Q&A: In conversation with Sukumaran Menon
Sukumaran Menon is an engineer and an independent foundry consultant by profession. He has been in the die-casting industry for over forty years, with an end-application focus that addresses the needs of automotive, electric, consumer and machining industries.
Based in Bangalore, Sukumaran is a seasoned travel enthusiast and a hobby-photographer. He started off using a point & shoot camera and moved up the value chain to professional gear. As his work involves travel - both within and outside the country, he manages to find the time to give his passion for photography newer and more exciting frames of reference.
Sukumaran refers to the black & white medium as a distinctly unique form of expression, and often takes this visual route in his explorations of period architecture, and the great outdoors. He is particularly fascinated with “trees” as a subject, and how he can capture nature’s works of art from a whole new viewpoint.
Now, in conversation with Sukumaran Menon.
Travel is about the path you will take that will ultimately define your journey - whether it’s going somewhere that is only two-hours away, or a destination halfway across the world. Travel is also about trying something new – especially if you can manage to escape from the predictable routines of everyday life. Traveling therefore gives you something different to experience, and can be like a breath of fresh air.
To me, travel also means spending the day in a new city and exploring all of its history, its museums and parks. It brings in the magic of spontaneous adventure and participation in activities that you normally would not have the time for.
As an engineering consultant my work entails a fair bit of travel – both within the country and outside. On work, my travel schedule is invariably packed to the gills – not allowing time for any kind of detour. The only other option would be a planned photography excursion to a place I always wanted to visit – one example here is my week long trip to Kenya, to capture the annual migration of animals in the Maasai Mara.
Having said that, work related travel sometimes presented opportunities to explore cities and places of interest that I had only heard of before – this was indeed a big blessing. I am thankful that I have got to see some amazing places both in India and overseas. Being able to take pictures “in transit” is the proverbial icing on the cake!
I’ve done quite well so far, I must say - but there are many wonderful places both within our country and outside that are waiting to be explored. Once a year, I plan to travel exclusively on my own to see, explore and experience new places on my map.
My bucket list is long, but I have already gained a fair bit of ground. I’ve done Varanasi, Jaipur, Mysore, Chennai and Goa in India; in Europe, I’ve covered Amsterdam, Venice and Rome. I’ve now set my sights on South East Asia – with Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar on the horizon. A visit to Brazil is also on the cards, and I hope that happens soon.
I want to answer this question in two parts.
A long overdue vacation with your family is a readymade prescription for happiness. And doing it together by road is especially more gratifying and a great learning experience. Handling the occasional wrong turn (in the days before Google Maps) or car breakdowns, were all-important learnings. In addition to the fun and enjoyment of traveling together, being with the family greatly enhances the bond between each individual family member – especially if you’re catching up with someone in the extended family circle.
Life is so wonderful, when you are together as a family. Seeing and discovering places together, leaves you with many, many years of fond memories. As a family, we were always in love with driving and we have done several long drives in our car. Both my children still remember the wonderful times we had, each trip being an adventure for their travel diaries.
I have heard of timeshare vacations – some of my friends have vacation ownership plans – and I do see the benefit of planned holidays that come into your calendar, every single year. In this format the place you go to is your holiday destination, unlike a hotel which could be a transit point. And being a “destination” a timeshare resort will offer a wide range of activities, F&B formats, and experiences. You’re going to be their guests for a week, so they will engage you in some very interesting ways.
Even the concept of long-term holidays is an interesting proposition – you pick up a plan when you’re young and enjoy your vacation year after year after year.
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