Barkha Singh on Bazaar Travels, life in lockdown and creating content within the confines of home
Through Bazaar Travels, a travel-series on Gobble, Barkha Singh, an actress and travel blogger takes us through four cities in India - Jodhpur, Kolkata, Delhi and Jaipur. The four-episode series gives us a sneak peek into some of the really old markets in these cities. While Jodhpur’s Sardar Market offers textiles, antiques, silverware and handicrafts and also houses Lalji Handicrafts, who manufactured some pieces of furniture for Game of Thrones, Delhi’s Chandni Chowk is a one-stop-shop for brides whether you are looking for a lehenga, jewellery or wedding cards. The Kolkata episode is an ode to the old-world-charm that the city offers while also giving taking us to Das Gupta and Co., a bookstore on Kolkata’s College Street, which was visited frequently by a young Amartya Sen.
Ahead of its fourth and last episode of the series, which will focus on Jaipur’s Johri Bazaar, Indulge spoke to Barkha, who is also country’s leading social media influencer with 1.4 million followers on Instagram, about the series and her life in lockdown. Excerpts from the conversation:
Q: We saw the first episode - Jodhpur. It seems you covered quite a lot in one day. Was it taxing? If you have to describe Jodhpur in three words, what would they be?
Imagine that! We covered everything in a single day, but also had to shoot an entire episode! It was taxing but a real pleasure and a whole lot of fun. Jodhpur in three words was vibrant, welcoming and intriguing!
Q: When did you shoot Bazaar Travels? What were the initial plans for this series and has it been affected in any way by COVID-19?
We shot in March before the lockdown and we planned to release four episodes only. However, I believe there will be a second season with more fun episodes but not sure when they will be shot.
Q: If you have to share one memory from this series, what would it be and why?
We were shooting in Chamba Lama - a shop that has been selling amazing silver jewellery since 1950 in Kolkata. Tshering Aunty (you can see her in the episode too) noticed that I selected three rings to buy but she quickly took off the price tags and told me to keep the rings as a gift and not pay. When I tried to reason, she playfully chided and asked me to go do some work. It was very touching and made me feel like a little kid in a candy store.
Q: What’s the best thing about travelling?
Travelling lets you experience different cultures and get acquainted with interesting new people. It helps you grow and evolve as a person constantly. I’ve travelled across five continents so far and can’t wait to cover the rest of the world. It’s a humbling experience.
Q: Considering you are someone who travels extensively, how are you finding this lockdown phase? Also, how are you spending your time and what are you watching and/or reading?
I’ve come to accept that staying indoors is the best course of action for everyone. I’m loving this time with my family to cook, clean, play ludo and gossip. Our usual schedules never gave us the leisure to spend so much quality time. I’m watching a lot of films - from classics to indie films, series - in English, Hindi and even foreign languages. I am enjoying personal content made by fellow-creators too! Currently reading The Quick by Lauren Owen.
Q: There must be some things that you would have put under 'when I will have time, I will do this' wishlist. Were you able to do any of it?
Yes! Creating content regularly and working out religiously were on that wishlist. Over the past couple of months, I have managed to do both these things. The content that I’ve been putting out on my Instagram and Youtube accounts are being well received by “my lovelies”. Also, physically I feel stronger and fitter than I’ve felt in a long long time.
Q: You are one of the country's leading social media influencer with over 1.4M followers on Instagram. What are the challenges of generating content during the lockdown?
I’m a glass-half-full kind of person. Even though I do miss working in person with DOPs I regularly work with, there is so much more time now to experiment with ideas and concepts. Even without my regular travel content, my engagement with my Instagram family has never been better - my videos are consistently crossing a million views on Instagram. So I guess you should have the confidence to try new things out of your comfort zone and be consistent.
Q: Where were you supposed to be and what were you supposed to do had things been normal?
I would be juggling between travelling to create content and acting in two upcoming web shows. I had five exciting international trips (Vietnam, Thailand, Greece, US and Abu Dhabi) planned for creating content for my YouTube subscribers. Those have now been indefinitely pushed back which was disappointing. All shoots are also on hold but will eventually resume once it’s safer for the community.
Q: You were pretty quirky in House Arrest. When do we see you acting again?
Thank you! Pinky sure was pretty interesting and quirky. I completed shooting for another web-series after that, besides Bazaar Travels, but a lot of future projects are awaiting post lockdown instructions given the current situation. So to answer your question - soon hopefully!
1. A piece of advice that shaped you: Live in the present moment because that’s all you have control over
2. A city you love the most: Aamchi Mumbai
3. Your fav street food: Pani puri
4. An Instagram account you often stalk/an influencer you adore: I love Chelseakauai and can watch her content for hours. In India, my boy Beyounick is very “Younick
5. The first thing you would do once things go back to normal: Spend time with my friends