Madurai of all Feelings

People bail out of plans, but when you have to prove to yourself that you are a strong, independent woman who need no one, it becomes a Thomas Hardy novel (fatalism? destiny?). I have been dreaming of Madurai for a long time and this week was the only chance in the rather hectic college schedule….

A Dasara in the Kingdom of Mysore

“Be nice to bus conductors in Karnataka. You never know who might turn out to be the next Rajnikanth.” Joshia (a portmanteau of Olivia and Joshi), has aptly cautioned us in the crisp morning sunshine at the Central Bus Station in Mysore. What followed was two days of unending wandering, exhaustion and what not! 8th…

Nagapattinam or the Day of Lollipops and Lies

Travelogues from the South: Nagapattinam and Karaikal 3 am, Velankanni/ Karaikal Express The ladies in the compartment have stopped fighting. Some of them have fallen asleep. There is a makeshift cradle made of a saree in front of me with a three year old girl in it. Ranjani is asleep as well. Not an inch…

City of Happy Things

  When I write this I am extremely happy. In fact I am so happy that even if you punched me right in the face, I would still give you a hug, pat your shoulders and drag you to a candy shop to buy you a handful of strawberry jellies. And the best thing is…

Capital Diaries: Three Days of Thiruvananthapuram. Day 1

NEVER TRUST THE MONDAY Expenditure: Rupees 107,   No: of hours spent outside home: 8,   No: of Eclairs toffee: 8 7 AM. HOME: Woke up to Layla and sat in some yoga meditation position, waiting. You better start now and wrap up in five minutes. I am waiting.  But if you so much as sneeze even…

Profoundly Swiss!

  Unending expanse of rapeseed fields spread over hills and valleys like a yellow carpet. Occasionally a small fenced hill populated by a herd of brown and white cows. Huge distant mountains capped in white forming a girdle around the country atmosphere: This is the rural Switzerland.       The Zurich International Airport was…

Walking the Black Town

Two weeks of hiatus is enough motivation to pack the bag again. Frequent coffee, sleepless nights and junk food in preparation for the semester exams can suck life out of our soul. Not that exams were any good, but the fact that I sat in the examination hall for three hours is something I should…

Kids these days…

  Lying on the grass staring into the blue sky is traditionally overrated. But at that end of the world, it is perhaps the best thing that could happen to you. Parrots and sparrows weave out one endless composition. The evening wind is surprisingly cool. The neem leaves rustle and the palmyra trees sway according…

Colonial Cousins: The Fort, the Church and the Garden

The post-quiz syndrome is a difficult phase in our lives. There is so much of enthusiasm, planning and excitement which usually reduces to a cup of filter coffee at midnight from Ramu. In an effort to negate this statement, one fine February morning Samuel, Varsha and I decided to walk around Chennai. The finance minister…

Kanchying Twice: To Forget Or Not To Forget

Kanchipuram demands to be visited twice, because I did. After talking nonsense in front of the class for three times in a week on topics like my choice, feminism, literary studies and The God of Small Things, I wanted to get away. Somehow at 1:05 am on Saturday, Kanchipuram struck. Despite having visited the same…

Pilgrims’ Progress: Gangaikondacholapuram and Thanjavur

The trippiest thing that I ever learned from the NCERT 7th grade History Textbook is to pronounce ‘Gangaikondacholapuram’. It wasn’t planned. Nor was Gangaikondacholapuram in our remotest thoughts, until Google told us. Stranded at the Kumbakonam station, the only thing that was left to do was to do nothing. The stares directed towards us meant…