Film star Shwetha Menon has earned critical as well as popular acclaim enacting a wide variety of characters. Her roles in Malayalam films like 'Palerimanikayam: Oru Pathira Kolapathakathinte Katha' and 'Kalimannu' brought several awards to the actress.
Even after sparking controversies with a string of bold roles, Shwetha remains unperturbed. She has a big fan base after cementing her place in the Malayalam film industry. Shwetha is always busy with shooting assignments, but still finds time for travelling. She shares some interesting experiences with Onmanorama.
The thrilling skydiving
Shwetha feels that journeys help you relax and also to share some happy moments with those close to you. "Journeys which leave many good memories are dear to me," she says.
"During each trip, it is not only the body that travels but also the mind. Travelling makes you richer with the experiences it offers," according to Shwetha.
The actress has visited several places as part of her work, but holds the trips with her husband Sreevalsan Menon (Sree) and daughter close to her heart.
Recently Shwetha travelled to the USA as part of a show. During the trip, she enjoyed a tour of Florida during free time. Shwetha's friends in the film industry who participated in the event joined her on the tour.
The main attraction of the Florida visit was skydiving, which thrilled the actress no end. "I was eager to do something new during this trip and engaged in skydiving for the first time. Initially, I was afraid and my pulse shot up like anything. But it was a great experience," says Shwetha. "The sport provided maximum thrill," she adds.
Along with husband Sree, Shwetha has travelled to many interesting destinations. "Sree, being a journalist, visits places which have something peculiar about them. A trip with Sree helps you understand the entire history of the place. "It is said that history that is heard from others is never lost from memory," adds Shwetha.
Among her favourite destinations is Bali. ''The place is blessed with extremely beautiful beaches, hills, and mountains. Also in view are the fields spread over a wide expanse and unspoilt rain forest. The scenic region is noted for its rich cultural heritage and is termed a tourist's paradise,'' says Shwetha.
Bali offers excellent facilities and the people there are known for their hospitality. "But what attracted me most was huge sculpture of Maha Vishnu. It comes into view even at a distance of 20 km," says Shwetha.
The geography of Bali is similar to that of Kerala and people there have great respect for trees, shrubs, and flowers, she adds. "Wherever you go in Bali, greenery comes into view. I admire the culture of the place as well as the daily routine the local people follow," she says.
Another trip that Shwetha remembers fondly is the one to Maldives for a shooting. "Maldives has many similarities with our state. We spent three days enjoying ourselves after the shooting along with our daughter," she adds.
"We had a good time with our daughter on the clean beach," says the actress.
The best experiences and sights in Maldives are of the sea. "From Paradise resort where we stayed, we get a good view of the beautiful sea," she reveals.
A unique bike trip
The childhood journeys of Shwetha were also interesting affairs. "My father was an official of the Indian Air Force and I was born and brought up in North India. We never used to plan trips on holidays," says Shwetha.
Her father had a Yezdi motor bike and the family visited several places in North India on it. Shwetha's father used to comment that she would fall asleep at the first opportunity. To prevent Shwetha from falling off the bike, he would seat her close to her mother and strap her to a grip at the back. "My father and mother could then relax even if I fell asleep," says the actress.
"But my father still kept a watch on me by adjusting the rear view mirror," she adds.
This is how Shwetha visited many places in North India. "We even travelled from Allahabad to Kanpur in this fashion," she reveals.
An unforgettable experience
The train journeys during childhood presented some interesting situations. "We travelled to Kerala when my father got leaves. Every time, we came to Chennai by flight and took the train from there to the ancestral houses of my parents," says Shwetha.
"Most of my travels have been by flight. Train trips were not comfortable," she points out.
It is during one such train trip that Shwetha almost lost her life. "There were some other kids in the train with whom I struck a friendship. We soon started playing 'hide and seek.' I went near the door and hid myself there. But suddenly I found myself hanging from the door. It was a man who was standing nearby who saved me in the nick of time," she recalls.
"If not for him, I would have met my end," says Shwetha.
Trying out new cuisines
Whenever the actress visits a place, she enquires about the local culture and cuisine. She also tries to taste the local dish which is considered special there. "I don't eat red meat and instead go for chicken and fish," she discloses.
Moreover, while eating out, Shwetha speaks to the chef of the restaurant to pick up some tips on the main dishes there.
Many more places to visit
The actress has gone on numerous trips to destinations in India and abroad. "More than the travels for shooting, I enjoy the journeys along with Sree. We wish to take our daughter to many interesting spots," She says.
"Our next trip is to Rajasthan. I have visited Jaipur earlier but could never totally enjoy the attractions in the state. Now my wish is to travel to Rajasthan with Sree and our daughter."