In the last four months, Twinkle Khanna’s go-to home embellishment has been money plant saplings in empty alcohol bottles. “I have a lot of gin bottles because I have been drinking a lot of it during the lockdown. They are my new vases,” says the 46-year-old writer, columnist and interior designer. The human eye, she says, is naturally oriented to see life in the colour green, more so now, when we are confined in our homes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Closely linked to our emotions, colour can be instrumental in uplifting our mood, says Khanna, who is partial to all shades of blue. “I’m always wearing [the colour] and have blue around me.” She talks about updating living spaces with colour, and this includes the bathroom, which doesn’t have to be a “boring and sterile white”. The ambassador for American bath design brand, Kohler, says, “It is only now that we are realising how important a bathroom is. It is almost like a sacred space because it is the only place you are alone, especially if you have kids.”
That said, Khanna has ensured that her children have been a part of home improvement activities during the lockdown. “As a child, I had learnt to crochet and embroider, and I’ve been doing embroidery hoops with my children. Hopefully we will make something that will have value, if not materialistically, then as a memory of doing this activity together at a time like this,” she says. Quick DIY tips like using old shawls as upholstery have worked well for Khanna, who believes recycling household items is the best way to usher in some change at the moment.
As an interior designer, she has held sustainability and durability in high regard. “Construction itself is non-sustainable,” she observes. “But within that framework, we have to maximise output by incorporating elements like rainwater harvesting and solar energy, for instance.” When she started her brand, The White Window, they had no access to western designs, compelling her to look at homegrown artisans. “We have the best carvers and artisans in India. We are [now increasingly] looking inwards, not just in designs but also in culture,” she says.
As residences are doubling up as office spaces during lockdown, Khanna resorts to making an armrest of pillows on her bed and using them as a table to break the monotony of a desk routine. She calls it a pillow fortress. It is a hack she recommends, especially if your job is to write. “It is quite ergonomically viable,” she observes. “For me, headphones are also vital because I get distracted by noise. I put them on while writing and play white noise or sounds of a washing machine or the air conditioner or the rain, so I drown out screaming children and the chaos behind me.”
Currently working on her fourth book, the author of Mrs Funnybones and Pyjamas Are Forgiving, found it easier to focus on her writing at the start of the pandemic. “Back then we were a lot more hopeful,” she recalls. Writing has become progressively challenging. “It is like those sugarcane stalls on roadsides. There is no sugarcane left any more for the juice to be extracted; the mind is not stimulated enough,” she quips. She is, therefore, occupying herself with a long reading list of books and watching their cinematic adaptations, in the hope that they spark inspiration.