#ELLEExclusive: A Conversation With Tahira Kashyap Khurrana On Her New Book & A Lot More
“I have always been a goofball yaa,” Tahira Kashyap Khurrana tells me with a hearty laugh as we get talking about her newest book, The 12 Commandments Of Being A Woman. Honest, witty and inspirational, Tahira’s fourth book is one that everyone is obsessed with (you can’t go online without seeing her new book on someone’s IG story). From the likes of Vidya Balan to Varun Dhawan to, of course, husband, Ayushmann Khurrana, everyone is hooked and rightly so. So, how has life changed post this, I ask. “Honestly, my family is having palpitations. I am still living with the same set of people who are mentioned in my book. Apart from them, I think everyone is happy,” she answers with a laugh.
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For Tahira, the journey towards writing this particular book started about four years ago. “I’ve learnt to love, appreciate and be kind to myself, and I give credit to a great practice I’ve taken up: chanting. When I was writing this book, I was transporting myself to how I felt back then, and while at that time, it felt intense, right now, my perspective towards things has transformed. The circumstances may remain the same, but I now look at these challenges as things that will teach me something and push me to become a better version of myself. While earlier I would only be complaining and blaming myself and other people for my unhappiness, I started seeing a window, where I could transform myself. In retrospect, while all those things seemed intense (and perhaps even were), right now it feels like itna bhi zayada nahi tha (laughs).”
“In fact, in retrospect,” she adds, “there always humour in tragedy. I have always been a goofball, and when a goofball is faced with obstacles, they are bound to become humorous”.
We go back to her journey; this time understanding how this book, sort of, just happened. “I think if you don’t appreciate yourself, you become a mere bystander in your life. I took the onus to write more, and that’s when I started working towards writing short films, screenplays. I think this is what I was putting out in the universe, as I then got approached by Chiki (Sarkar) who wanted to collaborate with me (for Juggernaut Books).”
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While her favourite chapter in the book (she did tell me she loves them all equally though) is the one which has her nani and maasi (“I am missing them right now”), she goes on to tell me about the first chapter in the book, which was also the first chapter she submitted to her publisher. “It was about me as a teenager, wondering if I would ever wear a bra! I got my periods really late, and I remember being convinced that I was abnormal,” she shares. “Chiki had a good laugh too and asked me if I have more of these stories.”
With so much appreciation for her book, I ask her if she expected this open and positive reception. “Noooo! I mean I expected it from a few people because they are my friends and they would support me, but seeing people talk about my book, and post about it on social media makes me happy.” Her book has also served as an inspiration to many, to which she says, “I only have gratitude when I hear about these things. People have started listening to their dreams, their inner voice. My intention was never like mujhe logo ko inspire karna hai, mujhe leader banna hai… My intention was always to share my story honestly, and show that shit happens to all of us,” she says with a chuckle.
“This book is about all the shit that I’ve been in. I’ve been honest about it,” she concludes. Seems likes a good place, as any, to end; I leave her to continue binge-watching Unbecoming, and binge-read Becoming (yes, of course, that’s happening).