The Outsiders’ Guide to Madras (Chennai)

Madras. The fifth city I have stayed in. Well, sixth almost, if you count my omnipresence in Bombay during my Pune days. I came here in 2009 and there’s been no looking back since then. Quite a few people I know don’t get it. The city has bad weather; Tamil is not the easiest language to understand; and well, the naysayers have a pretty long list! Changing people’s opinions can be a futile exercise and there is absolutely nothing in this whole wide world, without a few cons. I say change your perspective. Happiness too is just a point of view, at the end of the day. 🙂 Now, getting down to business. Continue reading “The Outsiders’ Guide to Madras (Chennai)”

After Chaar Dhaam: Notes from hindsight

Dated – May, 2013

Two weeks after we completed our 10 day trip, there were cloud bursts and flash floods in Uttarakhand. The worst hit places were Rudraprayag, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The very same places I stood with Ma and Baba. They say thousands have died. The calamity was of an unimaginable scale. My first thought as I read the news was what if..what if I was standing there with my folks. What if while I made them smile for the hundredth photo, a massive roar caught us off-guard. Continue reading “After Chaar Dhaam: Notes from hindsight”

Top of the World – Day Three at Kedarnath

Dated – May, 2013

The most spell-binding moments in life happen in the least expected places. And when it happens, there’s a sense of calm that comes over. You’re standing among thousands, yet in that one moment you could probably be the only person in this world. These moments just take your breath away. It struck me with such a force today, I almost had tears in my eyes. We were standing in front of the Kedarnath temple. Ice capped peaks towered over us. Last remnants of sunlight glistened on the ice. And suddenly, candles were lit and everyone started singing. Continue reading “Top of the World – Day Three at Kedarnath”

From the mountains – Day Two

Dated – May, 2013

We’re sitting in this place called Chowranghikhal. The wolf like dog refuses to leave our side. As a family, we are not very dog-friendly you know. So, am watching Ma make half-hearted attempts at shooing Mr. I-want-whatever-you-are-eating. Its just a town square, this place. Lined with tea shops and a few knick knacks. Just the kind of place where you stop for a tea and stretch your legs.  Continue reading “From the mountains – Day Two”

Goa: The Frequent Traveler’s Guide

Now, I have been to Goa so often, that if and when I start working as a guide there, there would be a queue of takers. From the engineering days of little to no money to the current days of well, a little more money on a relative scale, I have been there. All seasons. All sorts of budget. I am not a fan of luxury trips. They just seem so easy! Like the true middle class Indian that I am, I love value for money. So, here’s my list of stuff to do in Goa without burning a hole in your wallet. I might miss out on quite a few things, but the ones that are written here are all tried and tested. Continue reading “Goa: The Frequent Traveler’s Guide”

Leh Road Trip – Pangong Tso

And here’s the last one for the road. The much hyped Pangong Tso lake. Our last stop before we left for the arduous journey back to Srinagar. We had been amply warned to expect a hoard of happy picnicking tourists, posing for photographs everywhere. 3 Idiots has really put this place on the map. There are reminders of the movie all around the lake! Anyway, more of that later. Pangong Tso is about 150 kms from Leh. Its a saline lake with a length of almost 135 kms! More than half of it is in China.  Continue reading “Leh Road Trip – Pangong Tso”

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