I was born and brought up in Sanatnagar. The most beautiful memories of my childhood are associated with Kashmir. At that time, the political situation in Kashmir was not as bad as it is today. I have fond memories of boating in the shikaras on the Dal Lake and chatting with my friends at our favourite joints.
My father is an IAS officer. I have two elder sisters and an elder brother. Both my sisters are doctors while my brother is working with Acer, a software company. I happen to be the youngest and the most pampered one in the family. As a child I was quite naughty but thanks to our extended family, I was always protected. My grandmother was the head of the family and she always came to my rescue when I was about to be spanked.
As a child I was a troublemaker and used to scream my lungs out. Initially, my neighbours would complain but soon they got used to my antics.
I was obese as a child. There was a time when my waistline was 38 inches. I used to sneak into the kitchen and gorge on mouthwatering mutton delicacies. When I was in class VI, my parents sent me to Lawrence School, Sanawar in Himachal Pradesh. Life at boarding school was fun. I was a prankster and with no one to monitor my moves, I sharpened my skills.
Once, just before the vacations, my friends and I decided to be adventurous. We sneaked into the rooms of the dormitory, painting the faces of those asleep. Only, instead of colours, we used unadulterated shoe polish. Imagine our excitement.
I was a bright student with a passion for sports. I loved playing cricket and football. I was in class X when I decided to lose weight. My physical education teacher, Mohit Khanna, inspired me to turn into a fitness freak. Within a year, under his guidance, I managed to get into shape. Meanwhile, I got interested in acting and took it up as a career. Though my stint in Bollywood was not so successful, lady luck showered her blessings on me when I tried my luck in television.
My message to all of you is to have fun and never give up.
As told to Shabina Akhtar