"Steer yourself in any direction you choose" Sowmya Rao Vijaymohan, founder, Très

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularised by Marcel Proust, the French essayist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Sowmya Rao Vijaymohan is the woman behind Très, a private, by-invite showing of the best boutique, hotels, lodges, hideaways, camps and retreats in India. As founder and director of this annual event, she aims to engage with bespoke tour operators and media from India and overseas, alongside an eclectic mix of world travellers. The event also hosts speakers on hospitality and related topics to add value to the concept of experiential travel in the sub-continent.  

Sowmya’s formative years were spent on tennis courts in a multitude of cities across India, playing the sport at a National level. While studying literature from Lady Sri Ram College, followed by Post Graduation in communication from Indian Institute of Mass Communication she continued to travel, exploring countries by taking up short term assignments with the International Tennis Federation as a White Badge Umpire for tennis tournaments.

She pursued a career in advertising and PR before deciding to bid adieu to her corporate life, and pursue her love for travel. In 2006, Sowmya along with her partner conceptualised and built RARE - a marketing and representation company for small and off-beat boutique hotels across India. Last year, she decided to move on from RARE to focus on realising her vision of a global-standard inclusive event platform dedicated towards showcasing the Indian subcontinent as a destination for leisure, luxury and inspirational travel. She is also currently exploring her passion for food, and while travelling, she is often seen hunkering around the local kitchens and markets for recipes and stories.

Here are her responses to our Proust questionnaire…

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness to me is fulfillment at a personal and professional level. At a personal level, I hope to bring a sense of joy to my family along with managing to give back to the society at some level. At a professional level, I would like my involvement in my work to be more wholesome and I would like to contribute to the trade with the aim of filling a gap and creating value.

What is your greatest fear?

Not being able to lead an active life. 

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?


What is the trait you most deplore in others?


What is your greatest extravagance?

Having my parents spend time with me.

What is your current state of mind?

Charged and excited with a degree of tentativeness

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Silence. In this day and age, it is very important to speak your mind.

On what occasions do you lie?

Only when it may cause undue harm to some I care about.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?

The somewhat predictable acceptance of perceived body flaws is one of the finest parts of growing older. The triviality of the physical appearance no longer bothers me.

Which living person do you most despise?

I don't despise any living person.

What is the quality you most like in a man?


What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Ambition and the ability to balance personal and professional life.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?


What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My daughter.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I love dancing and the fact that I have two left foot does not seem to deter me. So, I would have loved to be a naturally talented dancer.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would have loved to have found the time to learn to cook from my grandmother as I am working on a family cookbook.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My daughter.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I'd rather focus on what I have with me right now in this life than entertain thoughts like these.

Where would you most like to live?

I have often thought of moving to a calm and quiet place but for me, home will always be where I have my family around me.

What is your most treasured possession?

My family, my time and my handbags.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

I haven't considered it and I don't think I will anytime soon.

What is your favourite occupation?

It is what I'm doing - I have managed to turn my passion for travel into my profession and I am constantly thinking of ways to get me out of Gurgaon and head out for a work trip to a boutique hotel, situated in an off-beat destination or looking at ways to explore a city differently.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Forthrightness and forgiveness.

What do you most value in your friends?


Who are your favourite writers?

Jane Austen, Dr Seuss, Haruki Murakami and Thiruvalluvar

Who is your hero of fiction?

Indiana Jones - I love the character for his charisma and his courageous yet relatable adventures in exotic lands.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I probably don't identify with any historical figure but I am greatly inspired by the qualities of M S Subbulakshmi and Amrita Shergil.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My father.

What is your favourite name?


What is it that you most dislike?


What is your greatest regret?

I have no regrets. There have been events in my life that I have learnt from but I have no regrets.

How would you like to die?

 Knowing I lived a rich life and chased my dreams.

What is your favourite journey?

The three-month sabbatical that my husband and I took to travel across South India. I call it a journey as by the end of it, the trip had changed us.

What is your motto

As Dr Seuss says, "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose".