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Looking ahead at all times

From a snobbish Menaka Bose of `Kasauti zindagi ki' to her new association with sports events, she takes on life with verve. Meet Ruby K Bhatia who talks about her life, career and more during a tête-à-tête recently.

THE FIRST impression that strikes you is her zest for life apart from a glowing complexion. "It's make up. But seriously, one has to look good in this field. I follow a half hour workout that packs in walking, jogging, stretches and abs. At the moment I also do the sheershaasan. It gives you a rush. It's good to see fit people around," says Ruby K. Bhatia in her new sporty anchor avatar at the WTA Indian Open 2003. "Ruby Krishna has been my childhood name. And when numerologist Sanjay Jumaani wanted to change my name, I opted for the K instead of having my name going Rooby dooby doo," she says.

And as a probable K effect, her career has shown a progressive trend — acting the Menaka Bose of Kasauti zindagi ki to doing feature films. "I play myself in Sooraj Barjatiyas' Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor starrer, Main prem ki diwani hoon where Javed Jaffrey and I host a 15-20 minute game show as part of an important party sequence in the film," says Ruby. And then there is her new affinity to sports events.

"Pitch, wicket and stump, I had to get my cricket knowledge in place. I tried to put in the humour but if people did not like it... ," she laughs it off, sharing her experiences in Colombo of the ICC Champions Trophy. That happiness comes naturally to her is evident as one takes note of her life's journey since she became Miss India Canada in 1993. Ruby came to India in 1994 and joined as the in-house VJ for Channel V before branching off to acting. "I played the cop in the thriller Yeh hai raaz on STAR TV," she says. This apart, her TVCs for Tata Tea and Colgate were popular, her other shows being Kinetic Mega Show, which had Raveena Tandon, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dikshit and other celebrities, Hello Oh la la - a comedy countdown show and a Punjabi talk show.

On the personal front, was the phase when Nitin Bali happened to her. "He was my first boyfriend and I was bent on marrying him. We were married for two and a half years and subsequently parted ways. We were looking in different directions unfortunately. Well, the four years of separation neutralised it. I am happy and in control of my life," says Ruby.

The episode did not dampen her spirits. "There are guys who are boyfriend material and others who are husband material. I am looking for the right kind of a guy -- one who is responsible," she says. Career wise, "the adulation is fine -- people give you certain familiar warmth as you are seen on television. But one thing that bothers me is the mood swings associated with the glamour industry. It is hard to be normal when people around you are eccentric and throw starry tantrums. It takes real efforts not to be arrogant," she says. Ruby on the contrary is involved with societal causes in the Crusade Against Tobacco (CAT), where 150 celebrities who are teetotallers have come together to educate the college students about the ill effects of smoking. "Cancer is not cool is what we try to promote with the young students," she says.

At the moment, with parents in Canada and shuttling to Mumbai back to work, it is a hectic life, and there have been adjustments. "My first impression was that there is no law and order and that people get away with anything. Health wise, I had malaria and typhoid then, now I am careful with my food. I avoid deep fried food, chocolates and soft drinks. It is plain ghar ka khana for me. Now I am very much an Indian. People have accepted me and I am feeling at home. Now I feel like a foreigner when I travel abroad," she says.

About the city, "Hyderabad is a leading city known for technology, entertainment — you have the Ramoji Film City here, and now sports," she says. And she did win the hearts of the spectators at the courts for sure.


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