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What do Coach Taylor, picking up an expensive dinner tab, my Hindu faith, a baby nurse, a ninth birthday party and a drifter in Silver Lake have in common? You’ll just have to find out in my new collection of essays dropping in ONE WEEK with @amazonpublishing and let’s just say it’s #NothingLikeIImagined.
Mindy Kaling does so much! She’s currently promoting her latest book, a collection of essays called Big Shot (Nothing Like I Imagined). She’s also the writer/producer/creator of Never Have I Ever, and she’s got lots of other writing work. On top of all that, she’s a single mom of a 2-year-old who was supposed to start preschool this fall. And then the pandemic happened, and Mindy has been in relative lockdown for seven months. To promote all of her projects, Mindy chatted with People Magazine about pandemic life, exercise, time with Katherine (who she calls “Kit”) and more. Some highlights:
Lockdown with Kit: “A lot of the stuff I thought was going to drive me crazy about being cooped up with a 2-year-old for seven months has actually bonded us really close together.” With a support team that includes her father, Avu (her mom, Swati, died of pancreatic cancer in 2012), and her best friend, actor B.J. Novak, 41, who’s Katherine’s godfather, Kaling, 41, feels lucky. ″I’m most grateful for the fact that I’m blessed enough to have the resources to help take care of my daughter, so I can work full-time at the job that I love.”
Kit is doing preschool at home: ″My child was supposed to start preschool this year. And we were so excited. She was going to go to this school that I love. Now I have the writers’ rooms filling up for two of my shows on Zoom, while I’m also leading my child through her day-long preschool. I’m so lucky because I have help. I’m at home all the time, and I don’t want to eat takeout every single night. I have to be a full-time single parent who has to make the money for this household. So it’s been challenging.″
How she’s been spending time in lockdown: ″Watching so much TV. And working in TV, I absolutely love TV. So for me, it’s like catching up on Succession and Rick and Morty. I always give myself about 90 minutes before I go to sleep just watching TV in my bedroom. I’ve also been going for pretty long walks around my neighborhood and getting to know my neighbors.”
She still gets on a treadmill 3-4 times a week: ″You know my whole philosophy with exercise is I tell myself I’m going to do it every day because inevitably I won’t be able to. But when I exercise, I jog very slowly and I try to do it for 30 minutes. I jog what is like probably a fast walk to an actually athletic person. It’s not like that has these major health benefits, but it has really good mental health benefits.″
Whether Kit is like Mindy: ″So far, no. She is not very much like me. I was a very shy, diffident kid who was really suspicious of people and new situations. And she is not at all. She’s very chatty. I remember even at 5 or 6, the idea of trick-or-treating was terrifying to me. So we took [Kit] last year and she had zero problem marching up to people’s houses and saying ‘trick-or-treat.’ Our temperaments are pretty different. Which has been a surprise, but I’m so happy for her that she’s not like that.”
She’s talked about that “slow jogging” thing before and I always find it a bit strange. I mean, why not just… walk? But it sounds like she is walking a lot now too. She’s talked before about moving into her forever-home before Kit was born, and how much she loves her neighborhood, so I imagine that’s been really nice for her, to just talk outside with Kit and have that time together. I’ve felt so bad for parents during the pandemic, but I imagine if your kids are really small and you don’t have to be on Zoom working all the time, it’s probably really nice to have this time with your kids.
Photos courtesy of Instagram.