Actor, travel buff and photography aficionado Kunal Karan Kapoor has been off TV screens since the second season of his cult show Na Nole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha wrapped up in 2013 but he has been doing what few of his peers do. Take time off from the TRP rat race to travel on a whim around the world and photograph memories of a lifetime.
He was in Gulmarg recently at the behest of a travel magazine and says, “It just takes a few hours to reach Srinagar and then Gulmarg from Mumbai and suddenly, you are in heaven. Even in April, it was biting cold and I was astounded by the majesty of the snow-clad peaks. It was like finding yourself in the surreal world of Narnia.”
He also went to Cambodia recently and the stark beauty of the country has been captured in many of his photographs.
“I was in Thailand and my visa was running out. Along with a bunch of German tourists, I got into an argument with the guy helping us with the visa formalities because he was overcharging us. He asked us in a huff to manage the rest of the trip on our own, so we did just that! We walked from the Thailand border into Cambodia. It is not everyday that you ‘walk’ into a new country and it was great. I was supposed to be there for two days but stayed on for over seven days.”
In 2012, after the first season of his show wrapped up, he undertook what was possibly the most whimsical journey of his life. He recalls, “It was a crazy trip that took me from Prague to Dubai to Bangkok to Koh Chang to New Dehi to Leh. I travelled through different time zones and climates. I was in Prague for a shoot and after the wrap everyday, I would roam the streets at night with my camera, get to my hotel in the morning, sleep for two hours and then report for the shoot again!”
As a traveller without an itinerary, he remembers flying to Koh Chang from Prague with a large suitcase and being dropped off in the middle of a forest without any idea where his hotel was. “The light was fading..I could see snakes drift past me and there I was lugging the bag up a mountain, then down another one and walking on roads with twists and turns. Finally, I did find the hotel. From the vibrant night life in Thailand to Leh, where the only thing you got to eat at night was rajma chawal, from 35 degrees of tropical sunshine to sub-zero temperatures, it was one amazing ride.”
One indelible memory is flying over the valley where Indus and Zanskar rivers met in a confluence and clicking this moment of staggering serendipity. Today, he has thousands of photographs of all the places he has been to but the hunger to travel more remains. He says, “How did I get itchy feet? I don’t know. Probably from my mother. Nothing makes me happier than a packed bag and a ticket.”
Reema Moudgil works for The New Indian Express, Bangalore, is the author of Perfect Eight, the editor of Chicken Soup for the Soul-Indian Women, an artist, a former RJ and a mother. She dreams of a cottage of her own that opens to a garden and where she can write more books, paint, listen to music and just be.