My friendship with storyteller-actor Dhruv Sehgal began in Pune, sipping on Moushi's chai and eating vada pav outside college. This was solidified over the years courtesy DSP Black and lengthy discussions on cinema and poetry. Most people know him as the writer + boyfriend in the popular Netflix show Little Things, a show in which the character he plays is like a natural extension of the guy himself. I'm also proud of him as a friend after seeing advertisements on flights and huge hoardings in Bombay. You're legit, Dhruv! :D
As he ends the year collecting awards and working on new projects, Dhruv took out time to answer some questions for the interview series Goodbye, 2019:
The nicest thing you did for someone in 2019? A couple of months ago, my partner got off the phone and told me that the final portion of her childhood home was being sold off to a builder. Just as she was about to shed a tear, we heard a cat meowing outside our door. We opened it and just like that, Milk cake walked into our house as if it were her own, like she'd been living here for years. Since then, we have sort of adopted Milk Cake. She comes and goes as she pleases. In return, she gets healthy food, fresh water, toys and great company who are happy to scratch her at all times. Our love for Milk Cake has made us buy dog food for all the dogs in our society and also for her little kitten, Barfi. We also have bird feeders and are regularly visited by parrots and sparrows. For bachelors like us who are made to feel unwelcome by housing societies, the dogs and cats act like our family and jump at us and greet us with warmth. Well...the dog Bhola jumps at us anyway. Milk Cake just follows us home.
The book that helped you the most in 2019? Jhoothan by Omprakash Valmiki. I started this year wanting to understand the caste system. I read four-five books on it, and further expanded my knowledge thanks to a bunch of articles, podcasts, films etc. etc. Jhoothan opened my eyes to the horrors of caste and how it operates in our everyday reality.
The song you heard on loop this year?
Shades of Blue - Yo La Tengo
The film/TV show you fell head over heels in love with?
Your biggest accomplishment this year?
Plenty. The main ones were curbing my anxiety, and being able to achieve some level of balance between my work and personal life. Oh, and this was also the year when I read the most number of books.
Your big 2019 takeaway. There are other things that can make me happy besides work. Like poetry, for instance. Here's a poem I wrote for Milk Cake:
If Milk Cake knew how to ring the door bell,
What would our journey from the sofa to the door be like?
On a quiet afternoon if Milk Cake instead of it’s meow,
rang the bell then would we welcome her the same way as now?
Or will the moment feel like an appointment with a doctor?
But Milk Cake would never ring the door bell.
Not because the bell is too high for her
But because she is a cat, a cat that has its own way.
And as long as she is a cat,
A cat that meows and who doesn’t ring the doorbell like the neighbour, milkman or the watchman,
She is welcome to our house anytime of the day.
Who are you creative crushing on lately? Danielle van de Donk - she is a midfielder for the Arsenal Women's Football Team. A recent epiphany you've had? That some old people have figured out how to look for joy in things that will usually just pass by us. What’s your number one bucket list item for 2020? Any big plans/projects planned for the new year?Start a small kitchen garden, run a lot, cycle a lot, read more, and focus on being happy and not just productive.
Rate 2019 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being Totally Sucked 9 Thanks, Dhruvo! :) Good luck for the coming year.
Goodbye, 2019 is a conversation series with people who have inspired me this year.
Follow Dhruv's entertaining life and work here.