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Showing posts from 2016

A road-tripper’s recipe to beach-hopping: Sri Lanka south coast

Nay-sayers said it couldn’t be done. Well-wishers said it probably shouldn’t be done.
The fact that the mercury would rise to its zenith high in the peak summer didn’t stop us from travelling to the southern coast of Sri Lanka last month. After a rickety eight hour bus-ride that saw us descending into the plains from the hill country, we reached the bustling sea-board town of Weligama. If you are travelling along the same route, keeping a day in hand for the Yala National Park would seem like the most obvious choice. However, short of money and time – my fiancé and I headed straight for the holy trinity of sun, sea and sand.



It would be safe to say that any road trip involves the road (duh!), a pair of trusty-ish wheels and at least one companion (who you will most likely fall out with at least once a day. But regardless the offense these silly skirmishes that start with ‘let’s stop for a cola’ have a knack to smooth itself out soon enough). Like life, which’s about the journey and not…

If you travel beyond this point, you will be responsible for your own brain damage

While I have tried to keep a non-personal perspective in all my blog posts so far, today I intend to indulge myself by way of divulging my proclivity to stay on the move. Especially now because I have started to see a number of articles floating around on the world wide internet claiming that travelling isn’t all that it’s made out to be. You’re damn right. It isn’t.
It’s no wonder that social pundits have taken to condemning our generation of pretentious Millennials to excessive self-indulgence that does nobody no-good. I salute you, whoever-wherever you are for calling a spade – a spade. But not necessarily for the right reasons.
Travelling is not some Utopian idea of heroism Unless you join Greenpeace (wait! Are they any good?) or some equally sensational non-profit that claims to be saving humanity from the next zombie apocalypse (if you ask me – it’s inevitable) or helping children rehabilitate from the repercussions of society’s inclination to strike out and shoot dead anybody…

In times of War and Peace: Sri Lanka

When it comes to the people of a country, and I’m speaking as someone who doesn’t understand much about the subject, we must remember that it is culture, not war that cements our identity. Whether it was the Mughals or English or Dutch or Portuguese invading the Indian sub-continent, we have spent centuries killing each other. Today, we’ve (India) been at peace for nearly seventy years and no one realizes how amazing that is any more. Indeed, the very idea of a war again with a far flung foreign power provokes hilarity. Instead the enemy has now moved closer home. And for Sri Lanka it took a civil war to unite the people properly. After being at each other’s throats for three decades in fratricidal war, today the Tamils and the Sinhalese are now all culturally Sri Lankan.



Despite spending a fair portion of my childhood in Tamil Nadu, I knew little about the Sri Lankan civil war. Where 130,000 people perished (source: Wikipedia) one would assume that we’d have some concrete knowledge …

First-world travelers and whiners

While the term 21st century or first-world problem is being loosely thrown around for good measure, I findit is more than a meme-fied apology for moaning over trivia. Of course it also depends on which end of the phrase you stand.

The hitchhiker's guide to my apartment

Located in the west precincts of Andheri, J-504 is best described as laidback. Not the quaint sort of laidback, but the rugged unkempt kind. Nestled between two impoverished settlements at the fringe of what might be called civilised society, J-504 nevertheless enjoys a magnanimous view of Gilbert Hill. What makes it cool is that, it’s the only monolith column of black basalt rock squeezed out of Earth 66 million years ago.

The customs check happens on the fifth floor of a rundown building, through a door that has a portal-like opening at its centre. The locals are likely to peer at you annoyed in case of a surprise visit. Trespassers like salesmen and anyone in want of money are received with caution and are most likely to have their visa shortly rejected.

Varanasi: A sensory pandemonium

Whether it is praying or bathing, shaving, washing dirty laundry or mourning the dead; activities that are generally considered private happen in full public view in Varanasi. And the spectacle begins at the crack of dawn. That is Benaras or Varanasi or Kashi, if you may, the heart of Hindu India, with the paradoxes laid out in perfect sequence.

Located on the north shore of the Ganges, the city is bound by its two tributaries Varuna and Assi from north to south. And hence, the name Varanasi. Among the oldest cities in the world, this spiritual capital of India is a magnet for the devout and the devil in search of salvation.



There’s the old sadhu with a crazy hairdo making monkeys dance and prance to his bidding; strange men in saffron willing to purge your soul at the going rate of Rs 300; European cafes and bakeries lining streets that smell of sun-baked urine; and a lot of barber shops for no apparent reason. As the dozen different stimuli reel through your senses, Varanasi could …

Prabalgad: A cross-country trek

People have different adjectives for it; extreme travel, adventure, cross-country, camping... but the idea remains the same. Holidays that inject freshness, takes you someplace unusual, making you do things that you wouldn’t be normally be doing. While it’s easy to talk and romanticise such escapades, walking the talk is a different story all together. In fact it took me eight months out of last year to take my first baby step towards the lesser trodden path. To be more specific, to Prabalgad.