Updated: September 5, 2020 8:33:49 am
Actor Nusrat Jahan made a huge splash when she decided to contest the Lok Sabha elections last year and went on to win by a huge margin. Ever since, the Trinamool Congress MP had been juggling both roles, and successfully so. As the pandemic continues, the actor-MP says, it has taught her to not take anything for “granted”.
In an exclusive interview with indianexpress.com, the Har Har Byomkesh actor talks about her biggest lockdown lesson, her views on the conversation around period leave for women, the importance of personal health and hygiene, while also sharing a secret she believes not many people know about her.
You have recently associated with a wellness brand to create awareness around hygiene and sanitation. What is the basic requirement to achieve this?
I have consistently advocated the cause of hygiene and sanitation as an individual, actor and MP. Pee Safe is India’s leading hygiene and wellness brand and has been working towards creating awareness on these aspects since inception through campaigns and other initiatives. I resonated with their philosophy and what they stand for. All their products are sustainable and serve their purpose without causing any harm to the individual or environment.
Lately, there has been a lot of conversation around menstruation after a company announced period leave for women. What is your take on this?
The announcement of period leaves for women is a commendable move and I believe more organisations must follow suit. For a long time, menstruation and anything associated with it have been subjected to a lot of taboo. There was a lack of awareness around the problems faced by women during periods – one of them being period pain or dysmenorrhea. Considering how this can be a difficult time for women, especially the first two days, this move will greatly benefit them and set an example for others to follow.
Menstruation is still considered a taboo subject in India and a lot of women do not have access to safe and hygienic periods, which can lead to numerous diseases. As a parliamentarian, what do you think can be done to at least initiate a positive conversation around it?
Even as certain startups work towards helping raise awareness around menstruation and menstrual hygiene, the need of the hour is for stakeholders including the government to collaborate for conducting awareness programmes, especially in the rural areas. It is only through these awareness generation initiatives across all socio-economic sectors that a positive conversation can be generated around menstruation. Pee Safe has been undertaking campaigns such as the most recent #BleedYourWay to highlight the importance of menstrual hygiene for Indian women.
The current lockdown has affected lives in various ways. What has been your biggest lockdown lesson?
The biggest lockdown lesson for me, as for everyone else perhaps, has been to not take anything for granted. The pandemic has also taught us the importance of hygiene, sanitation and building our immunity. For a long time, both hygiene and sanitation have been ignored in our country, especially in rural areas. It is time to ensure that there are concerted efforts towards ensuring access to these essential things through public-private partnerships.
What is that one thing you did during the lockdown that perhaps you could never find time for?
Apart from spending time with myself and a lot of introspection, the lockdown gave me the opportunity to try my hand at cooking. From Bihari cuisine to biryani, I tried to cook various dishes, which I would not have had the time for if I was out and travelling.
You are admired for not only your acting but also your fashion. How do you describe your personal style?
My style is all about comfort. I feel if a person is comfortable in what he/she wears, it automatically translates into a style statement.
What is the secret to your glowing skin and lustrous hair? Are you someone who swears by home remedies?
I must thank my genes for my hair and skin. Having said that, with age, it is also important to eat a healthy diet and have a basic skin and hair care routine. I also drink a lot of water throughout the day to keep myself hydrated. I also apply coconut oil in my hair once a week to keep it nourished.
Do you also swear by a strict workout and diet routine?
Physical activity and a healthy diet are a regular part of my routine – also because of the field of work I am in. I do a combination of cardio and yoga. My diet consists of a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. I also make sure to drink a lot of water.
Is there something about you that most people do not know?
Although I am a public figure, I am a home-bird by heart. I love spending time with my family since I travel a lot. The time that I get with them and my friends is sacrosanct to me.
How are things likely to change for you personally and professionally in post-Covid times?
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted a lot of things and changed the way people and processes work. Working from home has taught us newer ways of doing things, which we normally would not have thought of perhaps. It has also made us relook and rethink hygiene and sanitation and underscored its importance. Both personally and professionally, I am confident of better times ahead. We will certainly move forward in the new normal taking precautions, and with more focus on hygiene and immunity.
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