Esha Gupta on sending house help on leave before lockdown: ‘I am happy she’s with her family, it’s my house, cleaning it myself is no big deal’
Esha Gupta is one of the few Bollywood and TV stars who witnessed a release amid lockdown. The actor made her digital debut with the second season of Goldie Behl’s web show Rejctx, in which she plays a glamourous yet no-nonsense cop. At home during lockdown, the former beauty queen is happily doing her household chores with no intention to share the proof on social media and feels relieved to have sent her house help on leave.
In a candid interview with Hindustan Times while living all alone in quarantine at her Mumbai residence, the actor opened up about the lesser known aspects of her life - from dealing with her mom’s cancer that made her give up her law course to her fondness for cooking and cleaning. Excerpts:
To what extent do you think a beauty pageant title helps in making a career in Bollywood?
I think a lot of girls enter Miss India with the whole agenda of being an actor, and it’s good for them because at least they know what they want. I had just finished my last semester at Manipal University and got my degree after the Miss India pageant. Then I went back to studies after getting a scholarship. For me, it was something I wanted to try and thought that was a great opportunity. By God’s grace, you know some things are meant for you. I’m not sure if it is a great platform to become actors or not, but I think if you’re going with that agenda, it’s lovely because you know it teaches you a lot of things and is a great training process.
Why didn’t you complete your studies at the Newcastle University?
I had completed the whole course except the last semester. I left because my mom had cancer and I had to come back to India at that time. I wanted to be with my mom as we didn’t know what’s going to happen. That year went really bad for us as a family because she had two tumours in her brain. It was very hard, only a person who’s going through cancer and the family can empathise as one has to go through chemo and keep going to the doctor, at times it comes back.
I did a Kingfisher calendar in 2010 and started getting calls from everyone, saying ‘you have a commercial face, you should try for movies’. I didn’t know what that meant until I did my acting course while staying at my cousin’s house. This was all while my mother was still getting treated. I did meetings and got my first break in a film. That’s the only reason I could not complete my studies. I recently thought of going back and getting my degree before the lockdown but then I realised ‘Oh my God, law is not easy’. It’s not something where my mind is right now but maybe when I’m older and settled, I’ll try to do it then.
How are you dealing with lockdown?
Honestly, I have been all alone which means 60 days of being with no single human being. I’m trying to keep myself as positive as possible because it gets really difficult emotionally, it takes a toll on you. It’s not about the physical stress, apna ghar hai khud saaf karne me kujh nahi jara (It’s my house, cleaning it myself is no big deal). A lot of people even told me ‘you should show that you’re cleaning your house’, but why should I do that, everyone else is doing the same.
But the fact that I’m all alone for these many days has really taken an emotional toll on me, it’s really broken me and I don’t know what all I’ve been through. After a point you feel ‘I’ve not met anyone, I miss my family a lot, I wish I was with them’.
How do you divert your mind and keep fit.
I have been doing yoga for the last 8 years, my dad was in the Air Force has been doing yoga since he was 10 because his father was a yoga instructor-cum-lawyer (that’s why I wanted to be a lawyer). I got deeply involved in yoga during the quarantine just to keep myself calm. I later decided, why not motivate people too? I even wrote a post saying - ‘Just breathe and disconnect with all people who are negative’. I I don’t know how many people are going through that like they’re all emotional and don’t know what to talk, they don’t even want to say that they’re not okay. I want people to accept the fact that it’s okay to not be okay because these are hard times for everyone but the fact is that we’re all in this together. Yoga is one thing that has really kept me going.
How do you manage the domestic chores without a help?
We all were leaving for London on May 23 to shoot for Tipsy, which is being directed by Deepak Tijori. We had already shot the song before my Rejctx shoot. Since I would have gone for 45 days, I sent my house help on leave. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because she reached home safe and sound before lockdown. I am relieved she is with her family and safe. The only disadvantage is that my shoulder hurts a lot due to an injury I suffered in February.
I have OCD, so my house is sparkling clean right now. My parents even took me to a doctor when I was a child because they didn’t know what OCD was. Shoes are not allowed inside my house and that’s why my house remains clean. Covid-19 has not really affected me because I never used to like shaking hands with people as I don’t know if their hands are clean. People thought I was rude but it was germs. Now the world is telling you to sanitize your hands.
Author tweets @ruchik87)
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