I have fond memories of looking at the Kanchenjunga peak, bathed in early morning light in Darjeeling in the 1980s. Another memorable holiday was at the beautiful, sparsely-populated, tiny island of Pulau Sibu, 30 minutes off the Eastern Malaysian coast. The high point of a London visit in 2009 has to be the time spent at Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms.
My favourite meal is the thin-crust, fresh pesto pizza baked in a wood-fired oven — at the family-run Pizzeria Balognett in Trevezza [near Milan] on the banks of Lake Como last May. It was followed by a fabulous prosecco (white wine) — a meal I will remember till my last breath. The delicious Sikandari Raan at Bukhara and Peshawri is also a perennial favourite.
My earliest memories of music are buying cassettes (who even remembers cassettes any more!) of classic rock bands, Pink Floyd and The Doors, when I was 12 years old. Of course, over time, my taste has become a little more eclectic. My favourite artistes are Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, The Doors, The Police, The Eagles, Billy Joel, Queen, Nickelback and REM.
My favourite genre is historical fiction. The Churchill quartet by Michael Dobbs, set between 1938 and 1945, inspires me — it showcases the raw power of human defiance. The books narrate the story of one man (Churchill) who took on Hitler’s might, by himself. Wolf Hal by Hilary Mantel, based on the life of Thomas Cromwell (Henry VIII’s chief minister) is also gripping.