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Exclusive: Its difficult to keep good mental health all the time – Alaya F

Tell us one thing you’re panicking about during the lockdown?

Our country has a large population. Sometimes, social distancing isn’t even an option, for example in the slums. Here, people live in close proximity. It’s hard to maintain distance. To contain and control the pandemic, there’s only so much you can do. That’s worrisome.

What trouble have you faced during quarantine?

I’m staying with my mom (actor Pooja Bedi) and my brother (Omar). I was travelling within India a while ago. When I returned, the city got into lockdown. I haven’t been able to see my father (entrepreneur Farhan Furniturewala), my half-brother (Zaan), my stepmother (Laila Khan), my grandparents … even my Nana (actor Kabir Bedi), although I did see him before the lockdown.

Also, keeping good mental health is a challenge as you’re enclosed all the time. You can’t step out in the sunlight. That does take a toll on your mental health. But you have to consciously be aware of that and do things to lift your mood and spirits. Having said that, we’re fortunate we have proper food to eat and the company of our family.

How do you keep calm?

I’m trying to keep myself busy and productive as much as possible. That’s really helping. Even in my regular life, if I stay inactive for too long, it bothers me. Just taking a shower, feeling fresh, wearing nice clothes, doing my hair… though I have nowhere to go, makes me feel good.

Alaya Furniturewala

What do you indulge in during your time at home?

I love drawing, spending time with my mom and brother – something I don’t get to do usually. I also cook when I get the chance. I work-out too. But I don’t love doing that. That’s something I don’t really want to do. It’s something I have to.

Three quick dishes you can prepare during the lockdown…

Pasta with readymade sauce. Maggi noodles and eggs are quick and easy to prepare. Also, sandwiches are quick fixes.

The lockdown has forced people to stay on social media longer. Is that true for you too?

Yes, it’s a bit more than usual. But I do get frustrated with my phone. The worst thing to happen was that my phone decided to give up on me. My main phone has become dysfunctional. Now, I’m using my backup phone. So even if I want to be on my phone, I can’t be for too long because it’s slow. Generally, I don’t like being on my phone too much. This was the Universe’s way of saying, ‘You don’t like it, you don’t do it’. So yeah, be careful what you wish for.

Alaya Furniturewala

Recall some memes you saw online related the shutdown.

I saw a meme that said people are making Dalgona Coffee like it’s gonna be the cure for the coronavirus. It was funny and had a personal touch to it. There was one by Filmfare, a video of me doing Kathak chakkars in my kathak class. It read getting out of home after this lockdown would be like… It was related to me so I liked it even more.

Two new things you plan to learn during the lockdown.

I want to learn to cook well. I was studying in New York. So I can survive on my own cooking. I can cook eggs and pastas. Recently, I learned how to cook protein pancakes. But I want to learn authentic cooking. Also, I’d want to keep up to the discipline of working out at home every single day. I’m not a workout fan. I like doing Pilates, dancing, gymnastics… as exercise. I must adhere to some discipline when it comes to working out at home.

Alaya Furniturewala

Have you downloaded any games to amuse yourself?

I’m not a game person. But I’m ‘house partying’ a lot. I can talk to my friends all over the world and even in India. Via the video app, you can chat with many people at once. That’s fun.

If given an option to spend your quarantine with one person, who would you choose? What would you stock up on?

I’d probably spend it with Meryl Streep. She’d be forced to teach me acting skills and techniques. I’d then be at my A-game and ready to take on the world. I’d keep an unlimited stock of yummy food, because no matter what you do, you want tasty healthy food, some good books and music. As silly as it sounds, this arrangement would be great.

Alaya Furniturewala