Twinkle Khanna on humour, being opinionated, and her unfulfilled urge to just be ­ without the tag of being a mother, daughter, wife or friend
Shikha Shah (TIMES LIFE; March 19, 2017)

You have this habit of easily converting a tense moment into something comical...
I think it's a family trait. I grew up in a bustling household, filled with my grandparents and my aunts. I don't recall any of us really moaning about anything. We laughed at each other and at the things life threw at us, and perhaps, that has stayed with me through the years.

How does Akshay react to your humour?
He is a funny guy in his own way. Let me put it this way... he makes people laugh and then laughs all the way to the bank whereas my jokes won't buy me a Cadbury.

People say you are pretty blunt, and offend people...
I think the real reason why I am always limping and my foot is bandaged is not because of weak ligaments but because of the years of damage I have caused my foot by keeping it permanently in my mouth. I am learning to be a little more careful now.

Can humour be inculcated?
Not unless you sit in a lab with electrodes attached to your skull, with electric shocks dispensed when you don't laugh at lame jokes. I think all the angst that we see comes from taking ourselves a bit too seriously; this particular millennial generation also has the disadvantage of having enormous amounts of information but very little wisdom.

It's difficult to be an opinionated woman and a star in Bollywood...
It is difficult to be opinionated and be a woman, period.

Are you comfortable with your star status? Or would you have preferred anonymity?
It'd be foolish to be dissatisfied with a life where you don't have to deal with poverty, disease and disability. Those are challenges that are difficult to rise above; the rest of us have no business complaining.

Tell us something about your late father that very few people know about
He was a good cook and very hospitable. He would personally keep going to the kitchen to get piping hot rotis for his guests and had exacting specifications for the way everything - from eggs to keema - had to be prepared.

What are your specific strengths visa-vis Akshay's?
He is calm and patient. His thoughts are carefully folded and placed within the cupboard of his neat mind while mine is the equivalent of a washing machine ­ messy and always churning. He stabilises me and I push him beyond his comfort zones. Our relationship works because over the years we have given up wanting to change each other.

Are you a hands-on mom?
I'm a hands-full mother. I have two children, a dog, six fishes, a turtle and a husband!

Do you obsess over your kids' schedules homework, food, etc.?
Luckily, the older one (Aarav) is a bit too grown up for me to run behind him and get his homework done and the younger one (Nitara) still doesn't get any homework. That's a big relief. I am particular about what everyone eats though. I try and get as much organic produce as possible. We even grow spinach, tomatoes, brinjal and lettuce in our garden, and I make colour-coded weekly spreadsheets with all their meal plans. I think I am trying to overcompensate for the fact that I can't even boil an egg!

Is there anything your heart desires that you haven't done yet?
I want to spend three months all by myself. Self-travelling without being anyone's mother, daughter, wife or friend.

Are you a movie buff? What is the one movie that changed your perspective of life?
I can't say it was any one particular movie but I enjoy sci-fi movies, like Interstellar, Arrival... movies that challenge our beliefs of space, time and gravity.

Between you and Akshay, who is the more romantic one?
Well, let's see. I think anyone who decides to sing Strangers in the night on national television should be the recipient of this prize.