and enjoy life. I don’t like giving out too much gyan as everybody is different and I guess, that for the kind of person that I am, when you are working, you tend to get very caught up and so it is really important, at times, to just switch off and unwind and make time for things that you love. Just enjoy those finer moments in life as life goes off and away very quickly, and by the time you realize, you are old and creaky! So, mothers should try and give attention to themselves also, besides children and family.
As a parent, what do you feel is the contribution of parents towards the emotional and physical well-being of a child?
That’s what parents are there for --- to be able to give their kids the right values, to understand them and be their friends, which is really important. I want to be my child’s friend. I would be unhappy or upset, if I see my child not coming and sharing anything with me. It’s very important to give them a very happy atmosphere. At the same time, I am of the school of thought that one should correct the child if he is wrong. I am not one of those who lets go off wrongs easily. I believe in correcting my child even if it is to shout at him or just letting him know that I am upset about him. I won’t think twice about that. I will make sure it’s corrected.
Have you started integrating sports and other fitness routines into your son’s daily diary?
Obviously! All kids should play sports. It channelizes their energy and thankfully my child is no different from the rest. In terms of sports and games, he loves cricket and he loves to bowl.
Have your already drawn some future plans for your son in terms of his career?
No not at all. He has a long way to go.He will realize or know his talent once he grows up.
What changes has motherhood brought upon you?
I think there are no superficial changes, but there are personal changes. I have become far more responsible now. It’s not that I was less responsible before. Motherhood brings about responsibilities. And it becomes a very important aspect of your life. As a mother, you would need to be much more understanding and I guess that’s how we need to be with children. You need to be calm and not just scream and shout at them. You’ve got to be very patient with them and that’s how I am. I think that is good, if not better.
Your take on motherhood – bringing with it responsibilities or joys?
I feel both...
Does motherhood complement beauty or is it a downside for the glam world?
I think that’s the way it is. Personally, talking about me, I think most women look far better after motherhood and they tend to become far more mature. Also, the level of beauty in stature is much more after one becomes a mother. Unfortunately, in this country, it is just the opposite. If you are a mother, you tend to be delegated as an ‘aunty’ or you are not looked as somebody who is ‘desired’ or somebody who is ‘beautiful’. I feel it is bad. I feel women tend to look better and better with motherhood and it’s a very weird concept here. You should always take pride in yourself.
What does Amrita mean to you?
Amrita is my other half and we are extremely close to each other, even today. I rely on her for judgment and a lot of other things. That’s the kind of understanding we both share.
What kind of a bond or times have you enjoyed with Amrita?
We were the only two daughters. We used to share our things with each other and always wondered what the other had. At times, we fought and argued like normal siblings. I was extremely protective about her during our growing up years. More than a sister, she was like my child. We had working parents and two of us were together most of the time. She being the younger one, was like my child.
What about sibling rivalry? Did the ‘J Factor’ ever creep in between the two sisters?
We never had any issues between us. We have always been like this ever since childhood.
What really works for you --- ‘six small meals’ or ‘three jumbo meals’?
Ideally, it should be six small meals, but I never land up doing that. I take three meals but I would not say they are jumbo meals. It’s just three regular meals. I don’t snack too much in between these meals. I feel that six small meals are far better for your system.
Malaika’s fitness regime for a week...
I try to go to the gym at least thrice in a week and also try to do yoga at least thrice a week. My gym involves basic weight training, functional training, kick-boxing, Pilates, etc. I alternate it with yoga on every alternate day. I go to Zarine Watson for gym and her boy trains me at her studio and a girl named Twinkle comes to me for yoga.
How do you unwind?
Unwind… Wow! I like to unwind with a nice hot bath, a great meal and a glass of wine, of course with my family and friends around me. That’s all.
MALAIKA'S DIET CHART
Early morning: One glass of warm water with honey and lime.
BREAKFAST: One small bowl of seasonal fruits.
Snack: A glass of vegetable juice. One egg white with two brown toasts.
LUNCH: Brown or red Goa rice, 2–3 vegetables, chicken or fish and one bowl of sprouts as salad.
Snack: Idli or poha or upma or one sandwich.
DINNER: (Latest by 8 pm) Soups or salad. A light meal without lentils.
Snack:(If hungry) An orange or carrots or any seasonal fruit, or dry fruits like figs, avocado or apricots.