“I have always felt that life is a solitary journey, that we are each on a train, riding through our hours, our days, our years. We get on alone, we leave alone, and the decisions we make as we travel on the train are our responsibility alone.”
A remarkable life story rooted in two different worlds, Unfinished offers insights into Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s childhood in India; her formative teenage years in the United States; and her return to India, where against all odds as a newcomer to the pageant world, she won the national and international beauty competitions that launched her global acting career. Whether reflecting on her nomadic early years or the challenges she has faced as she has doggedly pursued her calling, Priyanka shares her challenges and triumphs with warmth and honesty. The result is a book that is philosophical, sassy, inspiring, bold, and rebellious. Just like the author herself.
From her dual-continent twenty-year-long career as an actor and producer to her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, from losing her beloved father to cancer to marrying Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s story will inspire a generation around the world to gather their courage, embrace their ambition, and commit to the hard work of following their dreams.
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|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I’m sitting in a meditative pose. In Sanskrit it’s called Sukhasana, or “Happy Pose.” Spine straight, shins crossed, shoulders pulled back, and chest pulled upward, I’m taking slow, focused breaths to bring all my attention to my center. The slow breathing calms my mind so that I can now tackle life’s challenges.
I am, in reality, likely sitting on the set of my latest film project, or on a plane, or slumped in a hair and makeup chair. My breathing is erratic from the four espresso shots I’ve inhaled in the past half hour while simultaneously wolfing down some form of comfort food that’s probably not the healthiest of options. (Doritos, anyone?) My overbooked schedule glares at me with seventeen emails that are marked Urgent! Requires Immediate Attention! And my phone is buzzing like a bumblebee on ecstasy. I am running on IST (Indian Stretchable Time)—I’m late—and I am in no frame of mind to make sense of my day, let alone my life.
How is this possible when I come from mystical India, the land of yoga, meditation, the Bhagavad Gita, and one of the most learned civilizations of the world? Why am I unable to invoke the infinite wisdom of my ancestors to calm my raging mind when so many people around the world have embraced the teachings of my great country and managed to incorporate its lessons of peace, love, and happiness quite effectively into their lives?
Well, I am a product of traditional India and its ancient wisdom, and modern India and its urban bustle. My upbringing was always an amalgamation of the two Indias, and, just as much, of East and West. My mom was a fan of Elvis and the Doors; my dad listened to Mohammed Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. My mom loves London, theater, art, and nightlife; my dad loved taking road trips through our subcontinent and sampling the street food at every opportunity. I lived in small towns in northern India for much of my childhood, and I also lived in the United States for three years in my teens.
Traditional and modern. East and West. There wasn’t necessarily a plan to raise me as a blend of those influences, but here I am, someone who calls both Mumbai and Los Angeles home, who works comfortably in India, America, and plenty of countries in between, and whose style and passion reflect that global mindset. The cultural mash-up invigorates me, is important to me, because I believe we can all learn from one another. That we all need to learn from one another.
Cue my husband, Nick. As I embark on this new chapter of life with him, it seems like a good time to take stock. It’s probably the first time as an adult that I’ve felt the desire to look back and reflect on how I’ve gotten to this moment. The first time since my life took a huge, crazy turn more than twenty years ago and I became a public person. Part of this desire to be introspective comes with maturity, no doubt. And I think it’s safe to say that part of it came along with Nick, a mature, introspective individual if ever there was one.
Looking back, I remember how I felt as my seventeen-year-old self, a small-town girl who exploded into India’s awareness back in January of 2000 when I was crowned Miss India World. I had no idea what to do with this unexpected widespread attention or how to prepare for what was next—representing my country on the global stage in the Miss World pageant. My family had no idea, either, because we weren’t a “pageant” family or an “entertainment” family. Far from it; my parents were both doctors. With their love, support, and encouragement, I decided that I would do my best to learn from each new situation I found myself in, to throw myself into it wholeheartedly and work as hard as I knew how. Sink or swim. And if there was a choice, I was always going to do my damnedest to swim. Admittedly, sometimes my strategy has been flawed or I’ve haven’t learned fast enough, but whatever my fail-ures, they haven’t been for lack of effort.
I have always felt that life is a solitary journey, that we are each on a train, riding through our hours, our days, our years. We get on alone, we leave alone, and the decisions we make as we travel on the train are our responsibility alone. Along the way, different people—the family we are born to and the family we choose, the friends we meet, those we come to love and who come to love us—get on and off the cars of our train. We are travelers, always moving, always in flux, and so are our fellow passengers. Our time riding together is fleeting, but it’s everything—because the time together is what brings us love, joy, connection.
Which is why I’m so grateful to be right here, right now, reflecting with you on my unfinished journey. I hope that whatever I have learned along the way, from fellow passengers, from my efforts and my own mistakes, can contribute to your journey, too. Because as I have discovered, if you’re willing to be a student of life, the possibilities are endless.