Padma Lakshmi clearly states that she has never looked or felt better than what she is today. She believes that what you lose in youth, you gain in sex appeal; what gravity takes away, you gain in wisdom. “My body is a blueprint of my life, of every tragedy — emotional or physical”. Whether it’s the stitches she got from a handsome doctor when she sliced herself while cutting a potato in Corsica, or the impossible-to-miss seven-inch-long scar on her arm, the result of a car accident in Malibu when she was 14. She wears it proudly now, a badge of survival; and when editor Anna Wintour asked her in 2001 to write about it for US
, she penned an eloquent piece about self-doubt and beauty, and the transformative power of one man’s vision.
She acted in the movie
for which she had to gain 20 pounds, and which was a catalyst in cementing her culinary career. “Oh, how easy it was to put on the pounds! And then, of course, I had to lose them. I was 27, and it was the first time I had to think about my weight. I wanted to lose it in a healthy way. There was no way I was going to be able to follow a diet.” So she tweaked her favourite recipes, and that’s how her first book,
, came about.
asked her about her married life with Salman Rushdie, she said, “I do think that as a beautiful woman, people don’t want you to be smart. The way I looked may have distracted people. So I had to negate the way I looked. But compared to what I gained, it was a microscopic struggle.”
Her daughter Krishna Thea Lakshmi changed her life. “I wasn’t trying to get pregnant, I was told I couldn’t,” says Lakshmi, referring to her endometriosis, a cause she now campaigns for fervently. “It’s been such a profound experience. Words seem silly to use. I’m trying to think of something illuminating, but all I can say is that it is by miles the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I am amazed by this ability to produce life, to sustain it. I was so afraid I’d lose her, but she really wanted to be here.”