I travel a lot, for work but also for pleasure. I find it easy to blend with a variety of people which has helped me in my work as well, as I have landed significantly different roles in all the films that I have done so far. Although my native language is Marathi, I feel comfortable with all languages and had also been approached recently for a Mexican film. My make-up artist often jokes that if I can apply enough paint, I can even land a role in an African film.
Like the projects I choose at work, I travel only to fulfill two specific needs – the place offers a unique experience and/or I need to travel with someone I appreciate. Among the recent trips that I have taken include visits to England, Scotland, Belgium, Egypt, France, Germany and Hungary. Back home, I am absolutely in love with the Himalayas. I like to trek to the many mysteries that the mountains hold within their fold. The beginner’s trek to Valley of Flowers was fun and when I got to know that there is a higher and more scenic trek route above the Valley, I headed up to Hemkund. The fun in these treks is that my husband and I get quality time to spend doing what we both love. We like to travel together whenever we can and explore the destinations with each other.
Earlier this year, in June, I spent two weeks with only Rs. 30,000 for an incredible journey through the Himalayas from New Delhi. I headed to Ranikhet from Delhi, then to Kasauni, Govindghat, Gangharia and Badrinath. On the way back, I stopped to chill at Rishikesh and found it to be very interesting. The amount that I have mentioned includes my airfare from Mumbai to New Delhi. I am really good at cheap travel and I love to take the time to chart out the cheapest holidays for my family and friends. It’s my thing, you know. I don’t mind luxurious travel, as long as someone else is paying for it. When I pay for travel, I like to stick to the basic, no-frills experience.
I really like to walk and my greatest such adventure was in Kolkata. You know, some of the most incredible people I have met have a connection to this city. It was through some friends that I met an anthropologist who teaches at Yale University and loves Kolkata. He took me on a walking exploration of the City of Joy, from the northern fringe to the southern suburb. It was a treat! I was in Kolkata at the time for two-and-a-half months for a shoot schedule and the experience of walking through the old lanes with crumbling buildings, still so full of life, photographing old women and young children and talking over endless cups of “cha”, was something I now recommend to all my friends. I saw a whole new side of the city that lives by the river, in houses that have not seen the light of day in years… there’s a musky smell that I now relate to Kolkata. I love sweets and I think that made my visit to Kolkata even more special. My top picks in sweets from Kolkata is Mithai from the shop called Mithai and those incomparable lemon tarts from Cookie Jar.
[Originally published in Terrascape]
– As told to Susmita Mukherjee