It is 9.30 pm and Ananya Birla sips on a cappuccino at a quiet corner of Willingdon Sports Club in Mumbai. At 24, the eldest daughter of industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and his entrepreneur wife Neerja is a star in her own right. She is a musical phenomenon (the first Indian artist with an English language single to go platinum), an entrepreneur running her micro-finance tech company Svatantra Microfin, and working with her mother to bolster her mental health awareness initiative, Mpower.
A vegetarian by choice, she builds stamina for her stage shows across the world. “I work out one-and-a-half hours a day, five times a week to strengthen my muscles and increase tone. My session has a mix of boot camp, sometimes quite intensive training.”
Ananya sings while running on the treadmill. “It is tough, but I control my breath, which helps me when I perform live on stage.” She has never followed any diet, even while she was studying at Oxford University.
She credits her mother Neerja for her healthy eating habits. “Junk food was never allowed at home, and personally too, there is no love for aerated drinks.” While she celebrates womanhood with her latest single ‘Unstoppable’, her dream is to bring home a Grammy.