We all know Sushmita Sen as a highly individualistic and “intelligently beautiful” woman. She is always self assured and appears to know her mind. Roles for her in Bollywood have been written specially, and not surprisingly so, since she is a woman with a lot of substance. As a former Miss Universe, who has acted in more than 30 films, she is a non conformist, who has made life choices that people like you and me can only talk of. To her credit, she has managed to be her own person, in a hugely fickle filmi environment. Here, with hindustantimes.com she candidly allows us to unravel her travel psyche in a style that is typically her. Excerpts from the interview:
Where was your last holiday and what did you most enjoy during the trip?
Dubai where most of time I was shopping, mall crawling, sampling food, attending a Teisto concert at the World Trade Centre and lounging by the sea side at Palm Jumeirah. I was happily busy.
What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
One that allows direct flights, hopefully not more than 8 hours at a time and an itinerary that has a judicious mix of different places. Whether it is Europe, Asia or America, I like to go to one place followed by the other. The physical part of the travel must be minimal and I would rather have my travel agent plan the routing in a minimalistic way. I am very spoilt and want my travel to be smooth and peaceful. I don’t like to rough it out and I certainly do not fancy the idea of backpacking.
What are the kind of places you just don't want to go to?
While there is nothing like “not wanting to go to X or Y place”, I definitely do not like to go to destinations that are heavily populated and polluted and which do not have any particular scenic appeal. Also, as much as I love nature, I do not particularly like staying away from civilisation for too long. When that happens, I get restless and impatient. I thrive in places where there are different kinds of people and energies that can go into creating a very cosmopolitan kind of space.
What do you do when on holiday?
Lots of things. Since I am not really the Museum type, I make a dash for the beaches or the mountains, depending on where I am. I love para sailing, taking strolls, indulging in water sports, hanging out in touristy places, especially night markets. Some of the places where I enjoy all this, are Venice and Florence. Europe fascinates me also, because here you actually do not mind seeing people on the streets, people in the cafeterias, people appreciating so all the art that is around them and faces that denote a certain kind of contented happiness.
As a child what are your memories of travel and any lasting memories\impressions?
I didn’t get out of India till I was 15 years old, and I went to Malaysia with my father for an exhibition. And after that international visit, the next time I stepped on foreign shores was for the Miss. Universe pageant at the age of 18. Since then I have been on a plane my entire life. But before that , we did a South India tour with my mothers’ and fathers’ sides of the family. We were 26 of us and we went to Trivandrum, Kanyakumari and the rest of southern India. That remains one of my most special travel memory. We used to sleep in a dormitory in one common big room with 26 beds and we travelled by train all over. I can still visualise us singing, dancing and enjoying every bit of the journey.
Places that have left a deep impact on you, that touched your core and why?
Columbia because it is seeped in history, cars are not allowed to drive into those pathways, there are people on foot walking, poodle streets and bricked walls - very my kind of space. I like the idea of churches by the beach and some of the other places that have stayed with me include Istanbul, Capetown and Lebanon.t
For the eccentric, non- conformist traveller, which are the best places to go to worldwide and why?
Go to any of the Espana countries or the carnival in February to Rio de Janeiro; New Orleans; Las Brisas in Mexico; Caracas Venezuela or any of the South American countries
In India, my suggestion would be Pondicherry, Goa and Manali.
Who decides where you will go for your next holiday
Mostly my daughter, Renee who has a globe on her table. Her travel decisions are also based on places her friends have visited and have some great experiences.
5 places you want to visit
Europe is the only place I still haven’t seen completely. Others on my wish list are Ibiza, Capri, the entire belt from Portugal to Romania, France, Spain, Poland, Germany, Uzbekistan, Scandinavian countries and all the way to Russia. I
Travel to me is: Romancing one’s Liberation
My next weekend destination will be: London
The most exotic locations I have ever seen: Bali Indonesia, Egypt, Namibia and an opening of an Island in Maldives
My favourite adventure sports: Jet skiing and biking.
My ideal travel companions: My daughters, Renee and Alisah
My most embarrassing travel moment: Losing my passport, credit cards and all documents at the Athens airport. I had a tough time proving my identity.
Place with maximum repeat value: London
5 must-carry items that are part of my travel kit: Toiletry bags, extra locks, Bose speakers, passport/credit card pouch and mobile phone
Pratishtha, is a young Delhi-based freelance entertainment writer who loves getting under the skin of celebrities, to know what makes them tick.