Bring out your kerchiefs but try not to gag in them, this piece of news is hard to beat. "Taimur Ali Khan loses his favourite toy"
was splashed in bold headlines on a news channel recently. I mean, factor in the enormity: here is a poor little rich toddler lost without his toy of choice, for which he may have sued his parents if they lived in the US. The desi
paparazzi probably doesn't have a child at home or they would know these things happen more often than his dad Saif Ali Khan's movie releases and most of us common folk are happy to deal with one less toy under our unsuspecting foot.
Taimur with parents Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan
The headline on one-year-old Taimur ate into Nirav Modi's share of the headlines. Taimur is by no means done with the spotlight. It's a no-brainer, there is Taimur in a ponytail
(fashion goals they say), staring at his dad's picture
(bring out those tissues again) or playing with "garden flowers"
(interesting because who knew flowers grew in the garden?)
Taimur is one of Internet's favourite star kids
If you want more star kids, then just turn the page and see Shahid Kapoor's daughter Misha going to school. Her near-daily pictures have told us one important thing: her impeccably dressed mom doesn't let her miss a day of playschool. In another nursery in faraway London, Princess Charlotte, daughter of William and Kate, also started school. Two pictures of the princess clicked by her own mother were made public and the rest of the time the little girl has been left to behave like a child with complete respect for her privacy.
Actor Shahid Kapoor's wife Mira Rajput with daughter Misha
I am sure that is enviable for stars like SRK who have learnt first-hand that it only gets worse with time. He once almost begged over eager cameramen to leave kids alone after his daughter Suhana was jostled at the screening of a movie. But that's not to say it can't be done. Photos of Rani Mukerji's daughter's birthday celebrations had Taimur (naturally), KJo's twins (breathing down Taimur's neck) but no birthday girl
, though mom Rani posed frequently.
Taimur with one of Karan Johar's twins - Yash - at Rani Mukerji's daughter Adira's birthday party
Who knows what the kids of Hollywood actors like Nicole Kidman or Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds look like? But I guess for every Gwenyth Paltrow, who posts pictures of her kids sparingly on Instagram, there are the Kardashians, who post non-stop albums of their youngest iterations keeping up. In India, if anyone comes closest to that family, and not for any over the top reason or dress, it is the Kapoor sisters Kareena and Karisma for their creation of Brand Taimur.
Taimur with aunt Karisma Kapoor on his first birthday
Between parents who are educated yet choose to overlook the dangers of exposing their babies to a world that is now a social media nightmare and an Indian paparazzi that is still in its nascent stage, it is the star-kid who is not given any choice in this short cut to becoming a celebrity. Our paparazzi though is selective, there is no hint of the scoop that everyone is whispering about because we don't do tough; instead, what we get are happy smileys every day. But putting kids out in their cutest smile for the world to see, perhaps to be stalked and in less than a decade, maybe body shamed, doesn't bother the photographers because it's not always on them.
Taimur holidaying in Switzerland with parents
As first-time parents, many of us made mistakes in our enthusiasm with those endless Facebook pictures and now Kareena and even her sister-in-law Soha, perhaps naively, are allowing the world many glimpses at their babies. When you put pictures on an Instagram account that is not private of your daughter 'carpooling' with her cousin, Soha, the intention is to reach to a mass and unknown audience. It is also a tad late to give interviews on worrying about the paparazzi since you have already done their job for them.
Taimur with cousin Inaaya (daughter of Soha Ali Khan)
Many actors in Bollywood talk of giving their kids a normal upbringing and they probably manage to the best of their ability, but when you start recognising Taimur's bespectacled nanny quicker than your own cook, then the blame is not just on the camera person. A person chases something or someone day in and day out when he knows it's par for the course and Saif Ali Khan seems to have given that impression. He reportedly says his son's daily 'exclusives' go with the territory. It's amazing how not a single article talks of the negatives of this publicity blitz.
Saif Ali Khan with son Taimur at Pataudi Palace
Kids today don't think a minute before posting provocative pictures of themselves on Instagram, Snapchat or whatever is its latest avatar - this is the only playground they know. It's already a nightmare keeping them in check when our boundaries have become fluid and privacy a mockery. The familial instinct is usually to protect, but I guess stardom has a different set of rules. One day, Saif and Kareena may realise they have really over-reached. For now, keep clicking.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
(Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava worked with NDTV for more than a decade and now writes on a variety of topics for several news organisations.)