• 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…

  • Britain,  Travel

    How To Turn One of Britain’s Best Walks Into An Adventure

    I sat at my writing desk yesterday, staring at the snow gathering fast and thick before the eyes, coating the world outside with a thick layer of icing, rather assiduously. But I found myself thinking of Malham Dales. We were there last year around this time. It is a powerful memory, the kinds that stick with every iota of detail lodged into the cells, for our walk there had gathered momentum, assumed a life of its own. Now, this is a walk that has recently been declared by ITV to be amongst the top three in its list of a hundred ‘rambles, scrambles and ambles’ in Britain and North Ireland.…

  • Travel

    Starting Afresh With a New Host

    I have been struggling. Changes are such demons and this change is going to take some time to sink in as a good thing. You see, I have shifted host providers for my blog. I have no idea about the sanity of this decision because what it is doing right now, and for some time now, is that it has been driving me up the wall and beyond. I have lost all the likes on all my posts. I cannot see my followers on the dashboard. My new follows have been showing up on a defunct wordpress.com link. Cue: ginormous silent scream. I even had to manually enter links into…

  • Britain

    The Zoo With the Story

    In the spring of 2013, we had spent a particularly quirky weekend in the West Country with friends. It was rounded off by drifting into Dartmoor National Park. Now if you are traversing the length and breadth of its vast moorlands, you know you have the Dartmoor Zoological Park at hand. A family-owned affair that was featured in the film, We Bought a Zoo. A zoo that was in a derelict state and its animals at threat of being put down when it was bought by a freelance journalist and his art editor wife. That was in 2006. Since then Benjamin Mee lives in the wildlife park with his two children…

  • North America

    The Return of the Squirrel

    I can feel the march of spring. Could be a flash in the pan though. Smoky blue days making way for sunny ones replete with the network of bare branches and portly natives returning to scrounge nuts. But then there are hardly any, so with bushy tails fanning above their backs they scamper right up to you and rear upon their minuscule hind legs just like the comical meerkats you cooed over in Dartmoor.

  • europe

    Pest to Buda: The Road to Yesterday

    From the busy bohemian affair that is Pest, Buda is a world away. It is as if the Danube which bisects these two cities injects the air with a change that is palpable as you make your way to the capital of medieval Hungary. The good Welsh folk would declare us tup to have opted for a walking tour on a morning that proceeded to get distressingly foggy and frigid. But we will run with Kurt Vonnegut here. That “bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.” There was drama on the square outside St. Stephen’s Basilica. A bomb scare. Police arriving officiously and dawdlers scuttling equally hastily. We had left…

  • europe

    Portraits from Pest

    In the flat plains of Pest, which the Hungarian calls Peshth, we took over the city on foot. It drove our friend Vee up the wall, those long evening walks by the Danube when the fingers ached with a strange intensity, startled by the piercing cold of the night when even breathing seemed like a bad idea. Lights twinkled through the fog that sat thick upon Gellért Hill high above us as we crossed the Liberty Bridge, the bridge that looks like it was fashioned out of turquoise metal and ebullience. The kind of ebullience that comes with freedom, freedom from the Nazis. But then the smothering of that very…

  • Travel

    The Sassy Winter Spirit of Budapest

    I overheard a conversation at a Christmas stall in Bryant Park in the first couple of weeks in December last year. No darling, I do not make it my business to stand around people earwigging, but in this case I was hovering near a stall of fairy lights wondering if it was the owner who was gabbling rather animatedly with another woman about the dilemma between choosing Budapest and Prague. I was tempted to squeak in with my two bits about both but it seemed then that the other woman had a handle on the situation. She noted: ‘For me, it is Budapest.’ Those five words settle Adi and mine…

  • North America

    A February Afternoon

    My face is tingling and my fingers which have been throbbing because I kept them long enough outside the pockets to click a few images of the Hudson, frozen in parts, is thawing and humming alongside. I am still shivering though my nose is telling me that it is relieved to be back inside again, breathing the warm cosiness that is home. I have been feeling strangely out of sorts for some time now. Ennui sounds immeasurably better than it feels. Who knows why I have been feeling this way but I shall tell you now that the icy winds by the Hudson whip them right out of the body.…