For The Love of Madras

 "But why did you go to Chennai again? Do you have family there?" It was the fifth time I was being asked this, or may be the tenth, I don't quite remember, and like all other times I had no answer. Cities, like people, often come into your life unannounced. They stay with you until …

Mornings At Mavalli

About fifty odd men, all with grey hair and receding hairlines, stand in and around the coffee room sipping aromatic coffee from identical white cups. Outside, on the pavement, a hawker sets up his wares – handkerchiefs, nail cutters, combs, lighters, wristwatches. Diagonally opposite of him is a newspaper vendor already doing brisk business. The …

This Garden Rocks

I arrive at the Rock Garden on a hot, sultry evening shortly after Nek Chand’s demise. His death has been closely and eerily followed by Le Corbusier’s and has expedited my forever pending trip to Chandigarh. And I do not seem to be the only one: the place is swarming with people of all shapes …

I first notice the flags. Thousands of big and small pieces of red, blue, green and yellow fabric hanging from thin ropes fluttering in the abundant monsoon breeze. Some are tied in between tall, thin silver-oak trunks, some to tall poles. They have appeared suddenly among lush green fields and they disappear as quickly – …

In Search of Solitude

At ten in the morning, the sun is as bright as it is hot. It is hard to keep your eyes open without a pair of sunglasses on just as it is difficult to stand in the sun for long without having to scurry for cover ever now & then. Shade is not that easy …

A Train Through Toyland

Imagine a world where a train full of candies welcomes you on arrival. Imagine perfectly-paved roads sprinkled with vintage cars, Jeeps and vans. Imagine terraced houses from Britain, row houses from Spain, American bungalows and French quarters. Imagine châteaus and castles, windmills and rope ways, rivers and canals, bridges and tunnels, hills and valleys. Imagine …

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. …