Bal Thackeray's grandson Aditya is just 19 years old, but seems to have his head firmly on his shoulders. The shiv sena scion gives Varun Singh a rare insight into the thackeray household
He has inherited the most powerful surname in Maharashtra and his family enjoys a considerable political clout in the state. Yet, when Aditya Thackeray, dressed in a white T-shirt, blue jeans, spectacles and a stubble on his face, walked into the MiD DAY office this week, he showed no airs of belonging to an illustrious family. The 19-year-old was like any other teenager who loved talking about cricket, movies, music, photography and his social work. Though he resembles his father Uddhav a lot, Aditya insists he is more like his grandfather, Bal Thackeray.
Are you like your father?
People say when I don't talk much, I'm like my dad, but when I'm at my entertaining best, I'm more like granddad. My dad is a reserved person, but my granddad is an extrovert. He loves to have people around him. But yes, I share some of my dad's features.
What's your equation with your grandfather?
I meet him often, but late in the evenings. He is a big cricket fan and loves to watch T20 matches. But I don't. Although I like watching T20 cricket, Test cricket is what I prefer. Grandpa also loves watching TV and he's more into cassettes and VCDs. He is not adept with new-age technology. But we chat for several hours and he even performs magic tricks for me.
But he is Bal Thackeray.
Yes, but for me, he is my granddad. It's a revelation watching him at public rallies. It's amazing to see people chase him. They will do anything to catch a glimpse of him and want to touch only his car. He has a superb sense of humour. When he was admitted to the hospital for angioplasty recently, I called him from abroad to inquire about his health. While talking to me, he suddenly spoke in an English accent. It was very funny.
What about you father and mother?
My father and me crack lame jokes that irritates my mother and brother. My mother keeps us grounded. I seek her advice on many things. In fact, I even took her permission to come here (smiles).
Who are you closest to?
My family and friends. I can share everything with my closest friends.
Are you in touch with your cousins?
We meet once a year at events or festivals.
What about your uncle Raj's children?
Since then (referring to Raj's split from the Shiv Sena), I haven't met Amit, but relations between us are cordial.
Your family is know for its fiery brand of politics and targeting certain communities. Does that affect you personally?
I have friends from all communities. However, there have been times when people's perception about us scared some of my friends. Once, a girl who studies with me in college was supposed to come home for some project work. She was very scared and I could sense it. But when she visited Matoshree, she admitted that she was relieved to see a normal household. She was extremely nervous and it took a while to calm her down.
Maybe it's the security guard with the gun. Is he always around?
Yeah, even in college.
Does he attend lectures too?
No, but maybe I could ask him to take notes (laughs).
Do you wish you didn't have a security cover?
Not really. I've had security guards since I was born. They are more like friends to me. We joke around and even play cricket together.
What if you are dating a girl?
Oh, I don't want to.
You're against dating?
There'd be no place in the car (laughs). I'll think about it when it happens.
Have you ever celebrated Valentine's Day?
No, I haven't. But my friends often joke that when I do, I'll be the first to get caught. Once, I received a greeting card from a girl in school. It was a big card and heart popped out every time you opened it. I didn't go to class the next day, because I was very scared. When I attended school later, I slipped the card into my friend's bag, but the teacher got hold of it. Luckily, there were no names on it. I don't like celebrating such days, including Parents' Day because their blessings are always with me. I don't need to celebrate it once a year.
What do you do for fun?
I love watching Hindi comedies. Films that deal with conflict and suspense don't interest me. I'm also into poetry — Hindi, English and Marathi. I don't follow any particular poets, but I like Wilfred Owen. I also write poetry based on random things I observe. But if it's romantic, I add a disclaimer stating that my writing is from my observations alone and not from personal experience. I also write in Urdu.
It's the Jodhaa Akbar effect. I have watched the movie over 50 times. In fact, I started welcoming my friends with Urdu phrases from the movie. They started calling me Hrithik for a while.
Is he your favourite actor?
Yes, he is. I've met him once. We both went to the same school (Bombay Scottish).
When are you joining politics?
I am apprehensive about joining politics. If I get into it, I must work hard and stay there. I'm only 19. I don't want to be an immature giving my views