Still fondly known as the Dhak Dhak Girl of Bollywood, Madhuri Dixit Nene loves a laidback holiday and does not believe in setting limits to her vacations
When I’m on holiday, it means total relaxation. The only schedule I follow then is not having a schedule. My husband often jokes and says I turn into a kid when on a holiday. I am always eager to do things – see the places, eat all kinds of food, generally let my hair down.
A holiday is ideal for me either when I have my family with me or if I can experience or learn about something I don’t know about. I am so glad my husband and sons share my outlook towards holidays and so we are a family of getaway-lovers. We love spending time outdoors, with each other and doing things together. I wanted my sons to know India better and I am glad travelling within the country has made them develop new perspectives. Like they were so taken in by the Goa Airport. They loved the coastal vibe that has been
created at Kochi Airport as well. Even though one of my favourites remains the Lucknow Airport. That tahzeeb (the way of talking and greeting) it is easy to tell that one has landed in Uttar Pradesh. Amritsar’s Airport also has the same happy vibe. The people smile such brilliant smiles and it all seems to come from their heart. I think Amritsar Airport has the most helpful ground staff in the world! They are just so eager to help with anything. Sometimes I do have to cover my face at the airport, but my husband and kids are cool as cucumbers – they are just so unfazed.
As a family, we have never limited ourselves on holidays. Nothing is out of bounds. Before I was married, I was limited by the nature of my profession. But after I met and got married to Ram, I have got over my inhibitions and have learnt to enjoy holidays as they are meant to be enjoyed. For instance, I could never mountain-bike. Ram taught me how to do it. I was always wary of crowded places, I am a little nervous now also, but have learnt to handle it or find my ways around it. As a family we try and experience everything that a destination may have to offer. So if we go to the Maldives, for example, we will snorkel, go deep-sea diving, spend time on the beach, go for walks in the forests. And if we are in Switzerland, we will do the cable car, perhaps ski, though rather tentatively.
My profession has allowed me the luxury to be able to travel to places for work as well, and meeting new people is a definite plus. The beauty of a place is not just in terms of its natural surroundings or physical buildings and structures; it is also because of the people that inhabit it. So I love talking to people wherever I go. I have done that a lot in the US and realised that despite being a recognisable face, it is possible. I am glad my children are experiencing that in India – they are learning so much about their roots! The other day Arin, my son, vocalised his observation after we returned from a trip to Nashik. He said, “People seem content and are able to enjoy the small pleasures of life that we city-dwellers have forgotten!” I was so proud – as a mom, as an Indian mom! A holiday is not about what money can buy, but what the mind can experience!
Speaking of spending, we spend most on local food – all kinds of dishes. So I love the mawa kachori In Jodhpur. Ram loves the petha and jalebis in Agra, and my kids absolutely love Goan bebinca. We are all great foodies. More so, because Ram and the kids, till only recently, were not that familiar with the diversity of food, especially Indian. I encourage them to try the different flavours I have grown up with in India.
Even though I tried to feed them dosas, parathas etc in the US, it is just different when you go out. I myself love food and am always on the lookout for new things to experience at a place. Like I loved shooting in Lucknow for Dedh Ishqiya. It has that old world charm! And the food experience! Oh my god! I used to wait for pack up so I could have jalebi with that masala doodh. The way they literally cook the milk and not just boil it makes it so creamy and then to dunk a jalebi in it! My mouth waters at the very thought of it.
I definitely want to see all of India with my family. I am astounded by how amazing our culture and people are. I want to familiarize my kids with our country, of which they have only seen a tiny part.
(As told to Aarti Kapur Singh)