Category Archives: Closer

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My Life Outside of Pictures

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This is column for Indian newspaper DNA published April 10th, 2015


When you move in your forties, your past shows up. And its heavy.

I’m talking about photo albums. Boxes and boxes. All piled into a cardboard Kilimanjaro along with the sofas and paintings and crockery at our new Hong Kong apartment.

You may wonder why I haven’t ‘digitized’ all my personal memories if you’re into ‘optimization’ or you may suspect I”m a hoarder if you watch too much reality tv and you’re into armchair psychology. And if you’re born after 1999 you might be googling ‘photo album’ and smiling at the quaintness of it all. Imagine: an awkwardly sized sized book that contains a collection of photographs, which someone took the time to place on a sticky bed somewhat symmetrically and organized according to personal taste or whimsy.

What a concept.

What a treasure.

I spent days time travelling with just a flick of a page. The images stretched back, pre-dating my personal ground zero, to my mother’s free spirited childhood, running barefoot through grass, clutching a dog or at times a chicken in her arms. Then there’s my father’s more self-conscious black and whites, posing formally on the occasion of one of his achievements- a graduation- in tacit kinship with the entire family fanning out around him, my Dadu presiding over all, like the judge he was. How they came together is the greatest narrative of my life. And the story lies in these photo albums.

But not just in the images you can see.

Its in the point that lies between.

Both in my parent’s love story and my own, very humbling visual chronicle from baby to surly 80’s teen (committing appalling fashion crimes like bleached jeans and leg warmers which I can’t fortunately take personal responsibility for- blame it on the decade!) to becoming a ‘face apart’ after a serendipitous launch as a ‘model’ in India and beyond, its the times between the pictures that colour my personal story.

A serious car accident which changed the course of my life. That time I fell to pieces over a boy. When I ventured into the wild of my mind and spent a year in a monastery. When I was a woman of ‘no fixed address’ living on the currents of my fancy, an alien in Milan, Paris and London and loving the freedom in being indefinable.

My mom’s passing.

We mythologise our lives in images, but its in point that lies between them, where everything worth living and telling happens.


My Date

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DNA Column April 2015

My hubby came to Mumbai last weekend. To talk about dates.

Unfortunately not of the romantic variety.

I’m the first to admit it, but I’m just vague with numbers and dates and anything which falls under that category of deliberate quantification. Counting in particular disturbs me no end. I simply don’t do the counting thing. I refuse to count leg press reps in the gym, and I’d rather paddle through the fjords of Norway dressed as a Viking than buy a fitbit- that evil device that counts the number of steps you take in a day.

Naturally this extends to schedules and the like. There is just something in me that resists talking about concrete plans, even when tickets have been booked and paid for and airport drop offs have been programmed into my iphone calendar.

My husband knows this. He is also a very patient and astute man. And so he has made a date with me and flown down from Hong Kong for the weekend as I’m plunging into some new film projects and he wants to discuss….dates.

‘So, when do you start filming. Are you excited?’IMG_7536

‘Yes. Very.’ I am smiling winningly and while licking latte foam off my lips to distract him from the fact I’ve only addressed half of his question, I nervously bite down and draw blood.

He hands me a tissue.

‘So…when do you finish filming?’

‘Soon.’ I’m pressing the tissue to my mouth. My leg is jiggling beneath the table.

The truth is I work in a business where the ground beneath my feet is never solid and dates change- and that’s the only consistency. My husband on the other hand is my bridge to wholeness, solidity and…some might say, sanity. And he most definitely does not occupy a world where ‘mood’ or ‘vibe’ or ‘last minute date change’ play any role.

He has gently coaxed me into booking vacations months in advance and then not cancelling last minute either. Which is a quantum leap for me personally. Now if he can only get a handle on my work/travel plans. And when we will see each other next.

In my defence, this date phobia does not solely lie with me. An indie film producer recently shared, ‘my friends joked that my marriage is a miracle, as its the one and only time I committed to a date’

See, in my mind, the answer is: ‘as soon as possible my love, I will get on a plane and be by your side where I long to remain, but I am scared to articulate all this to you, as I know the very nature of the universe to be ever changing and full of emptiness…this is the ultimate lesson I have drawn from working in the entertainment industry in Mumbai and around the world.’

But of course I don’t say it.

Instead I lean forward and remove the bloody tissue.

‘Baby, what’s the longest journey you can take?’

If he is startled by this sudden turn in the conversation he doesn’t show it.

‘I don’t know…from here to Capetown?’ The not-so-veiled reference to my upcoming trip is delivered with a wry smile while picking bloody bits of tissue off my lip.

I lean back.

‘No baby.’ I draw an imaginary line from my head to the space of my heart. ‘From your mind to your heart. It’s the most important journey we can take as human beings…’

He smiles and while leaning forward to caress my cheek grabs my iphone with his other hand and scrolls through my calendar.