Meet one of the charming moms who describes herself as a mom of a gorgeous boy, a photographer, a traveller and a craftholic among many other such identities for herself. She is an individual who is passionate on her interests of baking and photography and is presently a would-be-mum too. Between managing a toddler to blogging and photography, Arpna Vidhushi bares her heart and shares with Mums and stories, her journey of losing her identity to multiple identities that she carries with élan.
“I am a girl born to middle class working parents in the semi-urban, modest township of Arah in Bihar. Coming from a family where rest of the kids were mighty studious and dreamt of becoming a doctor or engineer, I was the only black sheep with little interest in academics. I had my interests elsewhere, in art, craft, drawing and painting.
Being a shy kid, I often found myself behind a camera rather than in front and before I knew, I developed a liking for it. Growing up in the joint-family hub-bub of the Bihar of 90’s, where we had a festival or family event every other month, soon I was the self-proclaimed family photographer who walked around with a camera around her neck everywhere, be it uncles and aunt’s wedding, birthday parties or Deepavali/Chhath celebrations. That was some fun! Growing up in that small township with those big dreams.
Photography happened to me much before my boy was born. Way back in 2013, I moved to the UK with my husband, leaving behind a prosperous career in retail. The plan was to pursue my career in retail and had absolutely no idea that fate had something entirely different in store. For few months I woke up to rejection emails every morning in response to my endless string of jobs applications.
I was even denied voluntary jobs. I had a stable job back in India and never imagined finding a job will be so difficult. Feeling low on confidence, I picked up the camera seeking motivation in my art and started clicking anything and everything. It worked like a therapy. I used to travel to central London every weekend doing street photography and capturing high rise building and buskers performing on the street.
I dedicated a good part of my time learning photography from different sources. It wasn’t easy being a self-taught photographer. It was slow and tiring, to begin with. And then I started getting response and recognition on social media through my photography pages on social media.
In fact, had my first booking through Facebook. My first paying client was from neighbouring country- Pakistan. A happy client who absolutely loved my work and gave the much-needed boost to my confidence. I have never looked back since then. After the first year in this trade, after doing different genres of photography, I discovered my love for newborn, child and maternity photography. And then I became a mother myself to this gorgeous boy and found the perfect model for all kind of innovative shoots.
It’s hard to photograph your own child. After all photographer’s kids do have photographer’s child syndrome and they are never ready for photos. It takes a lot of patience, coaxing and cajoling and above all the entire shoot has to be based on his comfort level. The best suited times are when he is not too tired and had his food and nap properly. You should see some of the behind-the-scene videos of my photo shoots for the kind of crazy and funny things I do to make babies smile during the photo session.”
(Picture Courtesy- Arpna Photography)
Arpna has a few tips for parents when they want to have precious memories captured of their kids. “Never say look at the camera and say cheez. Photographing your child is all about capturing those natural candid moments. It could be your child eating or playing or even sleeping. While photographing them have their favourite stuff around them and do funny stuff to get their attention rather than giving instruction to look at the camera. “
Talking about managing erratic schedules in pregnancy, Arpna shares, “I will be honest, it’s really challenging. But so far I have been able to manage it really well thanks to the good family support. Being pregnant I take fewer bookings these days and my clients book well in advance so my present work calendar is easy to manage.
During my last pregnancy, I worked until five days from my delivery. And photography is a passion for me rather than a mere profession. I simply enjoy creating beautiful memories one after the other and planning my shoots based on new themes and concepts.
By the time of my delivery, my boy will be almost three. Both my kids will be in different development stages so am looking forward to all the fun, excitements and of course the challenges. The way my boy is responding to my pregnancy melts my heart. We think a two-and-half-year-old doesn’t understand but it’s amazing how well he is preparing himself to be a big brother. From eating on his own to tiding up his room and toys to responding well to whatever I ask him to do.
My love for baking comes from my foodie family and we love exploring new cuisines, learning finer details of original recipes and coming up with our own simplified renditions, in the same order. And the best part is our little chef shows a lot of interest in baking, especially that getting-messy part with the dough and flour. I do not encourage my little one to eat outside fast and junk food, instead, try and cook these tasty treats at home. Often I try to cook the goodies that I used to relish during my own childhood and no surprises he, being my boy, loves them all. It started with the idea of making healthy home made cake, cookies and chocolates and yes I am kind of getting a hang of it now.”
Talking on the highs and lows of pregnancy she explains, “I can go on and on about best part of pregnancy. My personal favourites are the special bond with the unborn child whom you are yet to meet and being pampered by family. This is my second pregnancy and my two and half year son is making it even more special, the way he too gets into the act of pampering me. Couldn’t be more proud of him!
The worst part, all the mother would know all those sleepless nights and being tired all the time. There is one thing which no one tells you or talks about is the psychological bit. Pregnancy takes a toll on your emotional well-being. You become sensitive and paranoid and at times overthink even trivial things and events.
Arpna loves travelling and she says, “Traveling with infants or toddlers requires lot of planning and preparations and it takes one or two travels to figure out what all it takes. We have travelled more than 10 countries across Europe after having my son. It’s a general thinking that travel with small babies is challenging and not fun enough.
However based on my first-hand account I can say with some confidence that it’s every bit enjoyable if your checklists and priorities are sorted. The key is ensure you have their food handy and schedules aligned with their nap routine, and given the two these little bundle of joys are best company to travel with. Our travel spree started when my boy turned 4 months.
And me being an exclusive breastfeeding mum, idea of traveling sounded bit crazy to our friends and families but then when they got an account of our first two trips and how much the little one was loving it, it eased out all the apprehensions. I feel all that early travel is paying dividends now , as my kid is very adaptable to change in places & surroundings, enjoys all kind of food and mingles easily with new people.
Lastly, this may sound like from photographer’s point of view. Motherhood is a beautiful journey. We go through of a number emotional, mental and physical changes. Being a photographer, I seldom had the opportunity to be in the frame myself and whenever had the opportunity, I generally shied away, hiding behind one excuse or other. While have always managed to convince other mums to be in photographs with their little ones, somehow I could never convince myself. One of the excuses I always gave was I will have a photo-shoot done after losing my pregnancy weight. Maybe it’s that age-old bit of not liking that being in front of the lens! But yes, I am working on it.
And will say the same to mums all around, please do not be dissuaded with your looks or shape or size for every mother is simply a super mum for her child and being a part of the memory, that beautiful memory is something divine and priceless.”