, Diary

I have travelled extensively since 1999 and mostly because of my sports. At one point, my travelling became a routine and it won’t be a lie if I say I hated travelling back then. This might have to do a lot with the social media boom that made people crazy. Like the phenomenon of taking selfies at the airport is something I am not very fond of, as I am not a crowd pleaser. I really like to have my own space when I am travelling and do what I love the most – shopping.

In hindsight, I never liked that amount of time I had to spend at the airport. The hectic schedule from airport to hotel to the stadium and back again to the airport killed all the energy left to explore what all existed inside the airport. It is so funny that even though I have travelled to more than 50 countries, the only possible famous place I visited then was the Eiffel Tower.

I can fondly recall my first airport experience, which was from Bengaluru to Frankfurt in 1999. I wasn’t too elated or too nervous. I actually wondered what all the fuss was about. Today flights and airports have become a necessity. For me, taking a flight is always about saving time and sometimes I do like shopping at amazing shops that airports. If at all I have to choose any medium other than flying, I would venture out on a road trip, driving the car myself, given that I have good company.Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow

Earlier in my playing days, when I mostly use to catch my morning flights, I used to avowal at the Burger junctions, which I had to let pass due to my strict fitness but now I relish these burgers. Even though I am a chai person, I prefer chai only at home whereas, when I am at the airport, I surely take a cup of coffee or a croissant, if I am in Europe. European Croissants are to die for. They just melt in your mouth.

Today, travelling for me is all about comfort. I would wear my sneakers and be ready for those long flights or if I am travelling a shorter distance, I would easily wear slip-on and go. I would definitely keep my big dark sunglasses and carry a light jacket or a hoodie as airports get really cold. I am a planner that way.

I have travelled an array of destinations by now and to recall my favourite airport internationally would be Singapore, London and Beijing. I also love our Indian airports like Delhi Airport. Of the Domestic ones, I really like Hyderabad, Puducherry and Pune Airport. I like the airports where the transition is quick and these three tops my list in that regard. Cleanliness is also a key concern for me and Lucknow Airport in that aspect has done a marvellous job.Puducherry Airport

I have turned more of a traveller now and I always like exploring places but with my friends. One of our recent trip was to Bali, which we enjoyed a lot. Sri Lanka also was surprisingly beautiful. People, there are so warm and welcoming. I want to visit Khyber Pass, it is on my list for so long. Cold places are my thing, I guess.

However, I like my hometown the best out of all the places. Hyderabad runs at a good pace, the city is neither running too fast nor too slow. I love how people here are so progressive and relaxed at the same time. I have lived all of my life here since I was three years old. The food culture in Hyderabad is terrific, I and my friends go out every other day and hover overall kind of food but my favourite outlet is Chicha’s – the Hyderabadi food junction serving the best biryani of the town and boti kebabs. There are no Gulati Kebabs here and that is what makes it different. One should definitely visit Hyderabad for its old culture, the historical significance that this city holds.Pune Airport


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