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HT Brunch Cover Story: Sonam Kapoor interviewed by her BFF

The actor in an intimate tete-a-tete with her childhood friend Samyukta Nair throws up answers only a best buddy can elicit
Hindustan Times | By Samyukta Nair
UPDATED ON NOV 08, 2020 09:45 AM IST
For Sonam Kapoor, family is everything. On Sonam: Dandelion; make-up and hair: Maria Asadi(Rowben Lantion)

Sonam and I were born in the same month of the same year, only 17 days apart (Sonam is older, which is something I never tire of hearing – by way of good counsel, of course), which means I’ve known her my entire life. So, interviewing her feels both a little strange and all too familiar at the same time. But it is an absolute honour to interview one of the best people I know.

They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. It’s safe to say we both lucked out and have to be incredibly grateful to our mothers, who are friends, for finding each other when they did and in turn leading us to one another. Although we never went to the same school, we grew up in each other’s homes over play dates and birthday parties, and a fond friendship developed.

Samyukta Nair and designer Kunal Rawal at Sonam’s mehndi ceremony in 2018

The friendship drifted in middle school, but Kunal Rawal, a close mutual friend, rekindled our friendship at 16. Sonam was no longer the tall, lanky pre-teen I had known. This avatar was a girl who went to boarding school in Singapore, wore bandanas, played rugby, had tattoos and had put on 20 kilos in the guise of self-discovery. I loved her spirit even more and there’s been no turning back – we’ve been best friends ever since!    

Love and marriage

What do you ask one of your closest friends for an HT Brunch cover story? In accepting this challenge, I recognised that I probably already have answers to many of the questions I planned to ask, but I’m excited to share this incredibly special part of my best friend with everyone else. For starters, Sonam inherently wears her heart on her sleeve. So I start with asking what love means to her.

“Love is caring about someone without fear or despite it. It means feeling with courage and people who have courage are those who feel and do things without fear,” she says thoughtfully.

For Sonam, having a home where your doors are wide open for friends, cousins and colleagues, with a hot meal ready to be served and a side of laughter, is everything (Rowben Lantion)

Looking back only to see how far we’ve come from our questionable choices, wherein lay invaluable life lessons, I ask what her past relationships have taught her.

“You can be friends with your exes or choose never to speak to them again – don’t feel guilty about either. Most importantly, always trust the timing of your life, timing is everything,” she says.

“Anand still refers to me as his girlfriend and never wants to lose the romance of dating” —Sonam Kapoor

Speaking of timing, it feels like just yesterday that Anand walked into her life – if I were to believe in serendipity, their love story would be the very reason why. I remember them both coming back from her first birthday dinner spent with him just in time for midnight and it seemed to me like she was not just about to celebrate another year but a new beginning! With this in mind, I ask, how did you know Anand was the one?

Sonam celebrating her birthday with her husband Anand Ahuja

“It might sound clichéd, but you know someone is meant for you when no matter how tough things get or how much you fight, the thought never crosses your mind to ever want what you have with them to end,” she replies.

I continue: Anand’s generosity of spirit and kind heart is something I know you admire greatly, Sona, but what about him that humbles you?

“His childlike enthusiasm and belief in the best in people without judgment of right and wrong humbles me, as it requires immense empathy. I’m usually quick to take sides so this approach has helped me in my attitude and judgment towards people and situations,” says Sonam.

With busy lives and schedules that span continents, I ask about date nights and what it means now that they’re married.

She shares, “Anand still refers to me as his girlfriend and never wants to lose the romance of dating. We go on long walks and step out for a meal and a movie once a week and never go to sleep over a fight.”

Making a home

Sonam has made her home in London (Rowben Lantion)

Few know that design and putting together spaces comes naturally to Sonam. A case in point: their beautiful home in London— a safe haven of beauty and calm that I am grateful to call my home away from home. When I question her about the inspiration she drew from whilst putting it together, she says, “I am inspired by the colours of India and I’m in love with the South Asian art that features all over my walls. My aesthetic inspiration comes from my aunt Kavita Singh, mother Sunita Kapoor and friend Rooshad Shroff, who understand my taste and aesthetics impeccably.”

Enjoying her new home also means exploring her domestic side, and I’ll let you in on the best kept secret: Sonam is an ace homemaker!

“Not without a few faux pas,” she reminds me honestly. “Do you remember when my hob auto-locked itself and after trying to get through to customer care, I resorted to Twitter to reach out to team?”

Gosh, I do! Those early days of them moving in were memorable.

“Love is caring about someone without fear or despite it” —Sonam Kapoor

Sonam also admits to discovering her love for baking and being very good at it. I secretly think she loves the delicious whiff that it leaves, but that’s a debate for another day.

Moving cities and making London home has been exciting, but growing up in a full house, she proudly says, is the best. “Family is everything and having a home where your doors are wide open for friends, cousins and colleagues to come through, with a hot meal always ready to be served with a side of laughter means the world to me,” says Sonam.

Rules for living

Her sister Rhea, who also happens to be my 2 am friend, sounding board and confidant, is literally Sonam’s everything. Rhea has given Sonam an incredible life lesson: ‘think before you speak and always think of family and friends over yourself.” These are rules Sonam lives by.

Sonam with Samyukta in splits

The two of us could go on and on, but it’s way past my bedtime in India and she’s ready to sit down to dinner in London. As we say goodbye and talk about how much we miss seeing each other in person, I sneak in one last question: What’s next, I ask.

In that usual Sonam way, with a gleam in her eye, she says: “Movies, fashion, family and friends.”

I smile, incredibly proud of my indomitable best friend and her inspiring and unwavering spirit.

From HT Brunch, November 8, 2020

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