siddheshwari pice hotel kolkata

Streetfood is the sign of a city’s body and mind. Streetfood tells you how safe and active a city is. It also tells you what the intentions of the city are and how it wants its citizens to behave. Let me explain. Two years back, while walking back from the promenade in Pondicherry to our hotel, I and my wife were a little worried as it was well past midnight. Though there were people on the road, the streets were dark. And, then we saw…Continue Reading “Kolkata: Of streetfood, pice hotels and access to protein”

kulhads in kolkata

Kulhads. They are a rarity in Delhi tea shops. There is one guy in CR Park market one who gives chai in kulhads for 15 rupees and in plastic cups for 10. So, every time we land there, I get one Kulhad and then ask for refills. So, if there are 3 people, it is not 3 cups of tea at one go. It is one cup (15) plus two refills (20). That effectively saves 20 rupees, plays foul with the teaman’s economics and gives…Continue Reading “Kulhads in Kolkata”

migrant workers in tea estates

Met two Odia boys at the heritage property we were staying at. One knew he was from Cuttack but never had been there. He was a Patnaik. He spoke a language that was neither Odia nor Assamese. But he plans to visit Odisha once he has enough money and leaves. He was a second generation migrant worker. The other one had a surname that I had never heard before. He could not speak even the bastard Odia. A third generation migrant, he knew he was…Continue Reading “Odias in a tea estate”

Jorabagan Police Station

How I became the ultimate authority on Kolkata is a matter of serendipity. We were informed that Jorasanko is closed on Sundays and open on Mondays. That was incorrect. But it led us on a journey that needs telling. We discovered the truth while were well on our way and had to quickly reroute. Thankfully, the cab we had hailed had an amazing bade chacha in the driver’s seat. He smoked bidi, sipped water from the first plastic bottle ever made, talked shyly and did…Continue Reading “The Kolkata heritage tour that you must do”

karada homestay coorg

First at the homestay in Coorg. I ask for hot water as a perfect city bred asshole and also because the temperate was really low. Half an hour later Mr. Fixit shows up. He works in the fields, there is a cook and there is a caretaker. All three are from Bengal. Like Indian and Pakistanis in England, we became friends. He shows me how to heat water. Next day morning, we had to drive to Bangalore and to catch the flight back. So, I…Continue Reading “Of hot water and burnt hair”


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?”

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”

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”

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”

lingaraj lassi bhubaneswar

My first Punjabi lassi was in Delhi in 2001. It was that shop under the tree in Ber Sarai. We had just landed in Delhi a couple of days before, I was to join Dschool and a friend had to join IIMC. We were looking for a place for him. Anyway, the lassi. It came for 15 bucks, a tall steel glass, all white with froth at top. He kept it on the counter. I waited. I had paid 15 in advance, he was not…Continue Reading “Lingaraj Lassi, Bhubaneswar”

shiraz at bangalore soma vineyards

Magic is an overworked term. Eating burgers magical, almost everything on insta is magical, having a coffee with a friend is magical. But anyway, let me not push the boundary and go with magical this once. Soma Vineyard is owned by Darby Raju and Aruna. Raju is the kite and Aruna is the nail in the ground that keeps it tied. Raju is flamboyant, a mine of information and a great host – someone you could be highfiving and hugging within an hour of meeting….Continue Reading “Bangalore Soma Vineyards – A must do in Bengaluru”

hotel maurya pinetop

On top of Nandi Hills, there is this government run restaurant. It has mixed reviews at best. It is really cheap and has brilliant views and most said it’s only the view that is good. But either my taste buds are bad or those guys are snooty. Let’s settle for them being snooty. The place is right at the top of the hill, in front of Nehru Nilaya. The food was cheap. It seems breakfast is served only on weekends and govt holidays, the menu…Continue Reading “Food at Hotel Maurya Pinetop, Nandi Hills”

For an anti-religious person, Nandi temple was something of a special place. More on that later, but how many have seen this before? Hint: It’s rudra Ganesh, not the usual rupa of Ganesh that you see but very powerful nonetheless. The lovable god that we can cuddle but what a warrior. His first showdown being with the mighty Shiva. This one is a traditional rendition of rudra ganesh. Gods have many rupas and ganesh, despite the calm demeanor and all association with prosperity, he was…Continue Reading “Rudra Ganesh, Nandi Hills”

raja rani temple odisha

I am the wrong person to write about temples. Because, I hate them. Most of them. At least, the ones with deities inside. I am indifferent to mosques and churches. Why? I have never been harassed in a mosque or hounded for money in a church. Actually, no one really cares when you are there in an Indian church. Apart from the peculiar Indian habit of leaving shoes outside, churches here are really nice, calm and friendly places. Mosques have ruled about shoes and head…Continue Reading “About Rajarani temple in odisha and a few others”

bharatpur bird sanctuary

This is a time sensitive post, in fact, an urgent one. The season is on till March and if you don’t go by then, you will have to wait another eight or nine months to see the bird mela. We entered the park around twelve in the noon and were at four thirty. In roughly four and half hours and may be going only two miles in, we had spotted more birds than we had expected in a whole trip. Let me count them out…Continue Reading “Trip to Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan”

baati at alwar dhaba

On recent trip to Alwar, we spotted this incomplete looking shack by the roadside. There was a charpai, a cooking station with a stove and a tarpaulin roof. It looked like a food place but given that no one stopped by we were not too sure. We decided to stop on the way back. It was a dhaba. The guy had nothing ready. He explained all that he could cook and how much time it would take. We decided on the dal baati in twenty…Continue Reading “Impromptu dal baati, Alwar”


Okay, I have to rub my hands and warm up to start this post. I personally know people who had a good time here and to some extent I did too. But if you are here to get spooked, forget it. Given that I didn’t do any research or see in photos beforehand, I was surprised by the scale of the ruin. It is not just a fort, it is a city. Coming to the scary part, if you are there on a busy weekend,…Continue Reading “Bhangarh – what’s scary is not inside the fort”