Jayprakash Nair of Winks and Smiles is an avid photography, travel and adventure enthusiast. He believes in living, discovering and capturing ordinary moments in an extraordinary way.
1. What got you hooked to travelling?
I find great learning in nature and people. From a young age, I’ve dabbled in numerous talents, and loved the experience of getting to know new things and expanding my horizons. The thrill of forever discovering something new is what hooked me to travelling.
2. Favourite travel destination? Why?
There’s a tie here. It would be my home town, God’s Own Country – Kerala for its divine beauty and Leh-Ladakh for its rugged terrain and picturesque landscapes that one can never get enough of!
3. Least favourite travel destination? Why?
For me, there’s nothing like least favourite travel destination. All are my favourite because all the places – cities, towns, villages – have their own beauty. It’s like “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”
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4. Scariest thing that happened to you?
Once I went swimming underwater (just for fun) in the backwaters of Allapuzha (Alleppey). I have a group of friends in Kerala and whenever we go for a swim we used to count on other who stays more time underwater. Say like a bet. It was my turn and when I was underwater suddenly some ‘thick moss’ got entangled around my legs and I couldn’t come up for some time even after I tried my best to extricate myself from it. I couldn’t hold my breath and thought “this is it, I’m finished.” After struggling for two minutes, like a miracle, I managed to free myself. THE SCARIEST INCIDENT I WILL NEVER EVER FORGET. But I won! And till date my friends don’t know this story.
5. Weirdest thing you did?
I love to do all weird things. I was riding a bike from Leh to Pangong, which is almost 150 km. After travelling for about 20 km, my bike’s front tyre got punctured. Since I had already started ascending the hills I wasn’t able to find a ‘puncture wala’ or any garage. But this didn’t deter me. I rode all the way to Pangong with that punctured tyre. So weird no? But it is one of the most memorable moments in my travel.
6. Favourite travel photo? Why?
This was taken at the frozen lake of Gurdongmar in Sikkim. It was a Narnia of sorts. Those snow glittering trees and the iced expanse of the lake. It was a vision of magic!
This was taken in Drass – the second coldest inhabited place on Earth after Siberia. The photograph of the mighty mountains decked in snow remind me of the time I spent frozen at temperature of -5 degrees as I waited for the highway to open in the early hours of morning. These mountains remind me of the tenacity with which I somehow pulled through that time – the very way these mountains have stood tall all these years weathering every storm and trouble.
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7. Must have packing item?
My DSLR camera. What I see through my eyes I capture through its lens. It’s always by my side, anywhere I go.
8. Favourite travel experience?
Without a doubt, Leh-Ladakh. That land awakened me from the depths of my soul and aroused all my senses like no other. From traversing high slippery roads where one little slip would mean meeting the valley floor deep below, to snow-capped mountains majestically towering over my puny self, to kind-hearted, helpful and honest locals who went out of their way to ensure my comfort, to the sandy turf of Nubra Valley with camels grinning at folks as they fell off their backs, to crowding around a warm bonfire as the chill air whipped around me, to the surreal Pangong Lake that simply took my breath away. Leh-Ladakh tested my limits and endurance, and what’s more, I enjoyed every bit of it! And anyone who’s been there will tell you the same.
9. Which is your dream vacation?
Venice, Italy – those aquamarine splashes, canal routes, the exquisite architecture and artworks beckon me. But ANTARCTICA with its frozen landscape, penguins, seals, albatross, and aurora Australis… sigh… It’s my DREAM!
10. Any upcoming trips?
Kabini Nagarhole National Park (also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park), a national park located in Kodagu and Mysore district in Karnataka state in South India in January 2017 and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in March 2017. Many more nestled in my travel wishlist.
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