• North America

    The Blue Star of the Lower East Side

    I ended up in China Town the other day. I was ambling along Eldridge Street in Manhattan when I spotted this old building that towered above me with its many Moorish arches. The promise of magnificence drew me in. The plaque declared it to be a synagogue that has been turned into a museum. A free museum. Now free museums thrill me. I queued up for hours outside the Museo del Prado in Madrid one freezing day, and got caught in a downpour, but did it deter me? No sir. It just meant that I spent the next few days laid down with a solid fever. Yet I had bagged a free…

  • europe,  Travel

    A Day in Lund

    As far as university towns go, traipsing around them in Europe awakes in me the urge to go back to a life as a student. Now that is stating something. The day I finished labouring over science in high school, which only drove me into the arms of my original love, English literature, I was doing fifty jigs a minute. And, that day that I held my first paycheck in the offices of the Times of India: Exquisite. I was empowered. By the control I had over my own life. I had left the world of studying and loathsome exams behind. Yet finding myself in university towns like Leuven or…

  • North America

    This Spring of Contrasts

    I had my first sighting of the leaves. Tiny green leaves are sprouting on the smaller plants in fits and starts all over the park. But the older trees, they are stubborn. They are holding onto status quo. This is a spring when we have had snatches of days that could not have been more at odds with each other. If there have been days of liquid sunshine with skies to match, snow has coated the boughs on days, and then there was that day when the fog was thick and heavy, it sat upon my eyelashes as I went out for a run. And the sunsets, let me not…

  • North America

    Serendipity in the Upper West Side

    One frightfully cold day, we were in the Upper West Side, lured by the promise of a bazaar of food trucks. The furious wind made indents everywhere. The exposed bits. Face, hair, ankles. And the unexposed bits. So that the sight of a fenced-in enclosure packed with rows of food trucks was comforting. As expected, a cornucopia of food and people. Kiwi-style pies, South Indian dosas, Lebanese grub. I can tell you that there were at least a dozen more trucks promising lobster to tacos and more. I can also tell you that we meekly fell at the last hurdle. Queues that grew longer by the second. There was not…

  • europe,  Travel

    Granite and Gallurese

    It is but providence that we winded up in the Gallura region. Parul and I had laid our hands upon one of those travel deals that threw in a four-day stay at a resort and the cheapest flight they could source with Ryan Air. The rider to the deal was that this resort was in Olbia, far away from the southern parts which we wanted to see, and Adi was thunderstruck by our impulsiveness at not checking anything before booking our island holiday. My friend and I were both non-drivers, you see. On an island where everything is dependent upon your own mode of conveyance, this was not a happy…

  • europe

    Sardinia’s Wild Heart Beats in Barbagia

    The isolated mien of the island of Sardinia is compounded by its insistence on keeping to itself and shying away from mainland Italy. The Sardinians do not repose faith in Rome. Their grouse is that they have been sidelined, rather monstrously. A politician who doubles up as a tour guide, the vivacious Enza, told us about the political climate of her country as she drove us in her trusty old car through the winding mountainous roads of Barbagia. I was enamoured of that dramatic landscape. Villages with their bevy of granite houses and terracotta roofs sat comfortably in valleys that seemed to have been scooped out of limestone mountains. Swathes of…

  • europe,  Travel

    The Classical Bandits of Sardinia

    They live in Orgosolo, they say. But in the same breath they maintain that vendettas and violence have long vanished from the inland villages of Sardinia. In the spring of 2015, around this time, a girl friend and I took a flight into Alghero. To land upon the island that sits in the middle of the Tyrrhenian Sea, surrounded by the Balearic islands, the Italian peninsula and Corsica, and yet is a world unto its own. A rugged land where the air is ripe with possibilities. Here there are no high-street chains for clothing and coffee stores, no concrete jungles to feel lost in, and certainly none of the big…

  • North America

    The Darling Buds of March

    They are here. The tiny buds with their fuzzy pale pink pouts. And I can feel the familiar itch again, on this first day of spring. The itch to travel. To catch the breeze as I set my eyes upon places old and new, meet people, listen to their stories, climb hills, cuddle a bear or two (if the old boys are up for it), and make new memories. What’s on your list this spring?

  • Britain,  Travel

    Dartmoor National Park: Into the Wild Landscape of Devon

    A man with his riding crop sat astride a horse that trotted down the country roads and in his wake, a stream of cars crawled, waiting for the traffic in the opposite direction to ease before they could contemplate taking the jump and overtake the horse. Such are the sights that are common on the winding lanes and roads in the English countryside. It is remarkable by the very absence of any tooting of horns. You might waggle your head here, and remark in an offhand manner, tut, but it is the British politeness at work here. Or, it could be the rigorous driving tests that have felled many an…

  • North America

    Blood Orange Chocolate Brownies: Bring the Booty to Mamma

    It has been freezing outside and the sun has been been a pale incarnation of itself ever since the snow storm swept through my part of the country. It started innocuously, with no hint the evening before of what was to come. Surely the manager at our condominium had sent out an e-mail warning us of a state of emergency declared by the governor. But you know what, in all my inexperience of East Coast weather warnings, I declared it bull. In the recent past, I have stayed back home with news of impending storms. Weather advisories showing up on the phone as orange beacons of alarm. Too frequently. But…