Our Treehouse (the name we’ve given our green-canopied workspace) is a haven doused in natural light and surrounded by cacophonous babblers. As you walk in you’ll see our marketing team at the farthest end, the one team that works extensively with almost every other in the studio. They’re always on the move, and so it’s no surprise that travel (whether for work or pleasure) is what makes this team tick. As they spend their days on the road, their vehicles are their best travel companions, and reflect their personalities in more ways than we’d imagined.Madhulika Dhir | PR Manager
Don’t be fooled by Madhulika’s reserved demeanour. This is something we’ve all come to learn. Our design studio buzzes with activity all year round, and Madhu quietly absorbs the hubbub in her surroundings but, unflappable, gauges situations and manages alliances with a grace we’ve all come to love. Sharp as a tack, she’s great for a chat, peppering every exchange with little witty gems. You’ll find her flipping through the pages of every magazine on stands so she knows exactly what’s up, and while while work takes Madhu all over the place, it’s the element of discovery that fuels her personal travels and that’s what she really thrives on.
Tell us what you’re passionate about.
Real heartfelt stories lay hidden in offbeat routes and destinations. I’m passionate about travel (of course). Travel allows me to experience different cultures, way of living, landscapes. I thoroughly enjoy practicing Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism (I really vibe with that philosophy) but that’s very personal so I find it tough to talk about openly. As of this moment, more than a passion, a challenge I’ve taken upon myself is to eat healthy and indulge in home-cooked food.I love mixing cocktails (and enjoy drinking them equally). We have a well-stocked bar at home so it’s something I can experiment with.
Best bar or restaurant you’ve ever been?
Guinness Storehouse in Ireland on my last travel. It’s a really neat experience because at the end of the tour you’re led to the top level of the building called the Gravity Bar. I really enjoyed that Guinness which is the the only one made in the storehouse itself, and it tastes so different from the Guinness you get anywhere else.
Tell us about travelling for work, versus for play.
I try to keep my work and leisure travel separate. Work travel for me is usually event-led so it’s hectic and I don’t often club the two. Also work travel takes you to typical urban spaces, rather than offbeat spots that are meant to be discovered (and are more my thing).
I’m learning horse-riding at the moment. I am fascinated by horses and this is something I’ve always wanted to do. I need to let go of my inhibitions because I’m a little wary as of now. I also travel a lot as a pillion rider, so this year I want to learn bike riding as well. Your best story from the road:
There’s one which was surprising and largely unexpected. When I was travelling to Ladakh with my husband (on our bike), we were in the Leh district, and we came across this village called Nimmu which was home to this amazing expanse of apricot trees, and the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers — it was beautiful! Our bums were sore from spending hours riding on terrain of all sorts so it really made sense to take a breather from the ride here. I wish I could carry back that apricot with me. It was nectar!
We also spotted the Himalayan Marmots, which I found so fascinating as I’ve never seen one before. They were really intrigued by us (as were we by them), and it was amusingly interactive.
Another fun experience was when we did a Delhi to Goa bike trip, along the coast and the Western Ghats from Delhi through Rajasthan, Gujrat, Maharashtra, and Goa. From Bombay we went to Divyagar to Ganpatipule, to Goa — on four occasions there was no road connectivity so we had to load our bike on a ferry. We spent five days on the road from Delhi to Goa (with a mandatory stop at Udaipur for a night).
Your favourite mode of travel?
I enjoy all modes of travel but really don’t enjoy travelling by air. It gets to me and I find it very exhausting. I prefer travelling by road (in India at least). The Indian railways are not pleasant. If you’re travelling internationally, then the trains are awesome. Extremely scenic and you can really absorb the landscape, plus it’s faster so you can enjoy your destination as well. I would love to hire a bike outside of India to just be able to stop where I want to.
Any route recommendations for all the travellers out there?
Dingle (one of those unexplored cities in Ireland) is this small coastal town on the Western coast of Ireland and while it is a local destination, it was really very authentic where you’d find traditional Irish pubs filled with people singing traditional Irish songs. We spent a day there and it was quite lovely.
There is a drive along the coast called Ring of Kerry which is absolutely stunning and a lot of LOTR and Star Wars was shot here (a fun bit of trivia). It’s a 180 km circular route flanked by rugged coastline, verdant countryside, and rural villages. We met a lot of Americans here, but people were mostly intrigued to meet us because they’d rarely seen Indians visit there before. Top travel advice:
Eating is a big part of travelling so eat well and keep yourselves hydrated — you just enjoy yourself so much more. It’s nice to not have an agenda sometimes, because you end up seeing so much more. Get rid of those to-do lists.
Any packing tips?
I’m a bad packer. I’m always told that I pack too much but I’ve learnt my way around it because of our bike travels. Roll your clothes (a hack everyone knows but it really works). I used to carry my world around with me but I hate carrying the weight around and the bike just pushes you to make better packing choices.
Your playlist on the road?
I stick to the classics like U2, Billy Joel, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and Pearl Jam.
In Madhulika’s XUV:
Horse riding gear (hat, boots, and gloves)
Pee Safe (for when she’s travelling and public loos are compromised)
A beach basket that doubles as a grocery bag when she’s in land-locked Delhi
Aeroplane keychain (you’ll find these at our stores but not online)
Hana Spectacle Case
A Life of Jim Corbett by Martin Booth