Ranvijay Singh Singha, actor, VJ, columnist, customising company owner and one of India's most visible television anchors with a sizeable fan following among the youth gets the maximum out of any situation, including travel, which is an integral part of his work schedule.
28-year old Singh was a participant and finalist in the first season of MTV Roadies in 2003 and subsequently went on to host it. He also became part of the judging panel along with Raghu Ram and Rajiv Lakshman. He has hosted MTV Stuntmania, MTV Force India The Fast and the Gorgeous and MTV Scooty Pep Teen Diva show. He has also made a foray into films. Some of his recent movies include Action Replayy and London Dreams.
He has found a calling that is close to his heart and is honest enough to say that had it been otherwise, he would have followed the family tradition and joined the Indian Army, to which his father and grandfather belonged. Being an 'Army' kid has shaped his personality and given him a world view that he would never have received as a civilian. In a candid tete-a-tete with hindustantimes.com, he shares his thoughts on travel and holidays with Aamit Khanna.
Q: Which is the last holiday you took and what were the highlights of the trip?
My first planned holiday in nine years, was to France this summer. A close friend was getting married and we all planned to get together in June and also get away from the sweltering heat. We travelled from Paris to Marseille and then to Barcelona and Amsterdam. Great food, fantastic outdoor and close friends were the perfect ingredients to make for a most memorable holiday.
Q: What are the things that you look for and pack in to your holiday schedule?
The plan is to always head to Delhi and be able to spend time with my parents. As a host of Stunt Mania and a judge of Roadies on MTV, I anyway get to travel a lot. Usually my holidays are post shoot and are extended stopovers. Once the travel plans are fixed I explore what the place has to offer, from my friends as well as the local people. I am a true roadie and I Iove adventure sports. Outdoor activities like rock climbing and river rafting are also an essential part of my holiday plans.
Q: What has been the most bizarre thing that you have eaten?
I have eaten almost everything that communities from unique cultures eat, raw snakes, cooked reptiles, scorpions, cockroaches and a lot more.
Q: Which is the place you would like to revisit?
As a judge for MTV Roadies I have had the opportunity to travel and scout a range of locations. As of now, Brasil and Kenya hold the highest repeat value for me. Brazil is a beautiful country and has a lot to offer. Its a great place to chill with an amazing sporty outdoor culture. During my stay in Kenya I went on a safari to Arusha National Park, which provides some extraordinary insights into wild life, animal habitat and behaviour and preservation. Definitely worth another visit.
Q: Which place according to you is highly over rated?
Most places, when you visit the second time, seem over rated. I can't enjoy my stay at London after the first visit and Dubai after four days, besides the unquenching thirst to see new places, observe new cultures and people tends to take you to places you have not been to before.
Q: Most embarrassing travel moment
We all have our share of embarrassing moments when we are teenagers and traveling with our families. I particularly remember our visits abroad when we would visit amusement parks and carry home cooked packed meals.
Q: Which place do you recommend for a weekend getaway in India?
Since i am based in Mumbai, Goa and Pune are my weekend getaways. The drive to Goa takes a while but then the beaches are amazing. Pune is a chilled out city, i enjoy spending time with my brother and friends in the city.
Q: How do you think India is faring vis-Ã -vis travel and tourism?
With the development of roads and infrastructure all cities look the same now, making no difference to where you are headed, holding nothing unique. The Tourism Sector has eveloved over a period of time and if you travel to old cities the sense of pride in terms of preservation of our values and heritage, is more evident now. Our hospitality is now recognised across the world and we have some of the most grand hotels in the world. i feel we have so much to offer.
Q: Which are the five places that are part of your 'must visit' list?
Leh, Kerala, Goa, Rajasthan and any army station my father is stationed at.
Q: What are the things that really put you off when holidaying?
I have lived most of my life in boarding school and I come from an army family. I have travelled extensively, lived in all possible living conditions and used all forms of transport, including travelling without reservation on an army steel trunk. My patience level is very high and it takes a lot to put me off, during holidays or otherwise.
Q: Any travel destinations you would recommend for young couples.
Just pick any location in Kerala, Goa, Himachal, Leh-Ladakh and its bound to be a memorable vacation.
Q: Are you a 'monuments person' apart from being the adventurous dare devil we know you are?
I have had the opportunity to see many monuments. As a family we travelled a lot and after each visit we were asked to make a five-minute presentation on what we saw. I remember visiting and later making short speeches on various forts in Rajasthan, The Taj, Red Fort, etc.
We have grown up in a culture that insists on daily bathing, so a visit to "The Roman Baths" in London, followed by a hilarious five-minute presentation in front of the family is still imprinted in my memory.