A for Aishwarya
"Theoretically, Aishwarya means prosperity. But what my parents told me as a child was very beautiful. By the dictionary, prosperity would have a materialistic meaning. If you go by Sanskrit, aishwarya comes from eashwari, the prosperity of personhood. You have to be a guneshwari. It's not the aishwarya in terms of riches, fame, glamour and wealth. Aishwarya means, as my parents told me, to be rich in values, in traits, in whatever that makes you what you are."
B for Blessed
"I truly believe that I am blessed. I couldn't have asked for more and I thank God for this. I do feel that He is smiling upon me. More than anything else, He's there. I can feel it."
C for Cinema
"It's my life right now. I never thought I'd come this way, but I'm glad life careened in this direction and brought me to this wonderful world of films. It's magical. It's addictive. I don't come from a family that belonged here, but now that life has brought me here, I'm comfortable. I feel at home. So I guess this is where I was meant to be right now. I don't know about tomorrow because I don't think that far. I live today for what it is. Although cinema is something that I really cherish and will always cherish any time, anywhere."
D for Dreams
"Dreams are what make life complete and magical. I've always been a dreamer, quite a daydreamer. I've always loved dreaming. It's something I have held on to. It's something to look forward to. Dreams don't let your mind stagnate. I don't look at life through rose-tinted glasses but dreaming preserves the magic of life. One should dream and then work toward making them come true. Quite a few of my dreams have come true."
E for Energy
"This is one of the most vital things for me today. I like to be surrounded by people who're energetic and have this zest for life. I appreciate and admire such people. It's that sheer spirit, the energy, which keeps me going."
F for Food
"I just love food. How could I miss chocolates when we talked of C? So, I'll make up by talking about F for Food. I'm a complete chocoholic. I've a major sweet tooth and I love all kinds of food. I go through phases of bingeing and then quantumising. I've been lucky so far that my passion for food does not show on me. I cannot dream of diets. I'd probably agree with the discipline. I understand that what goes in will eventually show. But dieting and denial, I don't believe in. I cannot cut things out of life completely. I don't see the need for it."
G for God
"God and I share a very interesting relationship. As a child, one grows up with certain religious rituals and practices. One holds fixed meanings. Then I started forming a relationship of my own. I felt that God was within us and started talking to the God inside me. Then I discovered that I could really converse with God. I think my relationship with God today is far more real as opposed to all the rituals I grew up on, though I don't disbelieve in them. But a personal relationship is far more intense, much deeper and is all about communicating with oneself. I cherish this personal communication with God, my best friend, but I also enjoy poojas, festivals, rituals and temples. I don't look at them as escapism. I look at them as sometimes festive, sometimes peaceful."
H for Home
"Home is my little transit area these days. The other H word, which unfortunately exists, and I wish it didn't, is Hatred. It's too negative, just not worth it. It probably goes hand-in-glove with the other H word, Hypocrisy. There's also Honesty, one of the most important words in life. I can honestly say that I genuinely don't hate anybody in this world. Nobody's worth it. H is also for Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. You might say it was the turning point of my career. But as an actress, the transformation happened much before that. There was a sudden change in me. I got into discussions, began sitting with Sanjay over the script and I really started enjoying my work. I started discussing the character, thinking of the look, the mannerisms, traits, clothes. I became obsessed. Sanjay and I had this great tuning. I even went and sat with them during the editing. We worked as a team. It was a beautiful experience. I completely loved playing Nandini."
I for I, me, myself
"This is something I honestly don't believe in. I've never deemed it necessary to be narcissistic. If your world revolves around yourself, it is a very small world you live in."
J for Jinx
"It's a ridiculous word that exists in this industry. It's all in the head. Considering most of them will go through this phase in life, it's a ridiculous four-letter term that sticks around and people here play "pass the parcel" with it. Fortunately, it didn't visit me. It's an unfortunate term that I've seen messing up a lot of my colleagues. It's quite disturbing to watch that happen. I quite despise the word."
K for Kissing scenes
"I'm not comfortable with the idea of doing a kissing scene. I haven't been asked by anyone to do a kissing scene, but right now, I would probably say 'no'. The kiss in Taal was hardly a kiss and between us, we knew it was a cheat. The kind of films we make don't demand it."
L for Love
"I very much believe in love. I believe in all its manifestations. And I'd like to believe in it because it is such a fulfilling, honest, life-giving force. Life, love, laughter -- it's these factors that make you sail through life. I don't believe in love at first sight. I'm probably too practical and perceptive to believe in love and I'd feel vacant without that particular sentiment in my life."
M for Mother
"My best friend. Moods, another good friend. But I don't let that get in my way. I think temperament would be a better word. I do have temperaments and moods and I feel complete with them. M is also for Money, which is important. Money is a kind of security for the life ahead, but it's not the most vital factor in my life. To use another M word, I'm not very materialistic. My wants have always been minimal. I'm not crazy about clothes or jewellery, cars or props in the house or the latest gizmos in the market."
N for Natter
"Since I left it out of G for Gossip, let me say it. I hate natter. Harmless nattering with friends is fine. But the other N word, 'negativity', negative natter, I simply don't encourage or indulge in."
O for Ostrich mentality
"I'd hate to believe that I have it. I'd deny it even to myself. But a lot of people exhibit it. It's a consistent human trait. I'd like to go with the other O word. Optimism. I am definitely a very optimistic person. I always try and look at the positive side of anything. I give a person 10 chances and I'm rarely judgmental."
P for People
"I genuinely like people. I'm a people's person. I believe I'm 'perceptive', very 'playful'. If I enjoy the company of the people I'm with, I can also be a "prankster". Contrary to the image I have, I'm not completely saintly. I'm not a sinner but I like being naughty too. I like keeping the child in me alive."
Q for Questions
"I don't like too many of them! I don't completely elude questions. I answer them, but I don't believe I'm answerable. There are many questions that put me off. Initially, what would put me off were the usual questions about my being cold or pretentious, the "who's the real you" question. My theory is, form your own opinion and write it. I'm not about to analyse myself for anybody."
R for Reality
"I'll never lose touch with it and it's all about one's attitude towards life. When I joined films, people told me, 'Now that you'll be a star, don't change, okay?' And I'm sure I'm still the girl I was before I became an actress."
S for Sleep
"I'm quite an owl, the wise one hopefully. I'm such an insomniac. It's probably the constantly ticking mind. The work pattern keeps you going day and night. But even on the rare day off, I don't see myself sleeping early. I don't seem to get enough of sleep, ever."
T for Talkative
"I'm just very talkative. T is also for Taal. I loved playing Mansi. From the feedback I've got after Taal and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, I've finally been recognised as an actress."
U for Unique
"I'd like to be a unique individual. When people ask me who my ideal is, I always say that I admire a lot of people, but I have never held anyone as a role model. Irrespective of whether one is famous or not, everybody has a unique story to tell."
V for Vibes
"I believe in vibes because that provides the initial thread to the formation of a link-up with people. Versatility, variety and vivacity are what I'd like as my marks. I wouldn't like life to be boring and routine."
W for Woman
"I'd like to remain a child-woman. There's a child in me, very alive. At the same time, I have always been beyond my years. I like this combination. I'd like to keep both sides alive. I wouldn't want to kill the child in me, but I like the maturity too. I like depth. It was there very early in my life."
X for X-ray
"I believe I have X-ray vision, but I don't like the idea of other people having that vision over me. I think x-ray vision has to do with being perceptive. I go by instinct and I rarely go wrong."
Y for Young
"It goes along with age, which I believe is a state of mind. It's not chronological age that matters. It's the youthful spirit, the vibrance that measures the length of your life. For me, being young is about the spirit, not about face-lifts."
Z for Zenith
"I don't believe it exists. For me, it is infinite. That's what keeps the search on forever. I want to consistently travel through life till I never know when I've reached the destination. That's what keeps me going, keeps me brimming with life all the time."
- Aishwarya Rai