He can be mean as gangsta Football in the recent crime thriller Rocky Handsome. He can be all charm as the cool chef along with buddy Chuppa Rustom’s Gurpal Singh at the Sonapani Film/Food fest regaling his rapt audience with culinary chit-chat. He can croon. And write scripts. And compose music. But what Megh Varn Pant, mechanical engineer-FTII grad from G-town, likes above all else is BIKING.
“To me, every time I ride, it’s like a journey of self discovery. An attempt to define – Who I am? The more I ride the more I realize that it’s not the answer but the question that is more important, and the quest leads to a way in which without me saying it, I am defined by what I do,” he winks, (told ya he is a scriptwrite!!)
His dream machines: The GS1200 … Triumph Tiger 800….. Benelli 502 trk … Kawasaki Versys 650 and of course, the Enfield 750 cc whenever that comes along.
In the meantime, he hops across to the nearest Royal Enfield exclusive outlet and takes the Himalayan for a spin around Sector 15, the very first Gurgaoniite to test drive the mean machine. Later, he unwinds at the latest hot spot in town, the Biker’s Café on Golf Course Road, after his 1400-km Himalayan Odyssey on his Classic Crome 500 Royal Enfield that took him from Gurgaon to Munshiaari via Haldwan-Nainital-Bageshwar-Pachar. He pretty much blends in the ambience with his chic leather jacket and biker’s gear in place, as he talks about the “1% biker clubs in the West, his desire to ride along the European countryside and his admiration for biker and Youtube sensation C S Santosh.”
Going full throttle on his pet subject, he however, urges enthusiasts “to balance the adrenaline rush with sound biking basics and not get swayed into daredevilry by the captivating roar of the 1000 cc beasts, especially on Indian roads.”
A sound very familiar to Gurgaon bikers and those living along the Gurgaon-Faridabad Highway, that reverberates with the sounds of superbikes every weekend.
However, “only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window,” he quips, as he talks about his inspirations – Dr Arnub Gupta – India’s flying doc, for his endurance in riding from Leh to Kanyakumari and 68-year-old Colonel Sohan Roy for his age endurance. On his wish-list therefore is this dream run from Leh to Arunanchal Pradesh. In fact, given the chance he’d like to someday try the Gurgaon-Bangkok route, why not? Quite possible since he has already put his endurance to test at the 4500km Mumbai-Chennai-Kanyakumari-Mmunnar-Ooty-Coorg-Goa-Mumbai ECR ride and before that the 3400km Mumbai-Jaipur-Bullet Baba Temple-Jaiselmer-Longowala-Mt Abu-Mumbai Rajasthan ride.
His guiding mantra: “Don’t tell me who you are, ride with me and I will know.”
So then, how did cooking happen? “I always wanted to cook, however, coming to Mumbai for my film, theatre and advertising assignments put me in a situation where I had to cook and I never stopped,” he dimples up. “My favourite is making breads, as we do not get good fresh bread in the market,” adds the self-taught master chef, who counts wahrewah.com, Marco Pierr White and Gordon Ramsay as his Gods, hoping one day to perfect the art of “cooking a whole lamb on open flame.” In fact, Megh also hopes to one day “cook for the temple school at the local Sector 15 temple.”
Going back to acting, Megh is all praise for Manoj Bajpai’s performance in Aligarh and having himself done a range of characters from Damle in Anurag Kashyap’s Shanghai, Pedro in Dum Maaro Dum and the hilarious Haatim in Bangistan, his advise to his students at FTII and ITASPA is to “never limit yourself.”
Just like Gurgaon, he quips, “which has grown by leaps and bounds from the time I came first came here during my stint at the Maruti Udyog in 2003.” Some of my favourite hangouts, besides Cyber Hub for its vibrant cultural aura, is Roots Café Leisure Valley, Om Sweets Sector 14, Bisque DLF Phase 2 and Jamie’s Pizzeria Ambience Mall.
Some changes Gurgaon could surely do with are – adequate infrastructure to support the traffic surge, especially during peak office hours and the rainy season that’s round the corner, when water-logging adds to the overall chaos and adequate power, like right now when the temperature is touching 40!