The battle of the mothers beginsRajul Hegde in Mumbai
Starting 9 pm tonight, socialite Pooja Bedi and Anuradha Nigam, wife of comedian Rajeev Nigam, will trade their lives as part of Maa Exchange, a modified Indian version of the sensational British reality show Wife Swap.
The show has two women from different socio-economic backgrounds and culture mindsets exchanging places and running the other's household for eight days. On the first four days, they will have to follow the old rules laid by the original mother. On the remaining four days, the family will follow the rules laid by the incumbent.
Over a period of 13 weeks, the bi-weekly show will see 26 mothers -- including television actress Apara Mehta and actor Sudesh Berry's wife -- swapping their homes.
Pooja and Anuradha, who kick off the show, share their experience with Rediff.com.
Image: The Maa Exchange promo
'When I entered Nigam's house, there were rotten food with worms in the utensils'
Pooja Bedi shares her experience:
It doesn't matter whether you are living in a smaller or a bigger place, but I expect the house to be clean. When I entered Nigam's house, the kitchen sink was filled with unwashed utensils and there were rotten food with worms creeping out. I felt the environment which they were living in was unhygienic and did all the work.
The cupboard was cluttered with one of the mopping dusters inside it and the pooja place was not cleaned for days. I expected them to at least keep the house clean when they were expecting some guest (due to Maa Exhange) at their place. I had made a very nice arrangement for Anuradha Nigam's welcome before I went to their house. I put a nice welcome home banner on the door and a gift hamper for her beauty and care on the table.
People have a notion that you are plastic, robotic and the kid's upbringing is bad if you are living in a beautiful and clean house. I think it high time we break the stereotype. For instance, Anuraddhaji is a housewife, taking care of her family and the house is her life. Her son Yash has decayed teeth because he was given ladoos and chocolates for breakfast, which I didn't like. If I give my children a choice of porridge, eggs, bread, etc for breakfast, she thinks I am giving them a menu.
I was shocked when I got to know about what people think about us. My children score better than her son -- he scores only 2/10. This means I take care of my children better than her. It's not about sacrifices you claim to have made that matters. It's what you have to show for it that does. Being simple is not an excuse for careless home environment. If you choose to be a home maker it's a job you have undertaken like any other and it's not a sacrifice or ground for moral superiority.
Image: Pooja Bedi
'Pooja Bedi's kids were not ready to adjust'
Anuradha Nigam shares her experience:
When the process started I was in two minds, but finally I agreed. Pooja's house was really pretty and there were a lot of paintings that I loved. Since her daughter also paints well, I put a painting of hers in the house as encouragement.
I agree that my house was not very clean when Pooja came. I have a reason for that. I was out of town for my brother-in-law's wedding and I don't have 24/7 maid in the house like her. I do it myself and in my absence my husband or my son will not do anything. If you come and see my house now you will come to know how clean I have kept the house.
If she is speaking of hygiene, then she should be careful about her children when they eat with the same hand with which they feed their pet dog.
Since I am from a middle-class family even I had problems adjusting to their lifestyle. I am not raised nor do I raise my child in a situation where kids are given a menu for breakfast and live a plastic life.
I tried to give the same love and affection to Omar and Alia (Pooja's children) but her children were against me and they were influenced by their three maids.
I set the rules that they had to sit on the floor and have food, but they refused. I told them to experiment, but they were not ready to listen. From the beginning their expectations were high or may be they were looking for Pooja in me, so they were not ready to adjust. I couldn't convince them also because they are teenagers and they have their own opinions.
Image: Anuradha Nigam