How to raise a feminist and other life lessons, by Twinkle Khanna
"It's very liberating to realise that if you poke fun at yourself first, the world will laugh with you"
Twinkle Khanna doesn’t know it yet, but she is about to be thrown out of a movie theatre. About 10 minutes after she hangs up the phone on me, her picture-perfect family of four (husband Akshay Kumar, son Aarav and daughter Nitara) is politely asked to leave the London cinema hall they’re in, because cherubic Nitara is wayyyy under the age limit to watch The Mummy, certified A.
In a moment of brutal honesty, the kind that’s come to define the career of this surprise hit of a writer, she messages me, “Since you wanted [to talk about] parenting failure — here it is”.
The multihyphenate is a pleasure to interview, quotable quotes flowing with all the ease of someone who was born into the limelight but still spends her days immersed in books. Life has truly come full circle: Twinkle used her beloved tomes to escape the dreariness of movie star life, went on to quit the business and write two bestsellers (The Legend of Laxmi Prasad is on the cusp of the 100K mark), and now one of her short stories is being turned into a play. “I could have landed on my ass, but instead, I landed on my feet and even did a somersault,” she says with a laugh. “I lose myself while writing, but I also find myself. I don’t have to think about my problems. In fact, I only get stressed before deadlines.”
Introducing Twinkle Khanna, life coach
“I failed once spectacularly in life. It’s very liberating to find that if you crack the first joke, the world with laugh with you. If I had known this when I was younger, I would have had the bikini body and the brains.”
On raising a feminist
“People always focus on their daughters, they teach them to be independent and liberated. But what about raising a feminist son? The best thing is to teach your kids that they each hold a place of value. Gender is irrelevant. But even if I’m speaking a certain language, my daughter’s exposed to other people. Her favourite show at the moment is this Barbie TV show, and when I asked her what she likes about it, she said “Barbie likes to shop.” That’s a terrible show!”
“I’ve suffered so much from being a procrastinator, so I don’t do it anymore. My column comes out on a Sunday, so I start writing right from Monday. If I wait until Thursday, I’ll be in tears, I won’t be able to sleep…”
On fitting in
“I’ve always been a nerd. I don’t think I belong to any world, I’ve always been an outsider, and that’s why I can write. Now when I post photos of myself online, face half-covered by a book, my friends from boarding school say that’s how they remember me throughout my school years. According to them, I used to miss lunch if I hadn’t finished my book. I’m not sure that’s true, though. I wouldn’t have been the size I was if I was skipping lunch.”
Photo: R Burman