Ira Dubey was in the Maldives recently with her girl gang, and she gave us, travellers, some serious #BeachVacayGoals. We caught up with the talented actor for a quick chat on how she likes her holidays. By Priyanka Chakrabarti
1. What kind of traveller are you?
Even though the definition has changed for me over time, the one thing that remains steady is that I’m very spontaneous. I don’t like to plan too much. My mum is [I think] polar opposite, and she wants to explore places in a comprehensive way. On the other hand, my father likes a relaxed holiday. So, it depends entirely on the kind of person you are, and it also depends a lot on where you are going.
I grew up around these two people, and I think somewhere between everything we struck a balance. I think the one word that comes to mind is, ‘spontaneous.’ So, if I’m going to a beach destination, of course, I’d like to put my feet up, sort of be in the sun, read and relax, eat and sleep. But, if I am going to a new place, I would like to explore it extensively. For instance, I haven’t been to Australia or Japan or to see the Northern Lights…
Also, over time, I have become a light traveller, and I mean that in a way that when you’re younger, you tend to indulge constantly, laugh about it and tease each other about it … kind of what happened to my trip to the Maldives. My friend who was travelling with me, she and I, we looked at each other at the airport and we just laughed out loud, and she said you know, when I travel with my husband, I never laugh that loud because he says it’s bad and asks what’s wrong with you. I think I’ve learned with time to travel light, not only physically but metaphorically, as well.
Somebody told me this lovely thing once: [I really have come to understand this] when you are in your 20s you’re discovering who you are. When you are in your 30s, you understand who you are; when you are in your 40s, you enjoy who you are; and, when you are in your 50s you just don’t give a damn.
So, I think when you begin to understand who you are, which is in your lovely 30s, you also get to leave a lot of baggage that you have been carrying around — again, physically and metaphorically. After all, travel is also about transformation and discovery — you know, internally and externally — it makes you grow a lot!
2. I believe, Maldives was your last vacation. How was it?
It was amazing … I had never actually been there before. It’s a stunning place. I would say, everyone should visit at least once. I stayed at Niyama Private Islands Maldives. And, it somehow brought out a lovely childhood memory. I met with the sales and marketing head of the hotel on the second last day of my stay in the Maldives, and he told me about his son, and how he spends his time working in hotels for a long time, and how his son feels that he owns the hotel. Now, I grew up going to the Taj Holiday Village in Goa because my father used to work with the Taj Group for more than three decades. I used to go there every summer for a couple of weeks. And, I admitted to him, while growing up I felt the same way!
Niyama was a super-luxurious property yet it was a very warm sort of a place, which reminded me a lot of my Taj Holiday Village vacations.
3. Are you a water baby?
I am entirely a water baby. I love being there in the ocean, and in fact, a couple of days after I came back from the Maldives, I could still hear the waves. Coming back to the city is always very disconcerting. Whether you are in the hills, mountains, forest, or near the water — coming back to city life always feels bewildering. So, whenever you are near nature there is something very restorative about it. There is something very peaceful and sort of almost healing and spiritual about it.
4. Do you remember your first beach holiday?
Yes, I do. The one that I remember and which is always going to be etched in my memory was when I was living in Delhi. I must have been six and it was a big deal as we didn’t have water bodies near our house. So, we visited my mum’s brother in Bombay, and we must have gone to what at that time may have been a slightly cleaner version of Juhu beach… I remember this trip because I was running down the stairs as I was too excited to go to the water. I was in my bathing suit and a pair of shorts, and I was running down the stairs, and I could hear my mum’s voice saying, “Don’t run, you’ll fall,” and lo and behold exactly 30 seconds later, I did fall, and it was terrible. I got hit on my eyebrow, just a few centimetres away from my eye, and I still have the bearing of that because I have a slit in my eye. This is my very first memory.
Another memory is when I went to the Taj Holiday Village, Goa for the first time with my family. The fondest memory of that is again riding cycles, eating amazing food, fooling around in the pool, going to the ocean, you know … I think Taj Holiday Village for me will always be my strongest happy memory, of going to a beach place.
5. What has been your best 2018 holiday?
Last year, I travelled to London. It was a solo trip and I had a lot of fun. You see, I have grown up in two big cities, Delhi and Mumbai, and I studied abroad. I was very close to New York when I was studying in college. I was at Yale University, which was in Connecticut. I spent a lot of time in New York. I think every time you are in a big city, you always want to take back a part of it with you.
6. Who is your favourite travel buddy and why?
That would be a difficult question to answer. It totally depends. When I was growing up, I really used to love travelling with my girlfriends; now we are all in different places. Some of them have children, some are married, some are not in Bombay anymore… so it becomes tougher, you know, as you grow older.
It was wonderful travelling with my girlfriends in the Maldives. It was a discovery and it was really fun. I think travelling with the family will always be very special to me, especially when you grow older because everyone has their own life. Also, travelling with the significant other would be very special, too. Choose your travel partner according to the place you’re going to, I’d say.
7. If you could pack only five things for a beach vacation, what would they be?
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen and sunscreen (laughs).
8. While travelling in India during summers, what are the top five ensembles you would carry?
A nice summer dress, a pair of trainers or some comfy walking shoes, definitely a hat, an inexpensive pair of sunglasses and sunscreen.
9. Do you think solo travelling is more enriching than travelling with a group of people?
Travelling alone has its own charm. Travelling can be an internal discovery. You get a lot of perspectives when you travel. You see a lot of different things, people, the way they’re living and their culture. In order to get a break and to disconnect, it’s better to travel solo, when there is nobody with you because then you can know exactly how you are feeling. I would advocate solo travel every now and then.
10. Your top 3 favourite cities around the world?
New York, London and Berlin.
11. A particular destination on your 2019 travel bucket list?
Japan and Northern Lights.