Tuesday, January 20, 2009


oatmeal soaked overnight in milk, honey, orange zest and lavender blossoms.
healthy breakfast? luxurious skin treatment?
hey, both!


Not till I actually got onto a train to go there did I realise that i do not have a ‘real-life’ picture of Kanpur at all. For me, my reference scales for the city are either farcical (saying there’s a strike in Kanpur when one cannot hear. Kan=ear, pur= place. Got it? You are supposed to laugh!), or tragic (stories of the siege in Kanpur, often written by ‘A lady resident’). And now that I have been there, I still do not have a real-life picture of the place. I was there for a day, much of which was spent indoors. What I saw of it was either before the world woke up, or as it was laying itself down to bed. But here are my impressions:

  • The area surrounding the station (as one goes towards the cantonment) is called the ‘Rail Bazaar’. This instantly makes one feel as if one is travelling between the pages of a rustling, fragrant Theroux novel.
  • In the car. The driver was playing one of those cds that appear only in the glove compartments of rented vehicles. This one has songs in that English which consists of Hindi sentences translated word for word. However, as occasionally school graffiti agrees with one’s philosophy, one of the songs made me smile as I recognized myself. Here it goes:

White-white face when I am seeing,

My heart is dance making.

Oye, happy in my heart,

My heart is dance making.

“Oh yesh, absolutely!” says my dance-making heart.

  • And finally, dinner. I took me to the rail canteen, but was studiously ignored. Finally deciding it was not worth it, I went outside the station to an omelette stand I had noticed on my way in (yes, I notice these things. It is a finely-honed survival skill). As soon as I went there, the omelette maker pulled out a bench, and made me this amazing, sizzling-hot, scrumptious egg-and bread dinner, chatting all the while. When I was done, he asked if I want chai, and got it for me from somewhere- after a long discussion about the quality of chai in the station and at the stalls. For 15 Rs or less than half the price of a canteen thali, I got warm hospitality, conversation, lovely food, chai, and a warm and comfy place to sit. And I am still smiling happily as I write.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Bangalore, Pune, Delhi. Meeting friends and family. Being warm. Talking without BSNL and google as middlemen. Talking about topics deeper than the price of vegetables. Hugging and being hugged. Heaping handfuls of the whole warm, cuddly, messy, love-and-be-loved phenomenon. Exchanging gifts of dals and spices and music and books- each gift with a different message. “I love you enough to remember what you are fond of”, “I love you enough to accept what you love”, “I love you enough to want you to have everything”, “I miss you and the things we did together”.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


here are links to some posts you might like:

In Dehradun: places to visit in Dehra, and tales of the people I have met here.
Places to eat: One of the most important issues to be resolved when one visits a new place, and also a question I am asked frequently. This is a list of my favourite places to grab a bite or two- and to make life easier each place is classified depending  on whether you can take your mum there or not.

The Bhagirathi Valley: I had recently travelled along the Bhagirathi, and spent a week near Gangotri. This would make a lovely holiday, and a series of posts describes how to do it.
The Pindari Valley: A series of posts about trekking to the Kafni glacier. An itinerary, map and descriptions of the trek. 
Weekend activities: Friday night and no idea of what to do over the weekend? go here for tips and ideas.
Accessibility: Not a mountaineer but still interested in travelling in Delhi or Uttarakhand? or simply want a feel about some of the issues involved?
Everyday Magic: as the movie channel says, in every life there is drama. Here's some of mine..