4 am: I am wide awake and it's not because of the sonorous snores of the man of the house but because I am in the midst of a full-blown panic attack. In precisely three hours, I have to magically transform from a middle-aged, vaguely stylish woman to an ageless goddess.
6.15 am: Standing in front of our hallway mirror, I am practising a few poses — one leg artfully bent, the opposite shoulder up — when the man of the house strides in and decides to share: A) I look like I have dislocated my shoulder and b) Has anyone ever told me I strongly resemble Tom Cruise? I am not sure at this point if he is trying to say that I look like a short man or just stating that I have major movie star-like charisma, so I silently let it pass.
10 am: I am at the shoot in a shiny pink dress with massive pearls all around the hem. It's a stunning outfit, but every time I want to sit these pearls dig into my bottom. I resolve to remain standing till the next outfit change... before these pearls have a chance to follow the famous Star Trek slogan 'to boldly go where no man has gone before'. Yikes!
11 am: My baby is here. I rush to hug her before I go for my next shot where I am leaning on a fairytale dwarf, and this particular dwarf is insisting on talking to me in Marathi, which I really can't understand. I wonder if Snow White had similar communication problems with her bunch of men.
11.45 am: Glittering in an all-gold Pucci dress and boiling in Maharashtra's scorching sun, I am perched on a carriage. My body, of its own accord, dredges up some rusty skills and soon I am pouting and preening like this is my daily job.
1.30 pm: The next change is a black Cavalli dress with a plunging neckline. As I tug it over my head, I realise there is no way I can wear anything inside.
1.40 pm: I am now walking to my next location and the only thing keeping my breasts in place is hope!
2.30 pm: I have finally figured out why 90 per cent of women on the red carpet (and in magazines) pose like a teapot, with their hands on their waist—it makes you look a lot thinner. As I make a mental note to go everywhere with my hands perched on my midsection, I begin to wonder if I will truly look wonderfully lean or give people the idea that I have a bad stomach ache.
5.35 pm: The shoot is over and I am driving back home when I realise that while I have been in front of the camera right from my teens, this was the easiest, most relaxed shoot I have ever done. Was it because I had the lovely, bossy Anaita and her great team of people waving their magic wand around me? Absolutely. But it was also because I am all grown-up now. The good part about getting older is you stop trying to prove anything to anyone, including yourself. All you are in the pursuit of is collecting experiences— beautiful, fragile little soap bubbles that you store in your heart, and every once in a while you pull one out and gaze at the delicate pictures it shows you. Sometimes, it shows you images of you on the beach, sometimes it shows you burping your baby with exhaustion written on every line of your face, and sometimes it shows you a woman in a gorgeous dress, posing for the cover of Vogue and having the time of her life.
(As appears in the interview in Vogue India's August issue with cover star Twinkle Khanna)