700 4 3
Lunch is at one sharp, and if I’ve been talking nonstop, I prefer to have it alone. It’s better than trying to have conversations while shovelling food into your mouth. Lunch is also a leftover from another dietician’s plan. It’s normally some brown rice with subzi or a dal, and two more green rotis. It’s always Indian and never non-vegetarian. When I tell you this, you’d think I’d be 80 kilos. But I don’t know what’s going on! Maybe I’m sleepwalking to the fridge at night? I’m in the car, and I sometimes take the toiles with me. But of late, I’ve been nodding off. So that’s my power nap. My phone is always on silent, so all the calls I need to return get done in the car. There’s a box of papers—these are press queries that I need to answer with a Dictaphone. I try and get to the couture studio by 5:30-6:00 p.m. latest. I don’t go to the couture studio only to meet clients. There are a couple of things to handle there. We have a small architectural office where I work on architecture and interior projects. I’m involved in a few in Goa at present, and a hotel in Singapore. The couture team handles most of the clients, but I’m needed for big family meetings and to give them reassurance. Frankly, when they are spending a certain amount at a go, they want your eye to kind of bless what they’re choosing. And we’re old-fashioned like that. I want to be able to devote time to them and do a proper fitting in a toile and tell them what works and what doesn’t.
This is the time I come home. Because of the traffic and what our megapolises have become, it’s not feasible to go out post work. If I have to go to a dinner, I go kicking and screaming because if you want to get up at 5:45 a.m., a dinner really doesn’t feature into the plan. Especially Delhi dinners that are served at 11:00 p.m. You tell people ‘meet me at a restaurant at 8’, and they look at you like you’re completely mad. At home, Sal (Sailaja, his wife) and I have dinner together. I rarely see anyone in the week, apart from Sal and my sons Anand and Jahan, whom I’m always trying to guide (more than they want me to, necessarily). And before you ask, dinner is the same as lunch. It’s very boring. Actually, for the last two months, we’ve been eating these diet meals that are sent home from a dietician that Apu (choreographer Aparna Bahl) put us in touch with. It’s all about portion control. The bane of Indians is that we don’t do plated meals. Look at the French—it’s not like they eat particularly light or little food. Plus they live in cities where people walk a lot. But God, when I travel, I just binge! I was at a conference where Alber Elbaz (of Lanvin) said: “I can take a piece of chiffon and masterfully control it, but if I see a giant sandwich, I have none”. So I’m in the same boat. After dinner it’s time to sit around, chat, maybe watch a movie. It’s a very chilled time, and the only time I get to read my books. I have many coffee-table books, 700 at least, plus thousands of other books that I hope to read some day. Right now, I’m reading David Brooks’s The Social Animal. It’s fiction, but it’s about how we process information as humans, and how our conscious and subconscious minds work. I also read articles online. My whole experience of what’s happening in the Middle East changed after I read about the beheading of the American journalist James Foley. I sleep between 11:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m., or 12:30 a.m. latest. Like Daphne Guinness said: “I just close my eyes and go to sleep!” I get sheets from the White Company, and fine muslin quilts. If I did this column with you 10 years ago, it would have been very different. I’m trying to structure my lifestyle to be able to do the things I want to when I’m awake. Today has to be organised