“Jump out of the hamster wheel. Life is too short to remain stuck only dreaming about travel,” says Aditya Raj Kapoor, film director, actor, businessman, full-time biker and son of actor/director Shammi Kapoor and actress Geeta Bali. His book, Quest, documenting his travels, will be launched at Carpe Diem Art Gallery, Majorda, on December 18, 2021.
After school, at age seventeen, Aditya joined his uncle, actor Raj Kapoor, as an assistant director. His first movie was Bobby, and he later directed several boutique films, and featured in others.
In 1978, advised by his Guruji, Bhole Babaji, he took a hiatus from movies and joined Yogendra Madhavlal as an apprentice in his export business. He, later, set up a construction company, built theme parks in Mumbai and Delhi, moved to Dubai and set up TV channels, among several other things.
At age 61, he decided to travel around the world on a motorbike. Setting off on his Triumph Bonneville from Prithvi Theater, Mumbai, on June 5, 2017, on this 35,000 km journey, he flew to Moscow on the 8th, spent a few days there, and then rode on the Trans-Siberian Highway to Vladivostok. From there, he headed for Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, crossed the English Channel to England and next flew to New Jersey, USA. Then, he rode across the continent to Los Angeles, flew across the Pacific, started riding to Indonesia, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Guwahati, and finally back to Mumbai.
“The motivation to travel the world was to meet people who existed, not those I had read about in the press. It took about two years to plan. Climate changes were challenges, so I had to pack for all seasons. Having planned technical corrections well beforehand, I didn’t have any breakdowns, just a puncture, that too, right in front of a tyre repair shop in Russia! I took along a camera, recorder and mike, mounted on my helmet, and waterproof wrapping on the luggage,” says he.
“This was a once in a lifetime journey, not a tourist junket, so I wasn't in a hurry. Riding from 10 am to 6 pm, I didn’t pre-book accommodation as I didn’t want to bind myself to days and dates, except visa days. I stayed at motels, with friends and local people, enjoying their simple cuisine, or at the ashrams of my guru.
“Among the most scenic and friendly countries was the wild wilderness of Russia. Just nature, me and God. I visited war memorials in Russia and Malaysia, and Auschwitz concentration camp in Germany. I did interviews with TV channels and journalists. People everywhere showed love. I did what they did -- danced in Russia, got free coffee from a gas station in the US, a free service in Jakarta and a party after that. My biggest fear was facing death, being alone in a surreal situation, what if I lost my way, which I did in a thunderstorm.”
Aditya took his time writing this book, stopping sometimes. As it started to sink in, it scared him, as to what could have happened along the way. On one level, it’s reportage on his travels and the experiences with humanity, full of anecdotes and life quotes. On another, it’s about the people he remembered, those he missed, those who made a difference to his life, and those who served as signboards in his multi-track life, and finally understood that the purpose of his trip was to ‘find Aditya.’
‘Quest’ by Aditya Raj Kapoor will be launched on December 18, and is currently available on Kindle.
WHERE: Carpe Diem, Godinho House, Majorda
WHEN: December 18, 2021
TIMING: 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm