empires of the indus

Some books take you on a journey and drop you right at the starting point. Some others have no such noble intentions. They take you through narrow lanes, open fields and lonely stretches from which there is no way back. This book is one of the latter sort. When I read love in the times of cholera in college, I had fever, like real fever. Before that it was Chandrara Mryutu, an Odia fiction titled death of the moon. This book is about a lone…Continue Reading “The book to read on Hinduism is not on Hinduism”

The Mumbai spirit is they go to office and carry on as usual even when the city is under 3 feet of sewage water. The Chennai spirit is they will take a boat and give food to some old person who has gone hungry for three days in due to flood. The Bangalore spirit they can drive past toxic foam from lakes, take photos and upload on Facebook and carry on as usual. The Delhi spirit is when the air is poison at 999, children…Continue Reading “Hoping Delhi does not have the Mumbai spirit”

Some days before my food writing rant yesterday, something went wrong in the kitchen, a short crust fell apart. I was telling Tanu how she needs to share these stories of failure, of things going wrong, how eventually we picked up the crumbs and it still tasted good. The suggestion seemed original at the time, it seems it has been said and written a gazillion times. Just that social media has made us too embarrassed about sharing our failures. I followed a few food photography…Continue Reading “You are a human, not a toothpaste”

ziu delhi

Once I quit restaurant reviews and to some extent food blogging, many things changed. Now, I have the liberty to go to well reviewed restaurants and not be first one on scene. The one to photograph every bite banned photography when we started our pop ups. We will photograph every dish and mail, we said. I strated writing about food in 2011. Times were different then. There were few, there were no perks or rewards. Like the programmers from 80’s, the first movers were there…Continue Reading “Ziu, Delhi for thai food. And, about quitting restaurant reviews”

I was talking to this startup owner. The signal was bad. So, we did the “can you hear me, shifted in our chairs, can you hear me now, walked ten paces, can you hear me now, yaaa, much better now” routine and then talked work. He runs a solution that uses satellite imaging for crop monitoring. He recounted how he was on a webex call with his this other guy in Singapore and they did the same can you hear me, can you hear me…Continue Reading “Launching 5G before fixing 3G”

hotel folksy madikeri

This is a really small place in the small town of Madikeri. It is run by a couple, we never saw the wife who cooks. Food for two including chicken, mutton, pork and a veg thali that had sambhar and rasam and a bean coconut fry was 360 rupees. The rice portions were massive, we returned a bowl and got a discount too. Now, all the three curries tasted different. The gravies had nothing similar. The pork was the most alien flavour – it was…Continue Reading “Hotel Folksy Food, Madikeri”

sindoor tree

Nature is not a story of peace or co-living. Every time someone says finding peace and love in nature, I am like bro, have you seen nature? And, then start pushing Natgeo videos. Anyway, this time I saw trees that are being murdered by trees. Like this tree, apparently fruit is used to make sindoor, was being colonised by another one. From root upwards, it is one tree. Then you see these massive tree boil sort of thing where another tree has grafted itself onto…Continue Reading “Trees are bad people”

I hated Diwali as a child. There were very few things that I was not scared of. Crackers, were scary. I would generally hide in a corner or lock myself in a room if anyone tried to drag me out. I would weep and pee a little every time a loud one went off. The only part of diwali I enjoyed then is go out with the group of child scavengers at night, collect all the un-burst ones, out them in the apartment’s garbage bin…Continue Reading “Aadhar based diwali?”

It had not rained in a while, Not a torrent, nor a downpour nor a drizzle It had not rained in a long while, three thousand six hundred sixty seven days to be precise, Though no one has been precise lately, it’s the haze they said, it’s the haze that induced the daze The old counted time in the number of teeth they had lost, The young thought of the children they have sacrificed. They sang poems of the trees, They told stories of the…Continue Reading “The never never rains”

mahabalipuram

I am an anti-believer. I don’t just not believe, I make fun of the ones who do. But then, a few times in a lifetime, there are occurrences, places, people who take you beyond the immediate. I believe in energy zones, though. Some places have very palpable influences, they would soothe you in an unnatural way, make your hair stand, give you a sense of deja vu or agitate you. This spot in Mahabalipuram, near the butter ball, is one of the most powerful ones…Continue Reading “Do some places have unusual energy?”

rabi ray delhi school of economics

I was never a good student. Never too bright for teachers to take notice. Too silent and arrogant to talk to teachers unless talked to. And, given the perverted ideas I had in childhood, for a long time I thought anything that is useful can not be taught. Anyway, in short, teachers and me were like oil and water – contact made, but no transfer was possible. And, then, this guy happened at Delhi School of Economics. Oddball to the core, ram headed and would…Continue Reading “To the only teacher I had”

Next time you kiss, think about ease of doing business. It is not romantic, it is not love, it is not an expression of affection. It is ease of doing business. Why do we chose lips over anything else? We hands of course, but that is friendly. Then, what is it about lips that makes them such reservoirs of love? Why do they get to be the love ambassadors and not …..let’s say….ears? Why can’t you touch your left ears to someone else’s right ones?…Continue Reading “Kissing and ease of doing business”

asiatique the riverfront bangkok

Let’s start with a confession. This was some sort of a tourist hotspot. The approach by road is bad. You have to go by a boat that is specially run by Asiatique. Everything about it sounded like a tourist trap. And, to add to add to stigma, friends who went there had loved it. So, the challenge of discovering something that very few knew or liked was also gone. I was not at all kicked about going to Asiatique. But, eventually, we did. Right after…Continue Reading “Asiatique the riverfront, Bangkok”

indique jodhpur

Lately, we have hit on a formula. Food trips. Some cities may be stinky, some sights may not be worth the pain, some plans may not work out etc etc. Then, fall back on food. And,it works every time. This time, after being fed up of the general stink of Jodhpur, we decided to eat the very best places. Indique was at the top of the heap. And, it was such an antidote to everything else. Amazing view of the fort. Amazing khada lamb. This…Continue Reading “Indique Restaurant, Jodhpur”

shahi samosa jodhpur

The shahi samosa is not a snack, it is a meal. It was the size of my palm and my palms are like any other ape’s. And, it was spicy and awesome. But what was remarkable was the alu bonda. The moment you bite into it, the universe smells of hing. It is massively spicy, has onions and garlic etc too. In my estimation, the bonda was way more potent than the samosa. In contrast, the mirchi bhaji was nice and the green chili sort…Continue Reading “Shahi Samosa, Jodhpur”

ginkgo japanese bangkok

Bangkok is spotlessly clean but it’s hard to find a public toilet within the city streets. Tourist places have plenty. So, as a last resort, I walked into a Japanese restaurant near Sala Daeng station for a beer and a pee. Sadly, they could not serve beer till 5 in the evening. Some rule that bars restaurants from serving alcohol before 5 pm. Even Seven Elevens that sell alcohol have these time rules. Anyway, in the absence of beer, I ordered a chicken thigh and…Continue Reading “Peeing in Japanese”

vertigo bar bangkok

Every time, we go out of Delhi, I feel rich. Other Indian cities don’t compare. Bombay, Bangalore, Chennai, Pondicherry etc are way cheaper. No expensive restaurant there would shock you. In Bangkok, Vertigo, which is on 62nd floor and is ranked one of the best bars in the world had dishes and drinks priced around 900 rupees (450 baht). The drinks came with 2 chips and wasabi peanuts. Then with food, we got a bag of chips and prawn and mayo complimentary. We ate at…Continue Reading “Something shady about Delhi restaurant prices”

naga cafe sathorn

How do you eat in an unknown place? You pore over tripadvisor, ask friends and bloggers and spend days on internet planning. I did pore over the internet. But eventually, the places we ate at were places we found through just walking around. If you can feel vibes and trust your instinct, you will end up eating well or you will have an experience anyway. To think that there is only one best way to navigate a city is stupid and you should be open…Continue Reading “Naga Cafe, Sathorn, Bangkok”

We hate politicians and there are good reasons why. Most of them proclaim there would be no politics of death and then they go on manufacture riots and rivalries and employ goons to impose authority. But, we, the normal people should be normal, right? Death, especially unnatural, should shock us. Be it from floods, riots, train accidents, potholes, hit and runs, no matter what, deaths should grab our attention and make us value life, humanity and just plain existence more. So, when some people brush…Continue Reading “Lynchings are acts of journalism”