The author-producer talks about what makes her happy, her skin and hair secrets, and childhood memories
She may talk shop on hair and beauty but a really good day for Twinkle Khanna is simply one that starts with yoga and ends with 3,000 written words on paper. There’s an unbearable lightness of being to her. She could be sitting right in front of you, with her piercing gaze and deadpan lines, but her mind is always running in circles. She insists she’s tough to crack, that she hides behind her jokes. The simplest things make her happy—like mis-adventurous holidays and morning yoga.
One of the happiest moments in her memory—the warm and fuzzy variety—is from Kashmir at eight. A tunnel connected their hotel to an apple orchard. “I remember my sister and I running through the tunnel. I was plucking and eating an apple. My sister complained because a small worm came out of her apple and bit her finger.” Another one was at the age of 10. She had cracked a very tricky skill—that of cutting open and sucking a mango while standing under a warm running shower without the water getting in her mouth.
On writer’s block
Early morning is her happiest time to write—sometimes at 5.45 am. Her entire house is empty by 7.00 am, after which that one hour of tea and self-reflection is very precious. She has no writer’s block. “The main thing is to be consistent. Show up every day and surely you’ll bump into the muse.” Then you can waylay her while she is on her way to someone else. For her, a story is a picture she is painting of what’s in her head. “I don’t find it difficult to swap between male and female protagonists; perspectives may be different but basic human emotions are the same.” She was ten chapters into her novel when she came across the story of the sanitary napkin man. It captivated her. She set everything else aside to pen his story.
The secret to good hair
“This is the shortest I’ve ever gone in 20 years,” she says of her chic shoulder length hair-do, touching her ends almost unconsciously. “I take vitamins for my hair every so often; strange things like shark cartilage,” she says. She washes her hair in water boiled with neem leaves once a week, and does the same for her daughter. For years her mom, and now her, concoct their own hair oil and use it religiously. As a nearly-there nerd, she’s even verified the contents with PubMed. “Who knows, one day we’ll bottle and patent it,” she says.
In the skin of things
“I started using sunscreen after I turned 40,” she says, swearing by Clarins. She prefers a physical block of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide over chemical blocks. Assorted products and sprays feature minimally in her dresser. Most of her makeup is from Laura Mercier, with hints of Bobbi Brown. Bioderma Sensibio Forte Moisturiser, a little La Roche-Posay, Schmidt’s Lavender and Sage Organic Deodorant and basic Pears facewash is enough.
Fit body x fit mind
“My mind runs in so many circles. If my body could do that I’d be very thin. But I’m a lazy person. I only exercise because I need to.” Regular Patanjali yoga, pranayama and Pilates are a must. Apart from that, a walk with her dog or a friend, a quick swim, or a hike with family is enough.
Easy list of diet tips
She chews very slowly, keeps a 45-minute gap between food and water, eats normal Indian dal-chawal and avoids chapatis because wheat isn’t working for her right now. With age, she’s started incorporating a few changes in her diet. “I’ve given up coffee, sugar, dairy and gluten,” she lists. “Next, I’m going to give up living.” Black coffee has always been her instant happy perk. Her pain is very real.
Her happy song, book, person
“I am tone deaf. Music doesn’t move me. And I can’t name any one book. Whenever I am tired and stressed, books are my escape. I curl up in my bed and dive into a science fiction novel or a short story.” Her happy person is clearly her 15-year-old son. Their sense of humour is alike, and he makes her laugh insanely. “He is now going through a rebellious teen phase. He calls me ‘savage’ and doesn’t want to hang around me anymore. I miss him. He is my buddy.”
The perfect vacation
She loves a misadventure. One such holiday was when they rented a house in France. They didn’t speak the language though she pretended she could, but it was all a bunch of ‘oui oui’. “We went to the supermarket for eggs and ended up flapping our hands like chicken. There were tantrums because we were frustrated. My daughter burst out crying. I was close to tears. But looking back, it was one of my happiest holidays.”