December 27, 2021 12:30:37 pm
Soha Ali Khan, who is mother to Inaaya Naumi Kemmu, wears many hats. An actor, fitness enthusiast, author and lover of all things healthy, has also created a niche for herself on social media where she regularly shares her fitness and parenting journey to inspire and motivate her fans and followers
In a freewheeling chat with indianexpress.com, Soha — who has impressed with her performances in films like Rang De Basanti (2006), Saheb Biwi aur Gangster (2013) and 31st October (2016) — spoke about how parenting has changed her, how she keeps up with her fitness game, also revealing the secret to a healthy lifestyle.
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What is your approach towards a holistic lifestyle?
The most important basics are getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet and getting an adequate amount of exercise. I try to fulfill my nutritional requirements from whole foods so that we don’t have to take too many supplements or medication. The idea is to try and build your immune system and ‘prevent’ as much as possible. In terms of sleep, which I think is key, because everything becomes easier if you get a good night’s rest, it enables your body to recover, to fight any kind of illnesses that may be developing within your body.
Any specific home remedies that you follow to protect yourself and your family against the cold and other infections?
One thing that I have been doing since forever is having honey with some warm water in the morning. That’s something that I’ve been doing as a preventative measure for a long time and I believe that it helps your body to stay strong and have the power to fight many potential diseases in this continuously changing weather. I live in Mumbai and there has been so much rainfall this past year. The season is known to bring with it a host of respiratory diseases such as cold and coughs etc and if you have a young child at home, you have to take extra precautions.
Children, especially, when they start going to school are exposed to so many germs and viruses and they constantly sport runny noses, clogged noses which makes them have trouble breathing and I wanted to change it for my family just as I have seen my mother doing. I use the Vicks Vaporizer because it really seems to give you fast relief from all the symptoms of a cold such as a blocked nose and cough. It’s very easy to use. All you need is a bowl of warm water and towel to cover your head to inhale the steam.
How does a typical day in your life look?
A typical day in my life usually starts around 6.30-7 am depending on when my daughter wakes up. School has now begun, so that means my mornings and the first half of the day passes by like a tornado with breakfast, cleaning, other chores, etc. But when she leaves the house, it suddenly feels quiet and empty, and I can’t fall back to sleep again. It usually is not possible to rest when your body’s been stimulated to that extent. As an actor, my schedules are erratic but I try to get my workouts done in the morning while she is at school. I have a great personal trainer who comes home and takes care of my fitness routine. These days, since we are all experts with our own cameras and devices, any other work that I may have, I try to complete it when my daughter’s not around.
When I’m shooting, sometimes I’m gone for hours at a row, but that’s just the nature of the profession. Shifts that stretch for over 10 hours are common and it’s almost always unpredictable, but I am lucky to have my partner who is extremely supportive and helpful. We do enjoy our time together, but I like doing my own thing as well, like grabbing dinner with friends.
How do you and Kunal (Kemmu) manage parenting responsibilities?
Well, [Inaaya] understands that the both of us have to be away from her for a certain stretch of time and she understands a little bit of the jobs that we do, she is just really good at letting you go to work. It’s difficult because sometimes I hardly see her for two whole days. When I come home, she’s gone to school or to do one of her numerous extracurricular classes. We are trying hard to be there for her, she wants someone to read her books and do the things that only family members can do.
We split up the parenting duties equally, whenever Kunal is around the house, he takes care of everything else while I do the same when I’m not working. It takes way more than one person to bring up a child, however.
Is reading a big part of your everyday life? How frequently do you read to your daughter?
It’s quite regular. Children’s books are different from regular novels and such, so I let my daughter take the pick from her bookshelf and then I read her the book. She has a bunch of her favourites and wants to listen to them everyday! But a few, she wants to listen to them over the weekend and with leisure, if you miss one word, you’ll have to start over again.
Reading is relevant and necessary because she’s surrounded by them: in her school, playroom, bedroom and I’ll always keep encouraging her to hone this habit.
If everyone’s busy at home or if I have to attend a phone call for 10 minutes, I ask her to settle down with a book and even though she’s only 4, she has started to put letters together!
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How would you sum up your parenting experience amid Covid?
It is certainly a profound experience and one that changes you. Your priorities, growth, perspective changes completely and it’s discerning to say the least. It’s one of those things where you bring someone into the world and they are half you and half your partner, biologically, but 100 per cent their own person. One of the most difficult parts of parenting is to let them be that person and to let go. For example, if my daughter decided that she doesn’t like reading anymore, I can’t force her to keep doing it. I can’t force her to learn the piano or be an academic or do anything that she doesn’t want to do.
One of the most valuable things you can do for your child is to listen to them, there is a lot you can learn from it. It’s one of the most invaluable relationships in the world. It’s also extremely important to strike the right balance and learn to say yes and no for the right things.
Do you follow any health and lifestyle trends?
Instead of focusing on trends or a particular set of activities, I take care of my health and fitness for yoga. I’ve seen that people who can’t do certain postures or run, respond very well to yoga. It’s very important to figure out what works specifically for your body and also the issues that you want to tackle in terms of fitness, whether it is cardiovascular health, weight loss/gain, etc., and then choose the right workout for yourself.
It’s also important to keep things interesting and switch up your exercise routine every once in a while. I have a new personal trainer now and I’m really enjoying trying out new things. I’ve always been pretty active but lately, I was stagnating, especially in the last few years of lockdown. I wanted to jazz things up for myself a little and I’m really enjoying challenging my body and pushing my limits.
I’ve also never been one to subscribe to diets or anything of that sort, I believe in eating a balanced diet and finding nutritionally rich food sources. Indian food is packed with flavour and necessary vitamins and minerals and helps to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle, which is the end goal.
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How do you keep yourself motivated?
Well, me and Kunal share a home and I see how important it is for him to be fit, not just for a film but he enjoys looking after his body and that motivates me to do the same. Even when we aren’t in the same space together, we try to keep our work out schedules up and active.
We work as a team on everything, he encourages me and it’s never demoralising in any way because he wants me to be fit, appreciate my body, love myself and consider myself worthy of putting in that time.
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