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OT Staff: What does a holiday mean to you?
Rajnikanth: An ideal holiday would be where nobody recognises me. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for whatever life has given me, but I miss my privacy. It’s not an exaggeration to say I live a prison-like life. But that’s the cost celebrities pay. For the last few years or so, I’ve been taking spiritual journeys.
OT Staff: What are your favourite destinations?
Rajnikanth: At the moment I am in love with the Himalaya, particularly Himachal Pradesh. Mountaintops covered with snow, endless views of the greenery, and the clouds against the sky—I have never seen the sky so blue elsewhere. The air feels clean and crisp, like you are breathing this nectar that cools you from within. I have been going to an ashram to connect with myself and it gives me a lot of peace.
Abroad, I really like the energy of New York. It is a city that never sleeps. Singapore is another favourite. I don’t recall a single face in Singapore that was not smiling. The Gardens by the Bay is an oasis in the middle of the city. I was fascinated by the Supertree Grove—those structures look either like they are from outer space or at least 100 years from the time we live in. The most amazing thing is they are environmentally sustainable, so these are essentially artificial trees that work like natural trees. Their canopies provide shade and brighten the skyline at night. This artificial forest generates solar power, acts as air-venting ducts for nearby conservatories, and also collects rainwater. I was amazed to see how technology and environment awareness can go hand in hand. This beautiful garden is a lesson in biodiversity and ideas like this will save us from the ill effects of technology.
OT Staff: What do you do when you go to a new place?
Rajnikanth: Ideally, explore it on foot. Walking is the best way to get to know a new place, its people and culture. Yes, people do recognise me. And I love meeting them too.
OT Staff: Do you really travel in disguise?
Rajnikanth: I do, sometimes. I went to a temple in a beggar’s get-up.
OT Staff: And somebody gave you alms. Is that true?
Rajnikanth: Very much so. I didn’t know what to do so I kept the money. She recognised me later and came to apologise, but it was my biggest compliment. I couldn’t have returned that note.
OT Staff: What do you pack in your luggage?
Rajnikanth: Regular things—clothes, shoes, etc. But they must be comfortable. I am most comfortable in my veshti and kurta.
OT Staff: What do you bring back from your holidays?
Rajnikanth: Toys and presents for my grandchildren. Earlier I would love to pick up sunglasses or stylish jackets in leather or suede. I sometimes also pick up hand-carved curios and objet d’art. My wife is fond of blown-glass vases. But they really are such a pain to bring back.
OT Staff: Where would you like to travel to next?
Rajnikanth: Yesterday, I was a bus conductor. Today, an actor. Tomorrow, who knows? I am on an eternal journey—we all are. I am open to all sorts of experiences and destinations. It is the journey that matters.
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