Favorite holiday destination for leisure: Udaipur with its beautiful lakes, shimmering white palaces and hills in the background. One of India’s most romantic destinations.

Favorite holiday destination for culture: Varanasi which is often referred to as the oldest living city in the world. It has been an important centre since time immemorial for education, religion, music, dance, textiles et al. Each time I take a boat ride on the Ganga. I am mesmerised by the buzz around the ghats, the people and their reverence for the river. Varanasi truly is India in motion.

Favorite holiday destination for gastronomy: Mumbai which is a fine melting pot of so many communities from India – Marathi, Gujarati, Sindhi, Punjabi, Marwari, Parsi, Muslim, Tamil, Malyayli and so on. All these communities have had some of their own dishes modified to suit the local taste resulting in unique gastronomical delights typical of Mumbai.

Favorite holiday destination for nature: Kodaikanal, the ‘Princess of Hill stations’. Often the gentle clouds descend upon you and light drizzle moistens your face. It’s just so refreshing and rejuvenating.

Favorite music: Ananda Shankar, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.

Favorite book/s: “Himalayan Blunder – The curtain raiser to the Sino Indian War of 1962”. Brig. J P Dalvi’s account of the Sino - Indian War is by far the most remarkable and authentic. He was present in the theatre of war throughout, commanded a brigade and was even held captive by the Chinese for 7 months.

Favorite drink: Fruit Punch.

Favorite dish: Kadai Paneer.

If I were to be reborn I would: be a follower of a Sufi saint, wandering from one place to another, singing devotional songs.

I often dream of: myself as a platoon soldier fighting in the forests or up in the hills.

Insider tips - Spirituality is the core value of Indian culture. People of all sections of the society here have a belief in something or the other. There is a unifying spirit of peaceful co-existence in the general masses. To understand the Indian culture it is foremost to understand that Indians give importance to spiritual values over and above the material ones.