From Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor to cricketer Gautam Gambhir, Bosnian celebrity fitness trainer Vesna Pericevic Jacob’s niche clientele has earned her the title ‘Princess of Pilates’. Based in New Delhi for the last 15 years, Jacob has seen the capital transform from a bustling metropolis to a better managed city. Find out why she chose to stay back. By Sushmita Srivastav
What were your first impressions of India?
I moved to New Delhi 15 years back to marry my husband, Anuraag Jacob. I first came here during the New Year’s in 2003, and fell absolutely in love with the city. It took me no time to go back home, pack my bags, and move base. I remember exploring Raisina Hills and its historic monuments for the first time, and feeling a strange sense of belonging. The city has evolved so much over the last decade. While facilities such as Delhi Metro service has made commuting very convenient, pollution remains a major concern in cities.
What’s your take on Delhi’s food scene?
While I like Indian cuisine, I don’t like having spicy food very often. I have managed to find a balance at home. I enjoy eating idlis, but if I were to pick a favourite, shahi paneer would be my top choice. More recently, the city’s palate has undergone a substantial transformation and more people are opting for healthy food, which is also readily available. At home, I make sure to include dahi and coconut milk in my diet to dilute the spicy flavours.
Which are your favourite tourist spots in India?
My work allows me to travel quite a bit around India. The places I absolutely love are Rishikesh and Puducherry. Exploring Ladakh during winters is also recommended as the landscape looks stunning in sub-zero temperatures.
Your top five travel essentials while travelling here?
A power bank, mosquito repellent, sanitiser, dupatta or sarong (it not only protects from the sun, but also comes handy in places of worship), comfortable slip-on shoes, and a planned medical kit (especially when travelling to small towns).
What’s your message to foreign travellers visiting India?
India is an amazing place to travel to. Pack a lot of empathy, and come with an open mind to embrace the various aspects of this colourful nation. It’d help to be thoughtful when it comes to street food and security. Also, try to make all your bookings in advance through online platforms to avoid last minute hassles.