The Mother of All Festivals

At 5 in the evening the sky has already turned dark. There may be a few stars here and there but most of them are camouflaged by thick clouds that lurk low. There is no sight of the moon either, or maybe it is hiding somewhere behind the imposing hoardings dotting the skyline of the …

Dum Pukht Begum’s, An Aristocratic Culinary Journey in Hyderabad

The first thing that catches the eye is the crystal chandelier; amethyst couches and gilded candle-stands are next, and, by the time you enter the carpeted hall, resplendent with arches and columns, china and crystals, you are certain that you are in an aristocratic Nizami home, but then, Dum Pukht Begum’s is no less than …

#metoo, even though I wish I could say #notme

#Metoo So what if not in workplace. Every woman I know has a #metoo. It ought to stop. Now.

That Girl In Muddy Boots

I have been thinking long and hard. I have read through every #metoo post that has appeared on my timeline in the last few days. I have felt the pain in each of them, I have understood the anger behind every story, and, needless to say, I see myself or someone I know in all of them. Even though I always knew molestation, harassment, and sexual abuse is rampant, these stories have filled me with a deep sense of helplessness. Or should I say fatigue?

Fatigue of fighting all the time. Fatigue of watching my back every second of the day. Fatigue of looking at every man with suspicion. Fatigue of checking on the eye and hand movements of every friend and relative who is close to me, my sister, my daughter, my niece, my friend, my cousin…

I was never taught to stay quiet about the wrong that was…

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Stress Anxiety Depression: Things You Can Do To Counter It

It happens so quietly that you cannot prepare for it, and before you know, you are enveloped in its grip so tight that escape seems impossible. So what does one do? Does one sit in a corner with the head bowed, eyes shut, and arms tightly wrapped, waiting for it to leave, or does one …

Roll, Puchka, Biryani and Mishti — The best eats of Kolkata’s Durga Puja

Come Puja and the city of Calcutta turns into a life-size food court. Streets are lined with stalls, people queue outside eateries, and plates full of food are passed between family and friends. Then there is bhog, the most important part of any Puja. On some days it comprises of simple khichdi and labda, on …

The Bhuj House: Where History Meets Hospitality.

The Bhuj House. A quaint heritage home in faraway Kutch, The Bhuj House is love at first sight. Nestled between the Bhujia Hill and the walled city of Bhuj, the homestay run by Jehan and Katie Bhujwala, dates back to the 1890s and maintains the old world charm of its heydays. About the homestay. Built …

Pujo like a Pro – A guide to Kolkata’s Durga Puja.

There are two types of people in this world: one) who love Durga Puja, two) who hate Durga Puja. There is another tiny variety though -- of people who hopped over the fence somewhere along the way. I belong to that category. Making the switch is not, however, the easiest thing even if you are …

Eest: An ode to Asian flavours

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the newly revamped Eest, an Asian outpost in Westin Gurgaon and sample their new menu by chef Hashimoto, chef Karan, chef Jatsalid and team. The restaurant which opened its gates back in 2010, has recently revamped the space and menu and the renovation has given the restaurant …

A Peek Into The World of Curries.

I have a confession to make -- I do not watch TV. No, I am serious -- I actually do not. No, Amazon, no Netflix, no Tata Sky. Here's the thing, find TV a huge waste of time -- imagine what all you can do in 2 hrs every day instead of wasting them in …

Young Chef’s Association: Cooking together for a sustainable future.

Chefs from across the country are teaming up under a single banner, to help each other serve local and source sustainable On August 28, 2018, a bunch of young chefs got together to do something unique: they learnt how to use the entire banana plant in their kitchens. The idea was to utilise all parts …

Chota Kothi — Back to Basics and Peaceful Existence.

Nestled between fluorescent green trees, crimson earth and clear azure sky, Chotta Kothi, located in the heart of West Bengal, is an inviting, warm, and charming place. Surrounded by an expansive thicket, inhabited by birds, bees, and fireflies, the cottage is perfect for a quiet weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the busy …

The Wine Company — Pairing New Flavours With Old Wines

That Sarah Todd loves Indian food is no surprise. The Model turned chef had won hearts when she made Alu-Gobhi at Master Chef Australia in 2014. Her fan following only grew after she opened Antares in Goa and curated the menu for The Wine Rack in Mumbai. Sarah, however, had so far been absent from …

My Bond with Ruskin Bond

Have you ever wept while reading a book? Not because you have fallen in love with the hero and he is dead, or because the heroine has cancer and she may not live – but, because the words have touched your soul. Have you sobbed after a book has ended? Have you ever agonized over …

BAT Travels — Travel Partners to India’s Visually Impaired.

Early in June 2018, a group of travellers got together to explore Sikkim. Their itinerary for the holiday included monastery visits, trekking, zip lining, tea tasting, forest trails, and climbs at the Nathula Pass. Pretty regular for any trip to the state, except that the group wasn’t regular – one-third of them could not see. …

A food Trail in Old Delhi — Minus the Clichés.

Hot, humid, dusty, and congested, the lanes of Old Delhi can overwhelm the most experienced, but, if one can look beyond the heat and dust, the narrow labyrinths of Shahjahan’s capital reward with treasures unlike any other. While most of us see the food of the walled city through a handful of restaurants – and …

August Encounters

So, I decide to share bits and pieces of my old writing here, because, it feels good to read what I wrote many years ago. This is one such. It talks about how I found my feet as a writer -- and am glad, I am still writing.  August, somehow, happens to be an overwhelming …

Pakodis — The Original Snack of India.

The thing about home cooked food is that you often take it for granted. You believe that it is something ordinary which doesn't need much attention -- it is made at home everyday after all, how special can it be? But growing up teaches you how these everyday foods are truly special -- as are …

Walking in The Rain..

There was a time when I wrote more fiction than travel, when I wrote little poems on the back of diaries, when I day dreamt all day and wrote all night. This story is one such. Written on an impulse on a rainy day. Even through its raw, it still remains my favorite. _________________________________________________________________________________________ A, …

Sirsasana and Smoothie

When it comes to yoga, everything  becomes a trend –studios, apparel, mats, and now cafés. The latest trend in F&B, these quaint little places often come attached to a yoga studio; sometimes they are stand-alone too, either way they provide an opportunity to eat clean and green often in a contemporary and hip setting. Here …

Mathew Cafe, Delhi where North meets South

What are the first few things that come to mind when we talk about the street food in Delhi? Golgappe? Chole-Bhature? or Bread Pakode? What if we tell you there is a place hidden in Delhi’s streets that serves scrumptious dosas and parottas, idli and upma? Mathew Café stands inconspicuously among other food shacks on …

Lebua, Lucknow — A Poetry in Brick and Mortar

Lucknow is known world over for its cuisine and culture, but not many know that until not very long ago, the city was also known for its architectural finesse and design sensibilities. Thanks to the newly opened lebua Lucknow, a heritage property, the world is waking up to Lucknow’s lost architectural splendour – one courtyard …

Birdsong and Beyond — A Himalyan Getaway You’d Never Want To Leave

It is the view you notice first. The horizon awash with myriad hues of the afternoon sun interjected by steep snow-capped mountains. The crisp breeze, chirping birds, verdant greens, and wildflowers have you next, and before you know the fatigue of hours of travel has dissipated in the fresh mountain air. We’re at the very …

The revival of Poro – and Irani cafès with Parsi overtones.

It is a busy day at the café, bearers flit between tables balancing trays of tea cups and saucers of bun-maska. Waiters, meanwhile, scribble orders in a jiffy – Poro, Akuri, French toast, Keema Pav, Rasta Sandwhich, Mawa Cake. The place is abuzz with a steady drone of guests; the air is fragrant with aroma …

What Lucknow Wakes Up To (No, it is not Jalebi).

At 6:30 in the morning you’d expect the business district of any town to be quiet and sleepy. With the offices yet to open and public yet to trickle in, it is only an appropriate assumption to be made. Until you have seen this little shop in the middle of the capital city of Lucknow, …

Ghent: Medieval yet Modern

Ghent is often referred to as the hidden treasure of Belgium. A lesser-known university town, which is overlooked in elaborate itineraries, Ghent happens to be an eclectic blend of traditional and modern. Dominated by the Gothic Bell-tower, the Belfry and the medieval count’s castle, the town is all about cobbled streets, narrow lanes, gliding tramcars …

Ramzaan in the City of Wajid Ali Shah – Lucknow

Being in Lucknow during Ramzaan is a treat for all your senses -- touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. It is nothing like anything anywhere else. From the Korma and Kebab at Tundey, to the Biriyani and Nihari at Chowk, to the sheermaals, ulte tave ke parathe, seviyan, kheer, kulfi, everything is a sensory overload. …

Depression: and How You Live with it

The worst thing about anxiety, worthlessness, polarity and chronic stress is the way they affect your relationships. They make you do things to people you'd normally not do. It makes people do things to you that they normally wouldn't. In this state of SAD—Stress, Anxiety and/or Depression—you sometimes, for no valid reason, spew venom on …

Khajuraho: A Complete Guide To The City of Love.

Think of a temple town in India and images of dusty lanes, congested streets and crowded markets will float in your head. But what if we tell you that there is one temple town in the heart of the country, which is neither crowded, nor dirty; there are no congested streets and the lanes are …

Bisnupur — Red Earth, Blue Sky.

At ten in the morning you’d expect any tourist place to have people around. You would also expect to get basic nourishment, and directions to the touristy ‘spots’ the town is famous for. But then Bishnupur is hardly a tourist place. A tiny town, that appears to be more of a hamlet, Bishnupur sits right …

El Chico — Of Food, Friendship and Memories

If you’re in Allahabad, then you need to visit El Chico at least once. The restaurant’s range of eat treats is sure to bring you back. In 1964, a young man named Ganesh Rai went on a world tour. Among the many things he brought back with him, was the love for the café culture …

Shantiniketan — What When How, The Definitive Guide.

Shantiniketan is known world over for its contribution to education, arts, and literature, but Rabindranath Tagore’s town is much more than that. With quirky instagrammable spots, quiet bookstores, quaint cafés, colourful bazaars, sparkling rivulets and golden forests, there is a lot to do and see in the seemingly small town. Here’s how you can make …

Vegetarians, there is more to Lucknow than the kabab

One watches in awe as the man on the griddle deftly rolls mashed potato and dunks it into smoking oil. He flips the patty cautiously until it is fried to a golden perfection. Next, he transfers it on to a pattal (dried leaf plate) for dressing. First comes the yogurt, then tamarind chutney, followed by …

Paris: The Moveable Feast

A group of young men and women dressed in running gear practiced diligently on a quiet street, cheering each other loudly. The street was empty but for the odd vehicle that silently passed by. The sun had started to set, casting its golden glow on the athletes and the surroundings; the sky, meanwhile, turned a …

A Town Called Tata.

Scraps from the steel plant adorn the streets, wide tree lined avenues invite you for a walk; marketplaces with small shops and tiled rooftops take you back in time, and large bungalows with beautiful lawns make you want to retire in them. Jamshedpur is a town made of dreams. And so, even though we have …

Tundey: Kabab, Biriyani, and a 102 year old Tradition.

“I will have four kababs, two parathas and half biryani,” a lady orders without looking at the menu. “Two half biryanis to eat and 4 kebabs and 2 parathas pack” echoes the voice from next table. “Bhaiya do plate biriyani pack aur kabab parathe khane ke liye,” says the person behind me. A quick glance …

Mirchi Ka Achaar, or how I Turned into My Mother.

As a young girl I had imagined myself doing all sorts of things. These ranged from teaching in schools to working in a bank, from being an actor and giving interviews for magazine (yes, yes!), to living in a foreign land as a scholar (don't ask!), but never had I imagined myself making achaar. Making …

Salli Boti, Berry Pulav, and K Rustomji

When it comes to Parsi food, old Bombay is a gold mine. There are numerous establishments – some well known, others not so famous – that offer the various culinary delights of the community to all and sundry. To be in South Bombay, and not sample Parsi food therefore is nothing short of sacrilege. Having …

At Home With Bapu

A trip to Porbandar had never been on my travel list, but when I found the opportunity to visit the town, although just for a few hours, I could not let it pass. Located in between the holy towns of Dwarka and Somnath, along the coast of Gujrat, Porbandar is a pilgrimage in its own …

That Sunday Afternoon

Around 1:3o on a Sunday afternoon the sun was bright and hot, but the cool breeze flowing in from the ocean seemed to be apologizing on his behalf even as I walked into the bus terminal, pulling along a much heavier bag than I had pulled out of the same bus terminal the morning before. …