Happy Birthday, Mrs Twinkle Khanna!

Subhash K Jha turns nostalgic on actor-turned-writer Twinkle Khanna’s birthday

Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Burhaan Kinu/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Subhash K Jha

Once  upon  a time, Twinkle Khanna was a  close friend. We spent hours  on the phone  bitching about the whole world. Those  who were  the infancy  days  of  the mobile phone and  I would call her from a   landline number  while she  spoke  from a cellphone.

Even then she  was the odd one out. She hated acting  and loved reading books. She  hated liars and  loved  speaking what was  in  her heart. Her best  friend back then was …no, not me, but Tanuj Garg who is now  a producer. I was closer to her husband, then her boyfriend. And  a lot of conversation was  about him, which I would duly  report back to Akshay.

Back then Twinkle  was  not really sure if she wanted to marry  Akshay. I’d  like to believe that I had a small hand in convincing her. Before she could decide whether he  was right for her,  she  and Akshay both decided to disappear  from my life for  a while. I don’t  know if  the  absence was orchestrated  but  one fine day  some months  later I received a call  from both of them on Akshay’s phone  announcing that they are married.

It  was a bit of a surprise,  and not in a  good way.  With time I became habituated  to such surprises.

Even after marriage Twinkle continued to be the same honest non-hypocritical soul while  Akshay changed himself a lot . Twinkle and I would meet when I  was  in Mumbai even when Akshay was not in town. Once when my daughter and I were at her residence for lunch. She had asked me beforehand  what we’d like to eat. Aarav, who was then all of  4, toddled around. A  really lovely child. Now Twinkle has two lovely children. I haven’t met  her daughter. I can’t say we are  friends any more. Because that would be  a  lie. But at the same time  we  still  have a  corner  in our hearts  for one  another, that’s for sure.

What always astonished me about Twinkle was her erudition. She was  always a voracious reader. She wrote her first  book at the age of 18.

She once told me, “I carried around a black felt-file as a teenager that contained all the poems that I had jotted down, primarily about maggots and death. I have always been immersed in a world filled with words, earlier as a reader and now finally as both a reader and a writer.”

About her role as a mother she had said, “There is just one thing I tell myself. I survived and so will they. As parents we must lead by example. Kids are always watching what we do and are not interested in what we say. You tell me, when does parenting end? I am in my 40s and my mother still thinks she has to nag me about the way I run my house. My daughter Nitara is a lot like me. She loves books and I love how feisty she is. Aarav seems  to have inherited the best of both  his parents… Would  I like  him to be an actor? All I would want for him and from him is to focus on his natural talents and make a career based on them regardless of whether he picks acting or astronomy.”

Once I suggested that she write a  book on her legendary father Rajesh Khanna with  whom she shares  her birthday. Twinkle  didn’t like the idea. “It would be too personal and certain things are meant to stay that way. So no, I wouldn’t want  to  write about my father.”

Happy  Birthday, Twinkle. I  know you prefer being called Tina.  But somehow that name reminds me of someone your father once dated. So Twinkle you shall remain.

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