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My favourite pastime while riding public transport in Kerala is listening to conversations of co-passengers especially when they are talking into their mobile phones. Then, this is like saying the bomber decides to die as his ticking torso goes off – there is not much choice here as they practically declaim into their devices. And this isn’t due to the engine din or network issues: my fellow folks love to be heard and to display publicly that somebody is actually listening … More»

 
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The only woman passenger in the entire coach was furious and scared. Maybe she was furious because she was scared. As she huffed her way to the next, more inhabited, coach on the Patna Rajdhani, she kept taking photographs and venting.
“I am going to send it to Prabhu right away. He should see the scam for himself.” She said clicking.
One of the photographs, I think, has me in it. I am looking part dejected – she was an okay-looking sort … More»

The young sand sculptor was visibly chuffed as he stepped back to enjoy his creation – a mermaid. Recognisable as one from all angles. It was his first ever work, he claimed, beaming. I expressed a sincere appreciation and asked all the right questions – his name, place, where he stayed and even what he studied. Just as we were about to leave, the boys stepped in with their own questions. I braced myself.
“Do you believe in mermaids?” Asked the … More»

The balmy gale that was lashing at me, trying to throw me, became a full-blown storm now. Motorcycling toward Delhi along the NH1, I was the only one on the road. Everyone else seemed to have scuttled to the safety of dhabas, parked beneath juddering awnings, huddled inside maybe over chole bhatura and lassi waiting it out. 
There was no way I could have seen it coming. Nor heard. There was nary a whistle nor a rustle. There was no dry … More»

You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig
The mangy mutt watched me pack my gear with unblinking eyes teary under the neon street light. Gauging for threat it observed me limp around the motorcycle – from a gout flare-up the previous day – before limping away itself. It was 4 AM and I had the whole neighbourhood to myself. A new … More»

(This is a post on some people and events that led to my eponymous travel short. If it is the sights that interests you, just click on here here: Here.)
The view from my embowered window threw up whole lives. The podgy old lady in the heavily mirror-worked Rajasthani gypsy attire left her home each morning at eight for a north cliff shop to clean up and hawk the rest of the day. She returned at 10 in the night, a … More»

Nothing moves like the road. From where I sat, staring ahead, I felt like I was hurled bodily into a wide-angled void. Into that bluish-green miasmic space between heaven and earth. Trees and houses, shops and hotels, people, ponds, fields and animals, lamp posts and electric wires blurred past as if some celestial puppetry. Between small townships were vast open fields which accorded unhindered views of rocky outcrops with the mandatory shrine on top. I felt like the eye of … More»

The earth may be cruel but the sea is heartless. Henry Miller, The Colossus of Maroussi.
Filming the artisanal thattumadi way of fishing was secondary, the foremost task was to not come in the way.
A maali…aisa maali…
Some of the crew swayed precariously over the gunwale in underwear, ferrying bucketful of fresh water and passing a missing sparkplug.
A maali…aisa maali…
They hollered expletive-laden instructions at each other while pulling up the madi, or the net, by the thattu, which was the … More»

“Hello! I am THE guide here. The writer was just trying to be more smart than what he really is by giving you some big ‘Lonely Plant-like’ impression with the headline. Like he knows everything there is to Kerala – top five, bottom three, middle one, things to do, food to eat, etc. Even god doesn’t know what next in His own country. Just you are walking on the road and the only people you see are policemen and you … More»

Extreme travel situations have sometimes forced hunger on me. While I don’t know about tasting blood as an outcome of absolute, continued hunger as some say, what I do know is that it makes one angry at first and then desperate. Desperation can be dangerous – it even snaps the will to live in some. So, in a way, I knew why Rama Rajesh was flooring it one late February morning around Varkala town. He zipped from the railway station … More»

When the rest of the country celebrates saving a life with gallantry awards, honours and cash tributes, there is a bunch for whom saving lives is everyday. Other lives are their living; on any given day during peak tourist season they save at least one. That they are paid for doing this doesn’t diminish the heroism involved, the willingness to imperil their own lives for that of another, a perfect stranger, and sometimes even knuckling under shattered joints and dislocated … More»

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