Subhash K Jha In Conversation With The Irrepressible, Unstoppable, Brutally Outspoken and Devastatingly Beautiful Twinkle Khanna ​ who turns a year younger on December 29​

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Twinkle Khanna
Twinkle Khanna

Tell me,  what  makes you look like  a million bucks in spite of all the pressures of domesticity and professionalism?

I don’t know about a million bucks but I suppose I have decent genes and I  practice Yoga almost everyday , though it is more for my mind than my body. Aside from that , a clean lifestyle is perhaps the only way to look and feel healthy after a certain point in time .

You say you pretend you were never an actress. For the daughter of two brilliant actors, isn’t that an awful way to feel?

Why ? Why is it awful?My parents(Rajesh Khanna and Dimpla Kapadia)  are gifted actors and I am very proud of their body of work. I don’t feel the same about my work in the movies , how are the two connected ?

Tell me about your growth as a writer? You were always fond of reading.When and how did you discover and nurture the writer within yourself?

I wrote half a book when I was 18 and in fact the characters Noni Appa and Binni from my new book, The Legend Of Lakshmi Prasad were originally part of that manuscript . This is my third attempt that has finally appeared in print, where the story revolved around the two old ladies and another character Anandji. I also carried around a black felt file as a teenager that contained all the poems that I had jotted down, primarily about maggots and death. I have always been immersed in a world filled with words, earlier as a reader and now finally as both a reader and a writer.

How did the Legend Of Laxmi Prasad come about?  Do you feel it says the stories in exactly the way  you wanted them  told?

I was doing some  research on menstruation for a column. I read about Arunachalam Muruganantham’s life and work and his story gripped me and that is when I sat down, wrote the first few pages and sent them off to my editor to have a look. I then began chasing Muruga and after numerous lengthy interviews, he agreed to let me fictionalize his story and that is how this book started. The other stories then followed , they were all topics I had briefly touched upon through my columns and now I could weave a substantial tale around them .

You have been writing a very popular newspaper column?

When I was asked to do a celebrity newspaper column, I instinctively agreed and sat down to write the first one just to see if I could and three years later , here I am.

How do you balance out the various roles in your  life, as a daughter, wife, mother and  individual?

I tackle one task at a time and I now give myself the luxury of knowing that I will drop a few balls in this constant jugglery. Just yesterday , I forgot that it was a holiday and woke up the kids for school and then had to hear a litany of complaints about how I keep forgetting everything .

Your column is  widely read and discussed?  Do you see your written word as a social responsibility?

I am responsible to my readers as far as having my facts correct and in making sure that my narrative is skillfully presented.Aside from that I am a free agent.

Your outspoken written and spoken words frequently embarrass your husband. How do you cope with his discomfort at your candour?You are Ms Outspoken . He is Mr Diplomat. How have the two of you found a meeting ground for so many years?

The point is, even within a union, it doesn’t have to be that two people have to think identically. He is fine with the way I am, he accepts me the way I am, and I accept him the way he is. Yes, he does read my columns… to make sure that I don’t get into too much trouble.

Your two children have turned out beautifully. Was it difficult being a mother and a writer ?

In the last stage of the book , I was writing for practically six-seven hours a day and my children had to understand that I was living in my head more than truly living with them. But after I finished the book , I made it a point to more than make up for the time I had been unable to spare . I think it is also good for the children to grow up with a mother who has a strong work ethic .It instills the same in them.

Has Akshay been a good enough support in bringing up the kids?

He is a wonderful father and my little one has him wrapped around her tiny finger. He spends a lot of time with them, works out with his son , reads to his daughter and is as involved as I am in raising grounded, responsible children.

You are known to get  into spats on Twitter. Do you enjoy the friction?

I don’t enjoy the friction , I have enough people to argue with in the real world and have no need to look for ones in the virtual one (laughs). But I have a point of view and see no reason in putting it forth.

Tell me about your next book?

I haven’t begun . I have some ideas for a book about dystopian India but we shall see.

What secret yearnings, future ambitions, unfulfilled dreams?

Besides a not-so-secret yearning to live in Goa, I am pretty content.

If you had to change one thing in your life, what would it be?

I wish I could throw away my weighing scale or move to the moon where my weight would  automatically be 16.5 percent of what it is on Earth.