The mother, the actor, the philanthropist, Lisa Ray always aspired to become a writer. In this conversation, she leaves no chords untouched and speaks her heart out about writing being her first love to her idea of living and more. Edited Excerpts
1. You have always remained in good shape, what involves your daily fitness regime?
Thank you. I don’t want to give off the impression of being in the perfect shape, or of putting my physical appearance ahead of all else. I struggled with body issues in my youth and I have written about this in-depth in Close to the Bone, my debut book. For me, fitness is about maintaining an emotional and healthy balance and keeping my disease (Multiple Myeloma) which is technically incurable- in check. Yoga is a constant in my life and in scenarios, I do not get to practise it for a long time, my body and mind crave for it. I go to the gym as and when I can, but erratically. I prefer Pilates and outdoor activities.
2. You have embraced life even more beautifully, after fighting the battle against cancer. Are there still any traces? How do you manage your lifestyle and diet for that?
My disease is considered incurable. Fortunately and with great optimism and faith, one day it will become a chronic and treatable disease like diabetes rather than a fatal disease. So I am on lifelong maintenance therapy, but along with my allopathic medicine, I subscribe to complementary therapies such as Ayurveda, energy healing, yoga, meditation, nutrition, pranic healing, shamanic healing, akashic records and detoxes. In fact, I look forward to each experience. It teaches me more about myself and about this glorious life.
3. Your step-by-step journey of the life-threatening disease is shared in a blog called the Yellow Diaries. What is the significance behind this name? Any associations with the colour yellow?
Yellow is the colour associated with the Manipura chakra which is the seat of the will. I invoked this chakra when I was going through treatment and healing.
4. In your autobiography, Close to the Bone you have spoken about your disease and life, without any constraint. A lot of people don’t choose to do that. What encouraged you?
I find operating from honesty and vulnerability easier and ultimately healing. I have done a lot of reflection and meditation and self-inquiry even before I was diagnosed and maybe this has released me from a lot of the insecurities that held me back before. Sometimes we are our own enemy. Also, we often think the world is judging us when in reality everyone is wrapped up with their own stories and fears. It is a slightly sad state of affairs that we need to pose this question: to speak about one’s life without constraints should be the default for everyone.
5. If given a chance to choose to play any one of the various roles you have played in life, what would it be and why?
Writer. It’s my lifelong aspiration which I never had the guts to pursue before. Cancer has clarified my priorities and reduced my fears so I can commit to my dreams.
6. Moksha Yoga was your first entrepreneurial venture, what made you start that? Were there any challenges or obstacles while setting it up?
Yes entrepreneurship in itself is challenging. The most challenging was managing people. I’m not good at it at all. I am an introvert by nature and I need to retreat from the world, at times, which is not practical when you are running a business. Fortunately, I have a brilliant business partner.