Aastha Atray Banan is a lady with many gorgeous feathers in her hat. She’s a journalist for Sunday Mid-Day, India’s second Mills and Boon writer, poetess and a singer. This 35-year-old Delhi-born, Bombay-based talent powerhouse has books such as His Monsoon Bride, Games Girls Play and Crave, and songs such as Pretty Boy and Heartbreak Girl under her repertoire.
What started Aastha’s romance with words? “I have always been a writer – since childhood! When I was a kid, I used to write Enid Blyton-esque novels about me and my friends going on adventures,” she reminisces. What’s her journey been like since then? Aastha says, “Eventually, I shifted towards writing about dysfunctional love. Then one day, Mills and Boon was having a contest, for which I submitted a short story. And I won! Since then, I’ve focused on putting more and more romance and chick-lit books out there”. As someone who spends literally every waking hour writing, we wonder if all this comes naturally to her. She responds, “The greatest challenge for a write is to ensure that they write every day. It’s a challenge to be disciplined. But I try to make sure that I write poetry every day”.
Aastha is a self-confessed creature of routine. Does this extend to her skincare regimen too? “I have combination skin, which requires quite the balance. Having at least a basic routine in place is important for me, as that’s the least I can do!” Aastha explains, “I wash my face with a cleanser every night before bedtime, and follow it up with a night cream. This is something I consider very important, and make sure I don’t miss”. What about the day time? Aastha elaborates, “The only thing I follow religiously every day before stepping out is to apply sunscreen. And I make sure I never wash my face with soap”. We get curious about her skincare products and cannot help but prod on her shopping process. She laughs, “I buy products on an impulse! However, I have been using The Body Shop for a while now. It works well for my skin, so I stick to it.” And what are the products she cannot live without? “That would be the Seaweed Sunscreen and Overnight Gel from The Body Shop!” she replies promptly.
Skincare products aside, every girl has her own secret weapon to great skin. What’s Aastha’s secret? “Yoga! It’s my biggest health hack. I wake up every morning and start my day with yoga. Apart from that, I’ve given up drinking aerated drinks and try to limit my alcohol consumption. These things have made a great difference to my skin!” she gushes.
What does a day in the life of this talent storehouse and wordsmith look like? She walks us through, “It’s fairly simple on most days. I get up. I do some yoga and listen to music. Then, I update my Instagram with some of my poetry. I write a bit before I head to work. After work, I either head out with work friends or my husband, or head straight home to Netflix and Chill! And then it’s time for bed”.
Aastha’s an eternal optimist and a complete romantic. It reflects in her beauty mantra too, “True beauty is about being genuinely happy!” she smiles.