Broadening perspectives, Narrowing differences
We are Raghavan and Ranjani and our life’s philosophy is “get there to get it”. What does that mean for travel? Once we were warned to pack enough vegetarian food for our long trip to Russia. Thank god we didn’t heed to that advice we found plenty of local options some of which we recreate in our own kitchen.
While we love to do our research we don’t follow popular opinions blindly. Hence, we pick our own paths (Raastas). Irrespective of the outcome and destination, the journey alone does enough to tantalise us. This way we can turn around and be like Will Hunting and say “Hey at least I won't be unoriginal”.
We love exploring places on foot while doing so we find routes or RAASTAs beyond the ones suggested by ‘Google maps’. This is how RARAraasta was born.
Ranjani loves her own company and is often intimidated by the idea of social interactions. She loves to watch a sunrise or a sunset or clouds passing by for hours.
Raghavan on the other hand is a charmer and such a natural at pleasing a child and the old alike. He is the one who talks to locals and gets all the interesting anecdotes and secret food haunts. We are different yet we can spend all the time together without even uttering a word. Now you know why we call it a perfect partnership.
We wouldn’t limit ourselves to a category of backpacking or budget or luxury travel because doing the same things over and over is so passé. We like to experience a mix of all of this and more. While both of us love architecture and history we also love immersing ourselves in nature. We’ve been on the Trans-Siberian railway yet consider a train ride on the Indian railways second to none. We’ve seen the majestic Angkor Wat yet feel the Chola influence in south Indian temples is unmatched in the precision and architectural design. This is not jingoism but just whom we are appreciating the virtues and virtuoso of our home.
Together we have been to 14 countries and over 15 states but our favourite trips include a 22-day trip to Russia in 2018, three weeks spent in Madhya Pradesh, annual monsoon trips in Maharashtra and Karnataka, a road trip on the coastal route of Tamil Nadu and our multiple returns to the mountain villages of Himachal Pradesh.
If I had to describe my childhood it would include hills, gardens and the outdoors mostly. While I grew up in a number of towns and cities thanks to my father’s job the experience only enhanced my understanding of cultures and adaptability to change. It is no surprise that Geography was my favourite subject in school and I still safely keep my collection of atlases with my other prized possessions. While I probably inherited my love for travel and food from my parents, I would say the travel bug really bit me in 2014 when I went on my first Himalayan trek.
Coming from a research background I now use the skill to plan all our trips to the T. Raghav would say I’m a meticulous expert on mapping, scheduling and planning trips irrespective of the latitude, longitude and altitude. He at times believes it’s my voice coming out of the Google map app.
You can also find me singing somewhere on Youtube or on stage when I am not travelling.
At the young age of 6, I used to know the capitals and currencies of more than 190 countries and could fit the entire world map jigsaw puzzle in less than 5 minutes. So one could say I always had a penchant for exploration and the desire for travel was just simmering inside me. But it was only when I met that perfect partner in Ranjani that I rediscovered it. It all transpired on our honeymoon trip which actually involved a 12-hour trek and a road trip.
I realized that being on the move, talking to locals and experimenting with weird food flavours excited me as much as sitting on a couch and watching hours of football. All those years of nerdiness as a child and teenager aid me on trips when it comes to learning new languages, and understanding the history, culture and economics and their interplay.
I am the designated and official accountant on all our trips. I also am the official photographer at Rararaasta a post-Ranjani has very smartly and efficiently handed over to me so that she can constantly appear in front of the camera.
An investment analyst, a movie buff, a featured music reviewer and a stand-up comedian mostly at home - that is me.