Katrina Kaif's most memorable trip at 17

At 17, I made the sudden decision to come to India in search of a career. I was studying engineering in London at that time, but my heart wasn't in it. I wanted to give modelling and the glamour industry a shot.

Once I'd made up my mind, everything was a blur till I landed in Mumbai. I wasn't anxious or apprehensive about being in a new country as it was like an adventure to me, plus I arrived with my eldest sister Christine. Initially, I did feel slightly overwhelmed - Mumbai is a bustling city, full of energy. We rented a small apartment in Bandra and I met photographer Farrokh Chothia. There was no pressure to succeed at that point, so I'd go for auditions and find myself auditioning with 50 other models. That year shaped what happened in my life.

I met many wonderful people then, like designers Rocky S and Ana Singh, some of whom I still call friends today. It was an important year of discovery in my life - my 17th year. I was in love with Mumbai and felt a sense of belonging here. I thought maybe it was because of my Indian heritage (my father being Indian). Till then, I hadn't been in touch with him much as my father wasn't around too much when I was living in London.

My mom never advised me against modelling or joining the film industry. She just wanted me to be happy. Of course, she was concerned about my safety when I was living alone in Mumbai, so often she would fly down to be with me.

I used to eat a lot then. I wasn't fat, but definitely heavier than I am now. I remember eating homemade chicken curry, especially dal-rice, as it was tasty and inexpensive. It was an exciting phase for me. After Christine left, mom came down for a little bit. I also met Reshma Shetty then, who is my brand manager today. At that time, she and photographer Atul Kasbekar were running a company together. Alison Kanuga was a model coordinator and took me under her wing. It was then that I met Alvira Agnihotri - at an exercise studio. I was struggling to do some steps on an exercise machine facing the wrong direction and Alvira helped me through it. That broke the ice. I met Salman Khan a year later and things changed forever.

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