Chitrangda Singh, who is known for her films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Desi Boyz, Yeh Saali Zindagi, has been spending each day as it comes, not thinking about the “next meeting, appearance or project”. The lockdown, she says, has been a lesson for her which has made her realise about the joys of indulging in the smallest of things in life which perhaps never feature on one’s to-do list. The pandemic has also ensured that she gets regular with her workouts, sleep schedule and even meals.
In an interview with indianexpress.com, the actor, who is also admired for her elegant fashion choices, talks about her life in lockdown, sustainable living and also shares details of two artworks she recently donated for a good cause.
What has been the biggest impact of the pandemic on you?
This pandemic has taught us many things, to be thankful for what we have and to slow down. It has made us a little philosophical, besides the impact on people’s livelihood. Professionally, I was shooting for a film called Bob Biswas, but we had to stop. There was another film, which was to start in April but will probably start much later now.
What has been your biggest lockdown lesson?
That it’s okay to get bored sometimes, just sitting idle and finding something that you are good at and can enjoy. One can enjoy baking, sketching, horse riding or cycling, and things that we never did. These are some small things in life and the lowest in the list of things that we ever want to do. Usually, it’s about the next meeting, where you will go, your next appearance, the next project. I think this has been a lesson for me.
You recently donated two artworks — Dark Horse and Perseverance — for Artwork for Heartwork, an online fundraiser to generate funds for procuring hygiene kits for unsung heroes. Could you tell us about these?
I have always been very fond of charcoal sketching, especially sketching horses, and dried-up trees. It’s fascinating how, if you see a dried-up tree, it looks different at different times of the day, the sunlight kind of changing the character. There is so much shadow play to work with. When LAY’S and Smile Foundation asked me to donate my artwork for the initiative, I decided to donate one of each. People can visit http://www.artandfound.co, and see my work along with many more compelling artworks.
Why did you select these two artworks, and is there a reason behind doing them in charcoal and keeping them black and white?
One of the reasons for keeping them in black and white is because I only use charcoal and prefer this medium. Secondly, it has a dramatic effect. I chose these artworks because these are my favourite and original pieces, in fact, my own interpretation. I like the Dark Horse because it represents strength. It is about the spirit of having that strength and keep moving forward. As for the tree, there is so much story and character to it, almost like a life scene. It is as if the tree has lived its life. As an artist, it has a lot more meaning as these artworks are the representation of my emotions towards the heartwork of unsung heroes, but for the audience I thought these artworks would be visually appealing and they would buy my artwork and add to the Artwork For Heartwork initiative.
Have you taken any extra diet or wellness measures to boost immunity and health?
I have been a lot more regular with my workout. I was really beating myself up for not taking fitness as seriously as I should. Moreover, I have been taking ginger water with lemon and vitamin C as well as magnesium supplements regularly. Other than that, I have been taking all the necessary safety precautions.
What does your diet chart and exercise regime look like?
I am eating every single meal on time because now I am not traveling and am at home. Previously, I wasn’t eating or sleeping on time but now everything has become a lot more disciplined. I sleep early, wake up early, workout on time, eat breakfast on time and am controlling the urge to overeat or eat out. So, automatically, everything is getting in sync.
I have started to do a lot more strength training and multi-gym workout, which I do for about half an hour. But one thing that I have changed is doing at least 45 minutes to an hour of cardio every single day and then cycling in the evening. So, from not working out to doing it twice a week and now doing six times a week has been the change for me.
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The pandemic has also generated a lot of conversation around sustainable living. Is it something you practice on a regular basis?
Recently, I was talking to somebody about how the next pandemic that we need to worry about is probably pollution and the medical waste that is mounting because of the pandemic. Thus, sustainability will become an extremely important conversation in the times to come. In fact, it should happen as soon as possible. The planet is rebooting and if we do not sort things out, it will reboot us.
I am a lot more conscious. There is no plastic bag in my house, and instead only cloth bags. I remember we were doing some gardening and there were these black potted containers in which you get the plants. Usually, we tend to throw them away but this time I thought of keeping them. So, it’s about these small little things and reusing them.
Unsung heroes and frontline covid workers have led the fight against coronavirus across the globe. Do you have any personal anecdote to share?
There have been so many stories that have shown some exceptional generosity and kindness of people, who have come out to feed and help others. A friend and I were contributing to a kitchen that he ran. He and his friend would distribute food to migrant workers who were walking every single day through Delhi towards UP. I was donating money, but to stand there, feed, distribute blankets to people is something else.
I was also supporting the Robin Hood Army who fed some 30 million people. Chef Vikas Khanna also has been feeding millions of people and is still doing so. There’s also Sonu Sood who has been a saviour for so many people. It is an amazing outpouring of humanity. There is equality in this kind of pain and fear. Therefore, I really feel the biggest difference it has brought in all of us is empathy, and compassion for humanity. We cannot carry on living in our own bubbles.
Every single one who has done an act of kindness would probably be an unsung hero. It’s just been so heartening. Many people lost their loved ones and this sadness has united us together. I think this has been one of the reasons why there have been many heroes who have come out of this. It is humbling to see this, and I salute all of them.