To get over the lockdown blues, Chandigarh girl Taranjit Kaur has a four-step advice, “Hug your pet for five minutes. Still feeling sad? Listen to your favourite songs for half-an-hour. If you still can’t get rid of what’s depressing you, watch a good movie. And if nothing works, food will help you get over it. I believe my strongest Punjabi trait would be my love for food. Not only I like to eat but I enjoy hosting people and making them eat. In Mumbai, my friends never come to my house with their stomach full and never leave with an empty belly.”
Besides food, Taranjit turned to philanthropy and writing to fight the lockdown blues. An ardent believer of giving back to society, she says, “I was shooting with Anup Soni in Delhi for a movie in which I play the lead, and then the lockdown was announced. We rushed back to Mumbai. It started with helping those who lost their livelihood in my surroundings, starting from maids to security guards, and then it took a different turn when I met a few like-minded people and we started this initiative called Pads-Squad to help women living in the slums.”
Today, there are many volunteers working in 24 cities of India. People have contributed in this initiative by ordering sanitary pads online to be given to those who cannot afford it. “When we started this, my house was full of sanitary napkins. Now, in order to combat the menstrual waste, our focus is on reusable cloth pads,” she adds.
Coming from a family of artists and poets, she got to explore the writer in her during the lockdown. And as soon as the lockdown was lifted, she captured her poems on a camera. She plans to release one each month. About the subjects that interest her, Taranjit says, “My first poem was on terrorism, which I wrote at the age of 10. As I grew up, women empowerment and women-related issues caught my attention.” Punjabi writers Amrita Pritam and Shiv Kumar Batalvi are her favourite.
Trained by theatre-person Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry, Taranjit has a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Panjab University. She started her career in 2012 with a short film. Her English film debut came soon after with the British film Mouth Of Hell. She was seen in Airlift, Ankhon Dekhi, Poppy and Murder on the Road to Kathmandu.
She praises Chandigarh for its clean roads, but criticises the gedi culture which has been accepted here. She says, “After staying in Mumbai where the streets are safe for women, it comes as a surprise how one still has to think twice to venture out at night in North India. Eve-teasing should not be accepted.”
Her favourite place is Sukhna Lake, for it evokes memories of those family outings in her childhood. She adds, “I also miss the Rock Garden, where we used to rehearse and stage plays at the open air theatre.”