We all are hardwired for thrilling experiences, and travel is the best way to tap into it. Travelling fills the jar of moments with memorable and enriching experiences as overcoming obstacles that chime along are the greatest learnings and oodles of fun. Having covered a few continents, the phenomenal actor from the famous web series ‘Aashram’, Chandan Roy Sanyal, aka Bhopa Swami feels exactly the same. After all, Baba Jaane Mann Ki Baat. His infinite list of places to his intriguing travel experiences, he has shared the choicest stories to be in reverie with a traveller inside him.
Here are some untold facets; excerpts from the actor’s diary. Read the interview to know:
: What is travelling for you?
Therapy and travelling are the same for me. It is an escape that releases all my toxins and freshens up my soul. If I say I am addicted to travelling, it wouldn’t be wrong. A vagabond in me sparked in 2006 which marked the dawn of my travelling feat when I started taking frequent trips all around the world. My bucket list comprises travelling to Africa, South America and the Far East. I have exhausted several tours to Europe and America and am crazily waiting to explore South America. It all equates to meeting new people, hydration, gastronomy, music and everything that releases adrenaline for me. My next destination targets any of the locations - Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Chile, Mexico, Cuba or Argentina.
Travelling is a therapy that unwinds and puts the rambling mind at ease.
: Any unique thing about India that keeps you connected to roots?
This slogan conveys my message, “United we stand and divided we fall.” The thing which inspires me most is the democracy and diversity of our country. Unity in diversity is the basic emblem we have pledged while growing up. Anybody can grow up anywhere, speak any language, be from any family and still can travel to any part of India and have a life there. I travel a lot to different places in the country where my work takes me. I come across so many life altering experiences in this entire process of travelling for work and leisure. I have a sense of belongingness here no matter how far I travel. I love being here!
I think it’s like I grew up within the tint of Punjab, a bit of Himachal and Delhi while I live in Bombay and get to work in Kolkata.
: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata; things these places have given you?
So, Delhi has been my first home, a place where I spent 18 years of my life. I picked rudiments from Delhi, the city gave me a lot. Lip smacking food, warm people and lovely 80’s, time spent in Delhi was amazing! Bombay gave me wings, it gave me a place to call of my own. It is the city where I realised my dreams, became an actor, earned and carved my dream career. Kolkata was basically going back to roots. Given, I am a Bengali who grew up in Delhi, I never had any connection with Kolkata while growing up except for a few summer holiday trips. Now when I work a lot in Kolkata, I have built a strong bond with the city. I feel a part of it through my fans, friends and the colleagues I work with. I love Kolkata, yeah, to sum it all!
: Being an actor, any place you feel inspired you through your journey this far?
I think Bombay is that place that has helped me live a life of my dream. Almost, half of my life has been in Mumbai and I have had so much already - the struggle, pain, deception, success, failure, ups and downs, bad moods, good moods, bad news, good news, sickness and even pink of times. Bombay is a place which kept me going. This city always keeps me on my toes, makes me work harder, dream more, never settle down and then makes me have it all.
Mumbai is like a blank canvas where you paint your own destiny. Good, bad or mediocre!
: Any unique festival of India you have attended or is on your bucket list?
I have always grown up attending Durga Puja, so that is something I would love to do while being in Kolkata. I have always heard great things about Durga Puja in Kolkata but have missed the chance to be there. It is frantic crazy like Brazil. Everybody is on the street, there's a lot of food and parties, everybody is dressed up well, it smells so good, everybody is happy, it’s fun crazy time to be in Kolkata for about nine days back to back. That is something I have never experienced and want to experience.
: Any spiritual destination where you visit frequently?
No, I don’t visit any place for spirituality but mountains give me a lot of solace. When I was in Bhutan, it was just amazing, peaceful. So yeah, being in the mountains makes me spiritually aware. Dharamshala, Dalhousie, and Darjeeling are among the best tourist places in India. Mountain places are where calmness takes over my senses and I feel fresh and rejuvenated.
I believe if my heart seeks peace, I can fetch it in nature. Such places are utterly ruminative.
: Which part of the country you think is worth exploring?
I think the place which is worth exploring is Himachal Pradesh, one of the most beautiful places in our country that offers all sorts of enriching travel experiences. I have yet to explore states like Odisha, a place I would recommend to all. My targeted places for this year are Kashmir and Northeast India. There are so many states that have visited and there are plenty to discover. I have been to UP, Punjab, Rajasthan and Bengal. But then, I have missed Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh. I have been to Kerala a couple of times and my trip to Tamil Nadu was a treat.
Places in India are unique in their own way and all depends on the kind of experience we wish to gather.
: Have you ever been on a budget trip? Please share your experience.
My friends and I went on a budget trip to Sikkim almost a decade ago. Each of us had only 10,000 bucks and it was like a three-way trip. We took a train from Mumbai to Kolkata, stayed at a friend’s place for two nights and then took a bus to Gangtok from Kolkata. Then, we moved around the hills to different places on a limited budget, stayed in villages and homestays which were hardly 300 or 400 bucks a night and trust me, that was one great trip.
Travelling on budget was a thrill. It taught me to adjust in all circumstances and still be my happiest self.
: An actor you would like to travel with?
This is a tough one, the question should be which not? However, if I do have to choose one, I would go with someone like Ryan Gosling or Christian Bale. Preferably Christian Bale, since we share birthdays. It would be a great treat to travel with him.
: If you have to go on a Bachelorette trip in India, where would you go?
I would go to Kashmir. It is a rather eccentric choice for a bachelorette trip but going to the snow clad beauty and witnessing heaven on earth would add stars to the party. I can also go to the North-East; Arunachal Pradesh or Meghalaya since I have never been there.
: A place from where you felt that ‘nothing is far’.
I think when I was in New York it felt like nothing was far. Bombay is the city of dreams but New York felt like the melting pot of all the cultures, cuisines, art and films and it has a thing called New Yorker. When I was there, I was accustomed to the culture probably in a day and my acquaintances were gangho that I was behaving like a New Yorker. Yeah, that is a city where I felt like I was not far. I can live there for a while doing some work.
: Your favourite dish?
My favourite dish is Chole Bhature because I grew up in Delhi. That is something I cannot do away with. I dream about Chole Bhature day in, day out, that strong is my love for the delicacy. I probably will make a film on it one day - about its therapy and what Chole Bhature is to me. Sorry words fail me to describe this.
: Where did you go on your last vacation?
My full-fledged last vacation was to Italy, a year back. We started in Spain and enjoyed till our batteries were down and from there we ended in Madrid. From Madrid, we travelled to Barcelona which is an exquisite place and then took a cruise to Rome, the city of love. The next destination after Rome was to Sicily via car and the last destination was Catalonia. From there we flew back to Dubai and then to Bombay. That was one crazy trip where we spent the entire month in car.
: If the beach is on your mind, where would you prefer to travel?
I believe in the saying ‘Life's a beach.’ Although, I have really untangled myself at many beaches in Bali, Srilanka etc but I long for beaches in Australia. My heart still dons the desire to go to the Coast of Ireland and Scotland. Burning with desire to see every beach, I am longing to go to beaches in Brazil and Cuba or Mexico...Yes! Mexico definitely! In a nutshell, I can spell many beach destinations but these are on my most desirable list.
: Which hill state is your favourite?
Mountains and valleys are the places that are chosen as a retreat for several tourists. This is why I think Himachal stands among my favourite hill states. Kasol really captivates my attention and I love being there. It really has a pull!
: Will you like to plan your trip with our circuit planner?
Yeah, I don’t mind planning my trip with a circuit planner to whatever it is. Travel is travel and if someone helps me plan better then why not.
Known for his versatile acting in Bollywood biggies like Kaminey, D-Day, Jab Harry Met Sejal, Prague etc and successful web series such as Parchhayee, Bhram, Aashram, Chandan has proven time and again that he is one of the remarkable actors in the industry. Having been here for a decade now, his prodigious talent and relentless spirit has fetched him plenty of acting assignments for coming years. Whether it’s work or life, impressions laid by Chandan are loud and strong! An actor with brilliance and a person with a golden heart, Chandan Roy Santyal has an even-steven in life. With the most gentle smile and generous attitude, he definitely has the charisma that captivates us all.
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