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In Bed With... Rahul Khanna

In Bed With... Rahul Khanna

In Bed With… Rahul Khanna


Rahul Khanna needs little introduction, and yet, his self-descriptor ‘Boutique Bollywood Actor’ tells only half the story. Distinguished sensibilities - thespian, sartorial, humanitarian - fill in the sketch, rendering him a sought-after candidate for this series.

Below, with equal parts wit and candour, he is eloquent about bedroom habits and the extended time at home: 


What does life feel like lately?
Surreal! Are we in some sort of simulation? Is someone sitting in a control room somewhere, throwing these bizarre situations at us, watching to see how we react?


How do you think the pandemic will shape the fashion sector in the foreseeable future? 
I wish I had the expertise to be able to predict that. Just from my own experience, I’m realizing how little I actually need and how my focus has shifted, more than ever, to the items in my wardrobe that are functional, that bring me joy, have a strong emotional connection and to the pieces that have longevity and will never go out of style.

“I think perhaps people’s mindsets on the whole might move more towards quality and endurance over quantity and trends.”

  Image courtesy (L): photo - Paul Gregory, styling - Frisky Ridgewala

How is this challenging your perspective on life? What do you think will be its long-term impact on our society and way of life?
It feels increasingly important to really slow down, consider all decisions and prioritise what’s truly important to oneself. More than anything, I hope this time makes us realise how we’re all connected and helps us move towards improving the opportunities and quality of life for those less privileged than us, both human and animal. If you’re able to help, here are some organizations I recommend that are doing good work during this pandemic:


Your morning mood?
I thoroughly dislike mornings. Frankly, the only thing appealing about them is breakfast! I’m a little obsessed with it. 


Everyday breakfast?
There’s always eggs. Preferably pasture raised, organic eggs with those deep orange yolks. It could be a frittata with lots of fresh veggies or scrambled with fresh herbs on a toasted gluten free bagel or simply sunny side up made in an onion ring for that perfect round shape. I also love a good shakshuka or a French omelet. I sometimes pair it with smoked salmon and some capers.

When I’m in a hotel, I will often order one Western breakfast and one Indian breakfast with parathas, dosas, idlis and vadas—and eat them both! And there’s always two huge mugs of freshly brewed coffee. I make mine either in a traditional Italian stove top espresso maker or a French press. Topped with cold milk and sweetened with stevia. I even have a Highlights category solely dedicated to my breakfasts on Instagram.


  Image courtesy (R): Sheetal Mallar

What does your alarm sound like?
Classic iPhone “Old Phone” alarm sound.


Favourite bedroom feature?
Black out curtains and my collection of Dayanita Singh Boxes, which are on the wall in front of my bed and the first thing I see when I wake up.


What keeps you awake at night?
Scrolling through social media.


Your version of counting sheep?
Square Breathing (also called Box Breathing). It’s a simple meditation technique used by Navy Seals to calm down the nervous system. Basically it’s exhaling to a count of 4, holding your lungs empty for a count of 4, inhaling for a count of 4, then holding the air in your lungs for a count of 4 before exhaling and repeating the whole cycle over again…


You share your bed with?
When I was a student in New York, I lived with my aunt and uncle who had a boxer that immediately became my best friend and would sleep in my bed curled up in the bend of my knees. It was the most wonderful way to wake up on freezing winter mornings—often with snow storms raging outside—with this warm beast next to me like a giant, living hot water bottle! Sadly, I’m not able to have a dog of my own right now, but someday I hope to.


Some of your best bedroom memories?
The ones that would be appropriate to share here are mainly from hotel stays. 

“Hotels that focus on little details like remembering your pillow preferences from past stays. Placing a small cotton ball with essential oil under your pillow at night. Neatly tying up your charger cables. Putting a bookmark in your book. Leaving a case for your glasses…”

A dreamy weekend morning?
Lazing in bed reading or watching TV until brunch time.


 Image courtesy (L): photograph above couch - Sunhil Sippy, Denzil Sequeira

Dos and don'ts when making your bed?
I ALWAYS make my own bed as soon as I get out of it. Even when I know my staff is going to re-do it later on. I even make my own bed in a hotel. I just hate the sight of an unmade bed. Often, in hotels, I have to mess up my bed again before leaving the room because, in the past, housekeeping staff have not serviced the room thinking someone else had already been in and done it.

“I like a simple bed. “Luxurious monastery” is my preferred aesthetic.”

No decorative pillows or throws. All-white, cotton linens — crisp and ironed. Four pillows, stacked in pairs and a soft comforter or duvet that has a bit of weight, so it feels like you have an unconscious polar bear lying on top of you! And, of course, everything pulled and tucked so tight and neat, it would make an army drill sergeant proud.

I’ve been in lockdown sans help doing my own housekeeping and, I have to say, I have a whole new respect for my staff. The first time I had to change my duvet cover it took me about 40 minutes and was like wrestling an alligator!


Favourite nightcap?
Moon Milk. Here’s the recipe I use.


Banner image courtesy of GQ India Archives.