I like both the sea and the mountains. So I like Paris and Singapore as much as Sikkim , Darjeeling and any place in the entire Kanchanjenga range. But London is closest to my heart, especially its countryside. I love taking a stroll down Oxford Road, Cambridge Road and the area around Warwick University. There are many street dogs outside Warwick University . Feeding them gives me immense pleasure. It makes me feel so much near to Nature. You can even spot daffodils swaying in the wind and a walk in the mustard field is just amazing. Another USP of London is that at any given time of the day, some parts of the city are lively, while others are very quiet and peaceful. I like authentic English architecture, too. I feel I am on a perfect holiday when I am in London.
It was while shooting for one of my movies that I got the chance to explore this place. My cousins stay there, so I was lucky I didn't have to bother about accommodation. I am not among those who like to blow money on expensive restaurants. I like eating in those dingy ones as well. I believe if I am on a holiday I should enjoy the local culture and food, they are authentic. Going to a five-star restaurant will deprive me of enjoying the local culture.
One small restaurant I love to visit is English Restaurant. They serve yummy corncakes with a lot of cream, butter and jelly. Then there's a tea house near the restaurant --- an old castle which has been converted into a tea shop. And the pleasure of sipping tea there in the evening is one of its kind.
Shopping in London can be very expensive, but I find it difficult to control the pangs when I am in central London. Name the brand and you have it here. My favourites are Zara and NextGap. The style and variety that you get here is one-of-its-kind, so it's worth the price.
I would like to share an experience which is ingrained in my mind. Whenever I think of this, it reminds me of London. Actually, we were shooting in the mustard fields and the director asked me to sing an impromptu song. It was to be dubbed latter on by a professional singer. But when the film released, to my surprise, the song had not been dubbed at all.
I always recommend near and dear ones to visit London . Go there, have fun, enjoy and relax. But don't forget to go to the countryside, that's the real London. The weather is unpredictable so always carry an umbrella with you. Do survey before you shop, as London is very expensive. Transportation is very good in this city so that's an advantage and language is not a problem at all.
-Jayant Mishra (SAMPURN)