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Chillout: Travelling & getting creative with her 8-yr-old defines a perfect weekend for Pepsico’s Vani Gupta

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Chillout: Travelling & getting creative with her 8-yr-old defines a perfect weekend for Pepsico’s Vani Gupta

Corporate lady with a distinct style. This best describes Vani Dandia Gupta, Marketing Director - Indian Snacks, Foods at PepsiCo India who has spent close to seven years at the company.

A constant stream of emails, back-to-back meetings and work related travel has not stopped Gupta from having her weekend dose of hitting refresh.

In this week's chillout, Gupta shares her weekend routine that not only helps her deal with the high stress of corporate life but also allows her to create some cherished memories. Read on…

1. On a typical weekend you will find me...
Saturday mornings are sacred. I am at my best creatively and intellectually. There’s something about a Saturday morning that is so full of optimism and positivity that I find myself bursting with ideas – and almost all of my new beginnings have taken germ on a Saturday morning.

I love painting – so a lot of weekends are spent dabbling in paint and multi- media. My 8 year old son loves it too, so we are currently working together on a huge mural called “A walk in the Park”. Other than painting I love planning holidays to new places - even the planning is as thrilling as the holiday itself. I have been collecting travel magazines since a long time (as a great fan of the Lonely Planet magazine, and have several issues of Outlook Traveller, Conde Nast amongst others) and have each neatly flagged for different places. So the act of planning means rifling through my many magazines, while also looking up places on my phone… and making notes in my ‘Blue Travel Diary’.

2. My idea of relaxing is...
Doing something fun with my son - even if we’re playing Master Chef (where he plays the role of the Master Chef of course and I’m the lowly usher cum server), watching him play football, or even going for night walks with him.
I’m not much of a reader, but I do especially love devouring magazines on flights – I necessarily buy a couple of interesting magazines (travel and lifestyle) from the airport before boarding a flight.

And I love the ‘me time’ I get in hotel rooms while I’m travelling on work – it allows me to do a lot of thinking, without being distracted by regular work or household circus.

3. One vice I cannot do without...
I don’t have any vices – nothing that makes one happier should qualify as a vice. I love my wine, I love my Old Monk, and I love good food – plenty of food that is.

4. I love a Staycation/adventure...
…that involves meeting new people, experiencing all the colourful culture of the lands I visit.

On the last holiday in Italy, we found ourselves in a very large old luxury villa in a small town called Castellamare di Stabia which was literally a one horse town! Oh well, one taxi town! And we had to take a long 2 hour trip to Positano on a taxi, train and then a bus every day. While I cursed plenty about my research having gone so wrong, we made lots of friends on the train and of course, the one taxi driver in the town became best friends by the end of the 3 days there!

My more interesting holiday was at Egypt, which presented many strange ironies….
1) I packed more than 30 different dresses, prepared to put on the Nefertiti act. But I survived mostly on borrowed clothes. Mine were all used for wrapping precious stoneware and ceramics that I bought suitcases full of!
2) I ran away from, and thought I'd be safe distance from loud item numbers of Bollywood, but I saw so people dancing in hordes to Bolly tunes at various ‘Indian’ and Bollywood festivals there, that I found myself gyrating too, and I returned an ardent Bollywood fan!
3) Thought I'd steal a few ciggi puffs behind my son’s back. But gosh, in Egypt, EVERYONE smokes EVERYWHERE, ALL the time! The smell of smoke in cafes, lobbies, restaurants, taxis, streets and shops.. It was so cloyingly sickening.. I turned from a 'heavy chain passive smoker' to a very 'active resolute quitter'!
4) Travelled continents to find peace and deep meditation stooped over a colouring book, surrounded by colours, in a hotel room!
5) I so fell in love with the art and craftsmanship of Egypt, that where I'd been advised to bargain with aggressive fervour (khan el khalili) I found myself cajoling shopkeepers to pitch higher for their wares and see more value in their art! Obviously I acquired a huge fan following of several strange men, following me around chiding "come spend your money with me!"
6) Boski found his calling at the Fustad centre of arts and crafts in old Cairo (Govt run centre) amidst local artists, carving and painting... Hold your breath.. Dinosaurs! So we spent two full days building a collection of colourful plaster dinosaurs and kung fu pandas which were carefully wrapped in bubble sheets and brought back from far Egypt to dear motherland.
7) I ran to Egypt on a whim. But met Turkey and Greece, and fell in love …all over again!

5. I confess, I am a...
I do believe that people who curse more than others are happier and more honest. I would much rather believe and lean towards one who is quick to use curse words and swear – than one who is more correct as a general state of being. So as you may have guessed, I am a happy ‘no holds barred swearer’ at most times, and am more spontaneous and gregarious than most others.

6. I spend me-time on...
I like writing in my diary. Reflections on myself, dreams for the future, people I’d like to connect with, job lists, my self-improvement list and the like. I find it very cathartic.

7. The last show I binge watched...
Crown on Netflix

8. I can make a mean ... to save my life... SKIP THIS I THINK
Nothing really worth mentioning. (Though I do love my own salads, and my steamed honey fish and garlic chicken and tomato soup… but I’m not much of a cook.)

9. A skill/hobby I want to learn this year...
I studied 3 levels of Spanish while I was on maternity leave but remember very little of it now. I want to go back to studying Spanish again.

10. My next vacation/adventure will be ...
Scandinavia is on the cards for the coming summer – I hate the cold, so let’s see how I get along. But I am counting on the high happiness index of that part of the world to keep me happy and warm!

Tags PepsiCo Vani Gupta Dandia

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