Life lessons by Annup Sonii and Juuhi Babbar

For the last ten years, Juuhi Babbar Sonii has been helming children’s workshops as part of Ekjute, her mother Nadira Zaheer Babbar’s theatre troupe. But this time around, Babbar wanted to break the mould.

“Although the basics of drama are the same, I wanted to try a different format. But, I was facing a block, and that’s when I asked Annup to help. After all, he’s also from theatre,” she says, adding that it’s quite rare that the couple sits together to take a crack at something. After a couple of brainstorming sessions, the duo is set to hold a 10-day session next month for kids that will culminate in a performance that will see parents participating as well.

“It goes beyond drama. It’s about building confidence, opening yourself and preparing you for life,” says Annup, who has been hosting Crime Patrol, a crime reality television anthology series, for over 13 years. “Initially, learning of the gruesome crimes would affect my day, but I realised that it’s important to look at the good in life,” he says.

We ask the couple to share life lessons with those of us who could do with a little reminder on what’s important in life.

According to Annup
Be sensitive
“Be sensitive, especially towards your staff. For instance, if an expensive object goes missing, the first person you will suspect is the servant, although he/she may have worked with you for years,” he says, adding that it’s a lesson he has learnt well thanks to his stint at Crime Patrol. “By this, I don’t mean stop being alert, but start being sensitive towards those around you.”

Let one person handle it
As a parent, Annup says, he has realised that if one person is upset with the child, it’s better the other keep mum at that moment. “For instance, if the mother is upset with the child, don’t try to play the super dad by contradicting the mother. The child could develop a bias.”

“Our needs have grown to the extent that people forget what they have. Enjoy what you have, while you keep working for what you want,” he says.

Talking from experience, he says, many a time actors wait for the ‘big’ role while forgoing what they already have. “So, if you have a good role in hand, give your 100 per cent to it, and only then will you be able to go to the next level.”

Be patient
“Let me give you a very practical example. You message somebody on WhatsApp, and the blue tick appears, but there’s no reply, it’s alright. Don’t jump to conclusions.

The person may be busy or could be framing a reply,” he says, adding that the formula applies to every aspect of life. “There’s no solution to impatience.”

Give your partner a listen
“If your partner wants you to do something, don’t reject it immediately. It’s human tendency that if you refuse outright, it’ll make them more rebellious. If it’s unreasonable, they may realise it themselves,” he says.

According to Juuhi
It’s not important WHO IS EARNING
“When we got married, I was the one who had less work, but that didn’t diminish the respect we had for each other,” says Juuhi, who opted to take a backseat to take care of their son, Imman. “There’s enough competition all around you, so why start it between husband and wife?”

Reserve your judgment
Having grown up among theatre artists, who come from every milieu, Juuhi says she has learnt to be accepting. “Somebody coming from a small hamlet in UP is equal to somebody who comes for rehearsal in a BMW.”

Equal parenting
In the Sonii household, there’s a rule of thumb. Every morning, it’s Annup’s job to drop Imman to school, while the pickup is Juuhi’s responsibility. But, if there’s a need to adjust timings, they happily swap. “I see a lot of industry dads proclaiming that they don’t even know which standard their child is studying in. It’s shameful!”

Keep the romance alive
“I was hypnotised after the birth of my son. So much so that I felt I neglected Annup,” says Juuhi. These days, she makes it a point to drag her husband out of the house even if it’s just for a stroll. “It’s important to find a common ground and interest.”

Learn a new skill
“It’s never too late to learn a new skill. Go kickboxing together, sign up for a dance class or learn a new instrument,” she says. The couple plan to sign up for a cooking class soon.


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