Browsing through my emails on a Sunday afternoon, I stumbled upon an email with a subject line that read as, ‘Virat Kohli Alert: Interaction Opportunity <> Kamiya Jani | Curly Tales’. Even before I could open the email, I decided to refresh the page just to be sure of what I was reading. But nothing changed. I opened it with my fingers crossed hoping that it’s not spam, a joke or a fan/follower email pinning his hopes on me and asking me to do this. Guess what, none of the above. It was his team that had reached out to me for an exclusive interview for the launch of his new restaurant. I mean, WHAT!?!?
The email mentioned if I was interested in doing this. Hell, YES! I instantly replied with an affirmative answer and soon realized that, shucks – this is happening in Delhi and not Mumbai! Travelling during the festive season especially during my daughter’s Diwali vacations can be a tough choice. I told my 6-year-old, I might have to go to Delhi to meet Virat Kohli. She seemed more excited than me and said, “Mamma, you are so lucky. That’s not fair!” I figured that I had to do this to give her some boasting rights as she grows up! She is a BIG cricket & Virat fan. If he can have an impact on a 6-year-old, I can’t even imagine the kind of influence he has on grown-ups.
Flying From Mumbai To Delhi
Cut to my flight to Delhi, two days before the interview. I chose to come two days prior for two reasons –
- To meet the team at Curly Tales Delhi who I have been doing video calls with for last 6 months.
- To ensure that the set up for the shoot is on point.
I land at 1 pm and instantly got busy on a conference call with the client till I reached my hotel at Aerocity, Delhi. Everything around was so hazy and it seemed as if it’s the fog but no, it was smog. I had only heard of Delhi’s worsening pollution levels so far but this is the first time I experienced it.
Thank God for Andaz Delhi for giving me respite from Delhi smog into its plush setting. The interiors are quirky, the rooms are quiet and the restaurants serve delicious food. A perfect place to set my base as I prep for the interview.
I was enjoying my experience of being with myself so much that I didn’t want to spoil it by checking Instagram, emails or WhatsApp messages. Until, my colleague from Delhi called me late in the evening to tell me that the interview with Virat Kohli had been cancelled.
The Interview Has Been Cancelled
My heart sank. I was disappointed as to why wasn’t I informed about it earlier. I opened my WhatsApp to message the manager and express my displeasure. Well, I realised that he had sent me a message at 12:30 in the afternoon when I was in the flight stating that the interview had been cancelled. I realised that I never checked my phone after landing as I was occupied by what was happening around me. I couldn’t hold back from calling him and asking him the reason.
He mentioned that due to security reasons, we have to cancel. I looked up online to verify the news and yes, it was true! I wanted to cry – not only because I lost the chance to meet him but also it seemed like a quite a waste to leave so many things midway in my home city. I was terribly upset but thought of looking at return flight options instead. I suddenly realised I had another reason to come to Delhi. So let me spend some time with the team who work quite passionately for the company I founded. I decided to stay back.
Same night, paranoia started setting in. Something similar to what a person goes through break up and are unable to come to terms with the current situation. I wouldn’t stop messaging the manager and ask if there was any chance of this happening. Somewhere my messages reached Virat Kohli and in an hour, I got the message back, “Hey Kamiya, it worked out. The activity is on. See you on Friday.” It was as if my whole world had turned upside down. I stared at this message for longer than I did to the first email. But it wasn’t really the excitement as I was now mentally prepared that it could be cancelled anytime.
Breaking hearts TWICE is never a good thing
I decided to keep this information to myself. My team was disappointed too, but I chose to keep it that way and didn’t update them on the development.
I had a great time meeting the enthusiastic team wanting to do so much for their passion for food, travel & Curly Tales. We went to Foxtrot in Cyberhub to chill over dinner, drinks & Halloween. I messaged Virat’s team again if the interview is on for real and they confirmed saying yes it was. I had to tell my team to be prepared. But like me, they had learnt to keep the excitement in check.
The Day Of The Interview
We were asked to be there at One8Commune at Aerocity in New Delhi, which is Virat’s brand new restaurant at 12 noon. While we were on time but I assumed that like most other celebrities he would also come late. (PS: I waited for 6 hours for a 3-minute interaction with Salman Khan.)
There were kids from NGO CRY who were meant to have a meal with Virat. I could sense so much love & excitement from their side. I was only hoping that the wait isn’t too long for them to lose all the enthusiasm. And well, it wasn’t. Virat arrived at 12:20 pm.
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It's Sunday! And guess with who our CTO @kamiya_jani is brunching with! OMG its @virat.kohli We are enjoying a chill afternoon over Dimsums & superfood salad at his new restaurant @one8.commune ! We talk about his diet, chole bature cravings, love for rajma chawal and his favorite travel destination. What are you most excited to know about? Video coming up soon on @curly.tales Stay Tuned!! . . . #viratkohli #sundaybrunch #one8commune #curlytalesfood #curlytales #kamiyajani #virat #dimsums #cricket #bollywood #interview #foodtales #foodporn #viratbirthday
Sporting a black puma t-shirt, blue jeans folded and white sneakers – he looked relaxed and very handsome. When was the last time we had a cricketer as good-looking as him? To be honest, I always thought of him as a player who represents India and makes every Indian proud. But it was the first time I saw him and thought – “Wow, he is quite good-looking.” I know it should be vice versa but I am just being honest.
I was now finally EXCITED & a tad bit NERVOUS. I am legit going to talk to biggest icon of India, the most followed on social media & the best batsman in the world – Virat Kohli.
Just Before The Interview
Ten minutes after his arrival, I was told to mic up to chat with him for an exclusive interaction. I figured it was just me and one more TV anchor who were selected for this exclusive interview over lunch with Virat. The manager (who is now officially, my bestie) came with the do’s & dont’s. “No questions about personal life, Anushka Sharma or cricket. Only about food, ok?” I said to him, “That’s what I care about – his food & travel preferences”. He smiled and said, “I know. That’s why we chose you for this.” I felt proud to know that my identity as a food & travel blogger has finally been established and they thought of me for this interaction.
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Still trying to figure – WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!? Sunday Brunching with @virat.kohli Matlab #HaddHiHogayi I spoke to this Punjabi Dilli Da Munda who loves chole bature from Rajouri garden! BEST. INTERVIEW. EVER!! #ViratKohli #CurlyTales #SundayBrunchWithCurlyTales #SundayBrunch
Sunday Brunch With Virat Kohli
The manager introduced me to Virat as one of India’s most popular food &travel blogger, Kamiya from Curly Tales #ProudMoment. I finally had an eye contact and a handshake with him. I told him a bit about Curly Tales and congratulated him for the launch of his new restaurant while the mics were being tested.
He mentioned that he is originally a Delhi boy but is so disheartened by the pollution around. He was warm, welcoming and a perfect host. He called for some of his favourite food dishes for me to sample and then we started our conversation. A fun whirlwind conversation with giggles, Punjabi slangs, food obsessions, travel preferences et al.
And let me tell you, he was the one to first talk about Anushka and not me! I was given 10 minutes for this interaction but we chatted for more than 20 minutes without even realising. Watch the ‘Sunday Brunch With Virat Kohli’ on Curly Tales YouTube Channel coming up soon. Subscribe to it, right away and be notified as soon as its live! All I can say is that – it was the best interview of my life.
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That's how happy I was after the best interview of my life! Everyday I learn so much from my job. I remember feeling quite blah after the Salman Khan interview but @virat.kohli totally made up for it. Thank you God for these amazing opportunities! . . . #SundayBrunchWithCurlyTales #sundaybrunch #viratkohli #interview #virat #cricket