An avid travel enthusiast, an artist and an actor who loves all about India – that’s Rajshri Deshpande for you in a nutshell. This strong, motivated and free-willed woman is quite an inspiration for all those women out there who’re apprehensive of making their own life choices because of the ‘4 log kya kahenge!‘ attitude.
We spoke to her a few weeks before the release of her blockbuster movie Angry Indian Goddesses, and we were blown by her enthusiasm and determination.
“Travel Makes You An Artist.”
Q1. Where all in India have you traveled?
Rajshri Deshpande: I think I’d rather tell you about the places I’ve not been to, because they are fewer in number. Well, I love travelling to places that are offbeat and untouched. I specially love the North East which is sensitive and talked out, but mostly in a negative light. Kerala is also one of my favorite destinations, but I make sure that it’s not one of the touristy locations that I stay in. I choose to live with the localites wherever I go in order to understand the place and its beauty in a better way.
Q2. Which is the one place which calls you back?
Rajshri Deshpande: India is so beautiful that each and every place calls you back! Once you let go of the metropolitan scene do you realize the real beauty of the various places! I was recently shooting in Cherrapunji – in the dense forests and since I was playing the role of an insurgent, I was dressed up like that. And as you know, the North East isn’t considered really safe. But I feel that’s the ‘Land Unexplored’. But it’s good in a way because it’s loved and appreciated by the ones who want to explore beauty. Even Kerala, where I learned Kathakali, it calls me back! In the metros, people barely have the time to appreciate culture and passion, but in the small towns, people are happier with whatever they have. The vibes are so positive. I can keep talking about every location because everything that that one element that pulls you back.
Q3. When you’re travelling, what are the few things that you cannot do without?
Rajshri Deshpande: I don’t think there’s anything that you cannot do without. Obviously, there are the basic necessities but when you’re travelling, you should be able to adjust. Money, you don’t need much either. I remember, I was travelling from Shillong to Haflong in an army car. Trust me, out there – money isn’t even a factor! It also depends on your priorities as a traveller. It’s more important to travel and know more people, and take a part of their culture.
Q4. In Angry Indian Goddesses, you guys explored Goa. Tell us about that!
Rajshri Deshpande: We were staying at Salegaon in the monsoons, and in a Portuguese house which was beautiful. I was staying in a different house which was a 100 year old bungalow. It was the oldest bungalow in the area. It was so well – lit and you barely needed lights. We shot in places that wasn’t ‘mainstream’ and it was quite an experience.
Q5. Who’s that one person whom you love travelling with?
Rajshri Deshpande: I don’t really have crazy traveller friends since everyone has their comfort zones. But, once I was in Kashmir alone, exploring each bit of it including the amazing Dal Lake and other places, this friend Nancy called me at night saying how jealous she was after seeing my pictures and updates on Facebook. So I casually asked her to join me at Pahalgam the next day, not knowing that she actually would! She was there only for 2 days but it was really memorable!
Q6. Tell us that one travel incident that you’ll never forget.
Rajshri Deshpande: The incident that I’ll never forget is also at Pahalgam. It was about 5.30 in the morning and it was raining outside. Being the crazy explorer I am, I set out on foot to explore Pahalgam all by myself. The rains made the place look even more serene. Suddenly, I saw some 20-25 horses coming towards me and I was dazed. I wasn’t scared but I was just standing there, not knowing what I was feeling! But I’m mentally very sorted this way. As a traveller, you need to be very spontaneous. The moment you let fear hit you, your life as a traveller is over.
Q7. How has Mumbai changed you as a person?
Rajshri Deshpande: I’ve been in Mumbai for the past 4-5 years and I feel that Mumbai is the safest city! You love the city, you hate the city, but you cannot do without it. This city keeps you on your toes. You cannot afford to be lethargic. So, this city has really made me a better person!
Q8. Since you’re a girl, what’s your message to all the women who want to solo travel?
Rajshri Deshpande: Don’t think much. Don’t over-analyze. Be spontaneous. That’s what will get you through. You have to be conscious though. Research well about the place you want to travel. Be smart, but be on your toes! Some decisions you need to take for yourself because if not today, then when?
You go, girl!
She’s indeed quite a motivation for all the Angry Indian Goddesses out there.
Follow her on Twitter: @Rajshri_Artist