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Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat
Chetan Bhagat says that the places he visits always influence his work,
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The columnist, screenwriter, speaker and the bestselling author has a fascination for the Middle-Eastern countries like Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Yemen

Kavita Devgan
June 19 , 2014
06 Min Read

OT: Have your travels influenced your work?

Chetan Bhagat: Of course. The places I travel to inspire and inform my work. My book Revolution 2020, for instance, is set in Varanasi, a fascinating city. I’ve lived in Gujarat during my IIM-Ahmedabad days, and we used to make trips to Diu because Gujarat is a dry state. So it found its way into Kai Po Che, where there is an entire Diu sequence.

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OT: Where did you grow up? Any special trips in your childhood?

Chetan Bhagat: My father was in the Army, and even though we were based in Delhi, he used to get posted around the country. At one point, I remember he was in Sikkim, where we spent some great summer holidays.


OT: Mumbai is home now. Any recommendations for first-time visitors?

Chetan Bhagat: I’d say walking in the Chimbai area or the Sherly Rajan villages of Bandra is a fun experience. You are in the middle of the city and yet there is a sleepy coastal town feel to these streets.


OT: Your last holiday was in…

Chetan Bhagat: Hong Kong, to attend the Hong Kong Film Trade Fair, where I was conducting a session. It was part work, part holiday.


OT: What are your family holidays like?

Chetan Bhagat: They tend to be laidback because our kids are young (twin boys aged eight); we have only recently started travelling again after they were born. My wife and I tend to like similar things but she prefers to plan ahead. She starts her research months before a trip, while I can land up in a place and figure my way around. Also, I tend to repeat the same destinations, while she likes seeing new places.


OT: What’s next on your wish list?

Chetan Bhagat: I have a fascination for the Middle East, especially places that are rarely visited, such as Lebanon (Beirut), Iran, Iraq and Yemen.


OT: Are you a foodie?

Chetan Bhagat: Yes. I love food, especially Japanese and Middle Eastern fare. Local cuisine is a crucial factor in choosing a destination.


OT: Any travel disasters?

Chetan Bhagat: I lost my passport in New York once, hours before my return flight. I struggled to figure out what to do as I stood in the long line at the consulate, but luckily an NYPD cop found it and returned it to the consulate, while I was there.


OT: A book that depicted a destination well...

Chetan Bhagat: Shantaram showcased Mumbai really well, I thought.


OT: Your best travel advice?

Chetan Bhagat: Travel light and keep a separate bag for cash, documents, chargers and medicines.


OT: Five things you always pack?

Chetan Bhagat: Money, spare spectacles, medicines, chargers, gadgets (laptop and phones).


OT: Your reading list on the go?

Chetan Bhagat: Right now I’m reading the various drafts of my new screenplay and going crazy. I like to read non-fiction when I travel as I can read it in parts.


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