Krazy Kin: In Conversation With Creative Personalities On How They Maintain Their Relationships And Navigate Through Challenges At Work


ELLE India speaks to some couples, families, and business partners about how they maintain their closest relationships and navigate through different challenges at work.

Porus Vimadalal and Prayag Menon

The creative duo–Porus Vimadalal and Prayag Menon are partners in life and work. They met online way back in 2006 when Porus discovered Prayag’s blog through a friend. There was an instant connection that developed into an organic friendship.

Shortly after, the duo met and opened up about their sexuality.

“I enjoyed Prayag’s friendship, and it was just that. There was nothing beyond that brewing in our minds. When I visited Bengaluru and met him, we found a deep sense of comfort in each other,” Porus tells ELLE India.

It was on the same trip that Porus and Prayag confessed to liking each other. After being in a relationship for many years, the couple married in New York in 2016.

On Porus Vimadalal: Sleeveless V Neck Sweater, Relax Fit Selvedge Jeans,
Classic Double Color Sole Sneakers
On Prayag Menon: Denim Jacket, Denim Trousers, Half Sleeve Resort Collar Shirt, Suede Snug Sneakers
All by United Colors of Benetton

Their relationship spans more than 18 years–in this long journey replete with ups and downs, Prayag confesses to operating as a unit with Porus. He has a deep appreciation for their ability to create a space for each other to grow and learn.

“When I met Prayag, he was 18, and I was 20; we were still growing up. There are so many things you learn and unlearn over time. There’s a lot of mutual trust and respect for what we do,” shares Porus.

Being partners at work has also opened up a new dimension to their relationship, confesses Prayag. After Porus completed studying photography, Prayag helped him with some styling projects. “He would give an honest critique of my pictures. We would both do that with each other’s work,” recalls Porus.

“We have a symbiotic relationship where we understand each other’s aesthetic, energy, and vision. We enjoy collaborating,” adds Prayag.

Working and living together may sometimes make it difficult to navigate boundaries. However, Porus and Prayag have made an active decision to separate work from their personal lives.

“We love doing so many other things besides work. I love cooking, Prayag loves cleaning after,” laughs Porus. “We have our tasks segregated.”

Both Prayag and Porus come from different families, but this relationship has helped them discover themselves in a new light and shape their narrative of kinship.

As someone who belongs to an extremely heteronormative background, Prayag had no exposure to other types of family dynamics. He recalls feeling isolated in the absence of adequate representation.

“Being with Porus gave me a lot of courage, resilience, and reliance. I developed confidence to take life as it comes,” he mentions.

Similarly, Porus knew he had to be conscious of not imbibing certain traits in his adult life. “It’s all about actively unlearning the conditioning. Learning and unlearning have helped define our relationship,” Porus shares with ELLE India.

“Before Prayag entered the equation, neither of us knew how to navigate being a same-sex couple. We realised it’s important to live as authentically as possible,” he adds.

On Porus Vimadalal: Sleeveless V Neck Sweater, Relax Fit Selvedge Jeans,
Classic Double Color Sole Sneakers
On Prayag Menon: Denim Jacket, Denim Trousers, Half Sleeve Resort Collar Shirt, Suede Snug Sneakers
All by United Colors of Benetton

It’s visible that the couple loves each other’s company—they are always looking for opportunities to spend as much time together as possible. From working out to maintaining an afternoon tea ritual, and more, there’s so much they find joy in.

“We have an afternoon tea ritual that centres us; it’s one of the best parts of our day. These are seemingly mundane but such important things,” says Prayag.

Every relationship has its share of struggles but what matters is healthy conflict resolution. The duo admit to dealing with conflict much differently in the past but they’ve grown over time.

“We have learned over the years not to be reactive or judgemental, or not to take each other’s emotions too personally. Your partner may be going through something and it doesn’t necessarily have to be about you. Be there, listen, and help,” advises Porus.

“Approaching each other with curiosity is equally important. And at the same time, there should be a constant sense of respect even if you are in a disagreement,” concludes Prayag.

Anu Ranjan, Akansha Rajan and Anushka Ranjan

While many children outgrow their relationship with their parents as they step into adulthood, it’s starkly opposite with Anu Ranjan, the Founder and President of the Indian Television Academy, and her actress-daughters Akansha Ranjan Kapoor and Anushka Ranjan.

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On Anushka Ranjan: Easy Pull On Floral Printed Shorts, Short Sleeve Printed Linen Shirt
On Anu Ranjan: Full Sleeve OD Shirt With Embroidery, Wide Leg Printed Denim
All looks by United Colors Benetton

“At least, Mum, Anushka, and I are best friends; not just the cliche but it’s a genuine bond. We have built this equation over the years. I think Mum has grown with us. I always joke that she’s Benjamin Button, because as Anushka and I became responsible, she understood what we needed in life, our struggles and journeys,” shares Akansha.

“It wasn’t just about being a parent anymore. That has fructified our bond because she gets almost everything. Sometimes, if she doesn’t understand, she reflects on it,” she adds.

Anushka agrees. She’s relieved that her mother was not the ‘super cool’ parent while growing up who let them get away with everything.

“It kept us more disciplined and grounded. When we grew up, she knew our foundation was taken care of, so she became friends with us. We know a lot about each other’s personal lives (haha). Our bond has only been getting better,” tells Anushka to ELLE India.

For Anu, her attitude is an outcome of the experiences she has had while growing up. From staying in a hostel in Shimla to moving to Los Angeles to study and work, before getting married–she tasted independence and learned how to make her own decisions.

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“I knew where my daughters were coming from because I have been through the whole journey myself. At that time, there was no one to tell me anything besides my peers and friends. So I refrain from

When asked which word defines their family the best, the Ranjan sisters are quick to say ‘nuts’. “I promise it’s in a good way. We just flow. We have seen each other’s ups and downs, so there’s no bias or forcing of point of view,” says Akansha with a smile.

“For religious beliefs, my parents have never asked us to believe in what they do. We were raised in a way to make our own decisions and find our calling. I would say we are a little co-dependent at times (giggles) but we accept it. If we don’t go to each other, then who?” adds Anushka.

The trio also have different ways of dealing with criticism on social media. For Any, usage is limited to wishing her friends and family. Akansha is cautious about sharing much about her personal life because there’s so much public scrutiny. Anything can get twisted, she believes.

On Akansha Ranjan Kapoor: Long sleeved Bleached Rhinestone Denim Jacket, Five Pocket Bleached Rhinestone Denim, Sleeveless Crop Floral Motif Tricot, all by United Colors Benetton

Anushka remains unfazed since it hardly matters what people think of her. “I don’t even read comments. I’ve been more open about posting about my relationship and my bond with my family and friends. I am not quiet about it because I don’t get into the depths of it. Akansha is more emotionally sensitive about these things,” she points out.

The trio has their hands full with professional engagements. How do they ensure work-life balance in this scenario? Anu is quick to respond. “I think it’s more about time management. One tip for those who are struggling with this is to stop cribbing about not having time. Just do it.”

Both Akansha and Anushka consider their WhatsApp group to be a ‘saviour’ in their relationship. “We share constant updates, talk rubbish, and whatnot. I am quite bad at responding when I am travelling…but I will send a picture or two here,” laughs Akansha.

About sharing responsibilities, Anu jokes that the girls didn’t take it seriously until a few years ago. Today, things are altogether different–Anushka, particularly, manages her own house.

“For me, more than responsibility, it’s about equal partnership. I think on days I am low, Akansha and Mom play a bigger role and vice versa. One constant thing is communication, so whatever we feel–whether it’s good, bad or ugly, we say it and the other person doesn’t get offended,” quips Anushka.

On Akansha Ranjan Kapoor : Easy Pull On Floral Printed Shorts, Short Sleeve Printed Linen Shirt Suede Patch Color Pop Sneakers
On Anushka Ranjan : Easy Pull On Floral Printed Shorts, Short Sleeve Printed Linen Shirt
On Anu Ranjan: Full Sleeve OD Shirt With Embroidery, Wide Leg Printed Denim
All looks by United Colors Benetton

Like any close relationship, conflicts are a given. But being coherent about feelings and emotions has been a game changer for them. Anushka says, “I see so many people hesitating in communicating with their parents or children. My husband’s family is also like that–they don’t say much to each other and it’s always a hierarchy. Since we have been together and he has seen our family dynamic, he admits to not having realised how much talking about feelings can help in loving each other more.”

But something common that everyone in the family shares, particularly when it comes to conflict resolution, is turning to Akansha for advice.

“We are all strong personalities and have different ways to deal with conflicts. I bring all three of them together–my parents and Anushka (haha),” she concludes.

Monica Dogra and Anjali Sivaraman

Both Monica Dogra and Anjali Sivaraman are similar in many ways–they are both artists who let creativity take centre stage in their lives. Thus, it’s hardly surprising that both of them have similar sensibilities at work.

“I believe it’s easy to form a bond with someone you are working with, especially if it’s a creative field where people are encouraged to express themselves and be a little more vulnerable and empathetic,” says Anjali.

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“When you work together, you go through the daily grind, you understand each other better and where they are coming from, and so much more,” she adds.

Monica has a similar point of view. Since she works so hard, she needs to have a bond with the people she is associated with. “First, I want to enjoy the people I am around and after that, I say a yes or no to the job,” she confesses.

Since the creative industry is rather cutthroat, the only way to survive is to develop a rapport with people one works with. “Often, our work hours are unbelievably long, you hardly sleep, you eat bad food and you are on flights all the time. In my case, I tour a lot as a musician so it’s super hard on my body if I don’t love being around whoever is managing me or travelling with me,” Monica tells ELLE India.

In Anjali’s case, she has formed close friendships with many people she met at work. It’s also the way adult friendships are fostered, she adds. “As you grow older, it’s harder to make new friends but the friends that you make are friends you make through work.”

Monica believes she’s a ‘girls’ girl’ since she loves being around women who have great taste and are powerful. “For me, my life and work are completely integrated. I don’t play a role somewhere and live my life separately. My art is my life. I need people with the right vibe and so much of my work is DIY because I don’t come from a family or support system as such. So I have to fend for myself which a lot of people relate to,” she shares.

One of the prerequisites for her to collaborate with someone is their enthusiasm. If she notices laziness or a lack of energy, Monica doesn’t consider them a match. However, her equation with Anjali has been far from that. They have been on stage together twice but Monica has loved her vibe.

Anjali, on the other hand, admits to having faced challenges to maintain a balance between her personal and professional life. But she’s learned her lessons with time.

She explains, “If you have something going on in your personal life and you have to come to work and shake it off, it’s difficult to maintain that work-life balance. The best way to balance it out is to have a routine. Also, trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle makes a difference, it centres you.”

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Being a part of the glamour world also brings with it a whole lot of ups and downs. For Monica, who has now been in this industry for as long as 17 years, there’s a feeling that women have a shelf life. Thus, it adds to the pressure of being relevant.

“I am an independent artist so I have never had the push of pop spaces. I have had to reinvent and resource a lot, and I think that has caused me to experience massive burnout. But I am proud that I still feel relevant and have a very full career,” she declares.

“I wish I felt this sooner because scarcity was a part of my experience. It was that if I take up space, it has to be mine. If there’s something I have examined about Bollywood stalwarts, it is that they show up for each other’s events. If there’s a gift I could give to Indie artists or independent cinema, it would be to operate as a community,” adds Monica.

Dealing with challenges is more about confiding in friends who are more level-headed than her, says Anjali. That’s why she only shares information with people who are not obsessed with protecting her.

“I try to get their opinion to know what path I could take. It helps me gain perspective, clears my mind, and encourages me not to jump to conclusions before I have thought of other parts and variables,” she concludes.

Neha Dhupia, Angad Bedi, Mehr and Guriq

Actors Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi, who are always in the media glare, may have divergent views about certain things but one of the commonalities that binds them is the sharing of values around family and kinship. For instance, they are always looking to protect their kids—Mehr and Guriq–from constant exposure.

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“Family will always be very important to me. They centre you, ground you and your true emotions arise through them. There are various emotions about which one learns from their child or spouse. It eventually helps you become a better human,” Angad tells ELLE India.

“When you are in an uncertain profession, where you are as good as your last Friday, it’s your family that gives you love and care, making you realise you are so important to them. At the same time, you also begin to understand their importance in your life,” he adds.

It’s a similar thought process for Neha. As a child, she was raised by her parents with much love and care. Time and attention were never compromised. ‘There’s such a huge investment when it comes to that bond. I feel Angad and my value system are similar in so many ways. He comes from a tight nuclear family and has grown up around a sister while for me, it was my brother. Every time I see our kids, I always try to pass on the value system we learned from our parents,” elaborates Neha.

Today, navigating parenting is much harder; probably why Neha believes it’s unfair to judge anyone based on their style of raising kids.

“Every parent is the best version of what they can do, given the way they want to raise their children. However, I believe it’s important to display your narrative before your kids–of a mother and a woman,” she says. “You want your children to see your honest side. That narrative could change from person to person and from one circumstance to another.”

Angad believes that children must be aware of parents’ being their ‘security blanket’. He also emphasises on the importance of instilling friendship and discipline as pillars in family dynamics.

“We also try and establish a tonality of friendship with our children; we offer them a channel to talk to us about everything. This is what I wanted to do differently…because while growing up, I wasn’t as comfortable opening up to

On Neha Dhupia: Solid White shirt and Brown Midrise Pants
On Angad Bedi: Linen Mandarin Collar Shirt and Elasticated Waist Cargo Pants
All looks by United Colors of Benetton

In an era where social media has made access to celebrities much easier, it’s a struggle to maintain privacy. “As far as our personal lives are concerned, we try to keep our kids away from the media exposure. They are too young to understand the benefits and negatives of social media,” points out Angad.

“I feel when you are in the public eye, there’s no shying away from the fact that everyone knows you have children. But that’s the public persona of me. But what can I do when I am not that so-called celebrity or public figure? What I can do is protect them by not revealing their faces,” chips in Neha.

Treading through relationships and family life comes with its own set of challenges. The best way to sail through disagreements is to agree to disagree, believes Angad.  “There will be two different points of view because we are different individuals staying under the same roof. Not just Neha and I, my kids also have a point of view,” he advises.

The real challenge for them is to make time for each other. Both Angad and Neha try to prioritise each other, attempting to match schedules whenever possible. “Work is important but family time is equally essential. It is a tricky space to be in but one can sail through it if you have an understanding partner,” highlights Angad.

However, for Neha, working through challenges is possible if a couple has respect for each other’s choices. “There are days when I make the choice of going to work and he’s there at home and vice versa; that’s the first sign of love and respect. It’s only on rare moments when both of us have to be at work but even then we have any of the grandparents filling in,” she shares.

“Angad is such a pillar in our relationship. We communicate, laugh, have fun and there’s so much chemistry. There’s everything involved that I could ever wish for. Sometimes I look at him and think I must have done something right to have him in my life,” concludes Neha.

Photographer: Amitabh Bachpan, Creative Production: Office Hours, Aangi Nahta, Fashion Stylist: Surbhi Shukla, Cover Art: Sakshi Badani, Production: Grey Production Company, Assisted by: Vedica Vora (styling), Fauziya Shaikh (HMU), Makeup: Rakshanda Irani (Neha Dhupia, Porus and Prayag), Parvez Reflection Salon (Angad Bedi), Amrin Noorani Mukhi (Monica and Anjali), @Chriselle Anne Baptisa (Akansha), Aneeshaa Vaswani (Anushka), Tereza Sofie Sherpa (Anu; Hair: @Younten Tsomo (Neha Dhupia, Mehr Dhupia Bedi, Guriq Dhupia Bedi), Parvez Reflection Salon (Angad Bedi), Rakshanda Irani ( (Porus and Prayag), Tereza Sofie Sherpa (Anu, Akansha, Monica and Anjali)

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