My attraction to disaster tourism

While recently watching Munnabhai MBBS (a cult Hindi movie), a scene in the movie got me into serious thinking mode. Nope, not about medical ethics and Hippocrates’s Oath. But about “chilly chicken” – the Asian man, who has no interest in seeing the Taj Mahal, but gets lured by Circuit’s promise to show him the…

Thamari Kund: Trailing nature in Munsiyari, Uttarakhand

  An ambitious start to the day, with its target being a trek to Khalia Top, a full day trek which was reputedly strongly uphill. My weak knees are already quivering with trepidation. Our guide for the day arrives. Z- a rather young, bearded guy with the look of a serious mountaineer. Can I be more…

“Stupa-fied” in Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan is the quintessential image of Myanmar – its own Eiffel Tower. The beauty of Bagan is most often represented in its plurality. An air balloon-view. 3000 temples and stupas rising out of the plains, a rising sun casting its orange spotlight on them all. But strangely, the multitudes didn’t catch my eye. What drew me…

Meeting Ma Durga in Mandalay, Burma

Durga Puja in Mandalay. In an Indian basti. A surreal experience. It started with a visit to one of the Buddhist temples, Mahamuni Pagoda, in Mandalay when we ran into some astrologers of Indian origin. While we were initially not eager to engage in a conversation with them, we were requested to come in and…

Cuba: On the Revolution trail

I have always felt a deeper connection with places that have a complex history. Cuba was no exception. In fact, with Cuba, everything is much more vivid since what I relegate to history is actually a part of Cuba’s present contemporary life. As a diehard Ayn Rand fan, I have never subscribed to any economic…

First impressions – Havana

Tough to sum up first impressions at the end of Day 1. Exhausted and sweaty. Sun-burnt. Rain-kissed. Overwhelmed. Underwhelmed. All at the same time. What’s undisputable is that Havana has a distinct feel. A city like no other. And this goes beyond the clichés of the city being without billboards and about the unforgettable  visuals…

My favourite experiences in Cuba

  Merely a week after returning from my month-long Cuba trip, I am already worried that my fabulous memories will soon get dimmer. So I am quickly jotting down my favourite experiences from my holiday – images of Cuba that I want to keep with me for life. It is a long, rambling blog post….

Diary notes of a wannabe Cuban dancer

Oh yet another joyful day of dancing in Santiago de Cuba. What a night! Can’t imagine any other city putting musicians and dancers on the top of its pecking order. The streets are filled with a myriad rhythms. Son, salsa, merengue, rumba, bachata, reggaeton. The list is endless. My favourite game here is to try…

Notas de Cuba: the travails and joys of solo travel

Its difficult to explain my comfort with travelling alone. I thought my first solo trip would also be my last. But when a career change permitted a big gap in my schedule, I jumped at the opportunity to plan yet another solo trip. To a destination which has been on my wish list for ages….

Forced to travel

20th June was celebrated as the World Refugee Day. I read somewhere that 2015 was the year of refugees. More than 65 million people displaced from their homes as per UN reports. Out of which 10 million were absolutely stateless – no countries, no passports! If all these displaced people were put together into 1…

Suzdal, Russia

  Suzdal is an extremely picturesque village located a few hours train ride away from Moscow and is the crowning glory of the “Golden Ring” comprising of the ancient towns around Moscow. The main attraction of Suzdal for me was that it didn’t seem to be too popular with Western or non-Russian tourists, who seem…

From Russia, with love…

I am starting my Russia series with a phrase not too liked by me – “From Russia, with love” – a phrase repeated often on a Mumbai radio channel by an Indian imitating a Russian accent while speaking in Hindi. Doesn’t sound too exciting, but couldn’t be more apt. You will soon realise why. My…