Travel Links

Couch travel and monsoons!

The perfect cinematic itinerary to indulge in some couch travel therapy.

We are still amidst a life-altering global health and economic change. While virtual connections and slow, cautious optimism and return steps to economic activity are underway; the glorious greys and greens of monsoons have adorned Indian skies like magic!

While some of us may have ventured out for a few nearby road trips or picnic escapades, a lot many have yet to start our trips again. So when the skies are overcast, the wanderlust bug bites and you cannot venture out; here’s a travel capsule that is possible, won’t break your bank, and definitely can be done in the best bio-secure bubble you have right now – YOUR HOME.

The movie that gave Indians a taste of Europe! Almost overnight, Eurail became a goal and a wish list for every Indian. So, until we resume our international flights again, warm your wanderlust heart by watching this boy-meets-girl amidst the scenic beauty of Europe. From the Big Ben of London to the Swiss farms in Zurich, this movie captures the picture-perfect postcard nooks of Europe in every frame. Gorgeous European summer skies, wintry, rainy London, romantic Paris, and even the farmlands of Punjab are given their due! This one is a winner, whenever your wanderlust vibes want to feel a nostalgic hit.

The Bollywood movie that made traveling solo, the ultimate cure for a broken heart of every girl, ever. Aptly titled, saccharine sweet, dollops of tart humor amidst a journey of self-discovery, maturity, and gaining quiet confidence – the lady jilted a day before her wedding grows her wings on a solo trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Under the seemingly innocuous reason of ‘going on her honeymoon’, this heartwarming tale is actually a story of self-romance. If your travel plans were cut short because of this pandemic, watch this movie with your girl gang for an ultimate visual treat of romantic Paris and artsy Amsterdam. The majestic Eiffel Tower grabs the screens as much as the boat rides and European architecture peek from every corner. Of course, don’t miss the adult treats in Amsterdam and you can definitely ditch the romantic photo-op with your significant other in front of Eiffel Tower for a gigglier one with your girlfriends
Who doesn’t dream of enjoying a luxury cruise? And if you love life with a sprinkle of drama and laughter, then this is your best bet to spend 2 hours on a monsoon afternoon, doing nothing much but daydreaming. Gorgeous Turkish coasts, hamam baths, winding alleys of Istanbul, hot air balloon rides over Capadoccia, and a spectacular panoramic shot of the Ruins of Ephesus. This one surely will add Turkey to your travel list. A perfect mix of Asia and European cultures, Turkeys enjoys natural beauty and rich abundant culture. Bookmark this when you are all set to take a trip to the land of whirling dervishes, delicious coffee, kebabs, pink sunsets and photo-worthy coastlines.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: HolaSpain! If you prefer pulsating energy, trippy blue skies and the sweat of Europe, over its more understated vistas, then grab some popcorn and cold beverages, spicy barbeques and watch this cracker of a movie. Spinning a tale of friendship across a boys’ road trip in Spain, every frame makes the Spanish culture and countryside come alive. From Barcelona to Casta Brava, Bunol to Pamplona; soak in the Spanish culture. While racing with the bulls, or sky diving may not give everyone an adrenalin rush; getting messy at Tomatina festival, shaking a leg to the tunes of Flamenco dance while cracking PJs at artsy bars and cafes, sharing tapas platters and raising a toast are perfectly acceptable. Ok…do look at the road when driving!

Watch the movie again.

A young girl aspiring to become a writer. A restless college boy with no ambition insight. The City of Dreams – Mumbai. A story of friendship, finding independence and acceptance in the midst of this giant metropolis, Wake Up Sid captures a tenderness of Mumbai, which is part poetic, part hopeful and totally relatable. Watch this gem of a movie to get a perfect Mumbai trip! Breezy Marine drive with sips of chai, bumpy auto rides, and sunsets on Juhu beach and the hug of the person you love, amidst crashing monsoons! Mumbai, in all its companionship and small moments, that are so precious and unforgettable in the big city!

il Chahta Hai: The ultimate Goa guide and inspiration. The favorite destination of every Indian, perhaps every traveller is to have their own story of Goa, etched permanently in life. When life seemingly gets uncertain, travel is often the best way to get some perspective. Since road trips have now started, and Maharashtra and Goa coastline, the Konkan coasts do look spectacularly beautiful – we suggest that you watch this movie when you want to hit the roads and start your first travel, post the pandemic. This movie gets to the heart of Goa in no time. Sunny, sandy beaches, volleyball matches, sun-kissed make-up and of course, touristy friends – Goa truly delivers every single time. Monsoons in Goa are no less spectacular. The quaint villages come alive, the green swathes are a treat for sore eyes and don’t forget to carry a colourful umbrella and a hoodie jacket! Instagram worthy photos need some props. Make some room in your heart for muddy puddles, chai and bhajjis. Better, pack them for a picnic treat and hit the road.

An unusual recommendation. When all you want to do is to plot masterful vengeance while savouring the sights, sounds, eats and treats of Kolkata, give this thriller a watch. Showcasing the grit, grime, sweat and shine of Kolkata in all its rawness, this movie will take your on a trip to Kolkata in a span of hours. Tag the ‘LaalPaar’ saree to wear on your next Pujopandal hopping to hailing a ubiquitous yellow cab and cruising down Victoria memorial road. Missing the road-side chai? This movie will make you yearn for those days when sitting at a road-side chai shop and dunking biscuits in chai while gossiping with friends was so possible and was customary. Oh and don’t forget to take the metro rail and if you love some good Kolkata food, bookmark Mocambo – the restaurant where the brilliant ‘BidyaBagchi’ with her oversized glares spins the story into fast motion!

Jab We Met:Bubbly girl, reticent boy meet accidentally on a train. Yes, it is an AC compartment. No, they do not hit it off immediately. Yes, the boy is travelling without a ticket. No, the girl isn’t the regular shy type girl. She chats, he listens. She threatens, he runs. And they miss the train. From Mumbai to Bhatinda, with a stopover at Ratlam, the unlikely pair make it home with plenty of glitches, and sharing some secrets. The story zigzags back to Mumbai and then to Shimla so you know, you are in for a multi-city travel on a single ticket. Train rides, the charming mall road in Shimla, guzzling lassi in Bhatinda and driving through snow laden roads – this will have you yearning for road trips in record time. And yes, long T shirts and Patiala pants do make a good combo!

Eat Pray Love:Three countries, an American author and a book that went on to become a best-seller. Travel is therapy and nowhere is this better described than the pages of this book or frames of this movie. When travel bug bites hard, budgets are wafer thin and you have some time to indulge in – watch this movie and take a trip to Italy, India and Indonesia to find your sweet salvation corner. Eat pasta in Italy, learn some sweet words, order yourself a meal in a leafy Italian café and weep tears of joy over a slice of hot, classic pizza Margherita. In India, discover some spirituality chanting mantras, attend rustic small town weddings and at times, polish off a plate of sattvic food. In Indonesia, Bali, wake up to crickets chirping in a gorgeous villa with a lotus pond, wear breezy kaftans and ride across undulating rice fields, befriend a local medicine man and healer and do definitely take a dip in the sun-warmed sea, smiling and saying to yourself ‘Attraversiamao – Let’s cross over’ !

A slice of Tuscany, served with ladles of countryside food, sloping vineyards, winding roads andromance.A heart-broken American author looking to piece her life together buys a Tuscan villa on an impulse. What follows thereon is a story of hope and rebuilding life in the quaint Tuscan countryside. From olive picking to a scooter ride along the gorgeous Italian coastline, eating ice-cream strolling across the piazza, tasting limoncelloand seeing festive parades, this movie is like taking a stroll through Tuscany without even moving out of your couch.

Watch it when you are making some pasta and do add cheese generously over it!
Two lonely hearts, scarred and scared, find their own slice of paradise while traipsing through their past romantic encounters, scattered through Rishikesh, Rajasthan and Sikkim. This understated cinematic gem will take you through laughter and tears while you enjoy a few flights, a luxury train journey, a road trip and even a cable car ride. The travel here forms a parallel narrative to the lead pair finding their lost selves in a most beautiful, romantic journey that has spectacular landscapes of the destinations. The serenity of Ganga Arti is juxtaposed with the adrenalin rush of river rafting to melt into a beautiful metamorphic confluence at Rishikesh. If you have ever longed for a luxury train journey in India, then this is a perfect pick to enjoy vicariously, the opulence of the Fairy Queen Trainjourney, an ultimate royal experience. Even a Rajasthan wildlife safari is beautifully woven into the narrative, which ends in Gangtok, Sikkim with its hilly homes, and stunning mountain rangeskissing the wispy clouds ever so gently.

Now tick off that job list, settle down in your favorite cozy corner with a steaming cup of chai, coffee or hot chocolate and get set to begin your travel tales, again!

Matuli Madhusmita Swain

Matuli Madhusmita Swain is a seasoned marketing and communications expert in hospitality, social development and advertising.
An author ( Marcomm Cookies, her first book is available on Kindle) , panel speaker at Women Economic Forum 2020 speaker, artist and WICA (Women in Corporate Awards) and Nominee 2020 ;

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