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An idle mind is the devil’s workshop (Biblical) 
You shall do no work on Sabbath (also Biblical) 
Let there be no light
What used to be a water tank for royalty thrives today as watering holes for the proletariat. There is one for every mood as long as it doesn’t involve bright. None of the wordy walls or pop bursts, fashion overdoses or ‘guaranteed awesomeness’ of the pubs in Connaught Place. Here the usher doesn’t welcome you in but directs you up … More»

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Elegant edifice

Compared to its Mumbai namesake Jinnah House in Delhi has shunned controversy and sits quietly away from public glare, behind man-high baroque iron gates in the middle of an expansive, well groomed lawn. The guards are armed and unseen, stepping out of their watchhouse only as your car approaches. They look surprised to hear that you have indeed come to ‘10, Aurangzeb Road;’ since the recent renaming to ‘APJ Abdul Kalam Road’ which appears only at intersections most pop by … More»

Where has the rest gone to? (A handout photo)

Tracing the largely unseen underwear to the land of its origin is probably the closest to discovery we can make these days. But for New Zealand columnist and travel writer Joe Bennett the reasons for the pursuit weren’t so illustrious: the measly price tag on the five-pack set from his local store made him wonder who would possibly profit from the transaction. He, like the rest of us, has no idea how a pair is made. He is however aware … More»


Must have been the tempestuous night I started in the morning to a gentle wake. It took a while to collect my bearings: the thatched roof tapered towards the top, quartered window frames girded by coir, bamboo-matted partitions, wood slab flooring. An air conditioner thrummed somewhere. Unfamiliar contours. A throbbing head. The bed swayed. A glass bottle rolled across the floor making a muted Bonsho sound; its vivid label on the front alternating with its blank bone-white behind. Rustle. There … More»


“There is a temple in the centre, around it is a mosque,” said Chotu (‘helper’) pointing through the spiny shrubs that separated the palisaded ASI monument and the reclaimed bog where the workshop stood. Once he was sure he had my undivided attention he went on to assure me that there was ‘firing and killing and burning’ between Hindus and Muslims. But that was way before he came from Bihar, eight years ago, as a 10-year-old on the wallaby track. … More»


There is a saying in Kerala which goes ‘the jasmine in one’s own backyard lacks fragrance.’ A Keralan for forty years, I laid my eyes on it for the first time last week – that too from an open balcony, unable to stretch anything more than my line of vision. I just had the heartiest lunch at my sister’s new home a few kilometres away from it. While I have listened with rapture to narratives of the Sacre-Coeur, still remember … More»

Narikuravar Kannan

Say ‘channel’ and they look for the OB van; ‘film’ they scan for recognisable faces. ‘Documentary’ and they ask you the subject. They will then go on to tell you what to shoot. How to, even. Reply with the historically unpalatable ‘corporate film’ which I make there is still advice flowing in. For free.
“You can show us all sitting together, reading newspapers,” said an auto rickshaw driver. “A bus comes, we all look up and you can begin the interview.” … More»

Twenty20 procures from local farmers

The people of Kizhakkambalam in the eastern suburbs of Kochi are affable and detailed when it comes to giving directions – just like everybody else in Kerala. Sometimes the details are too minute and many that they dissolve into the viridian surrounds right after the next turn. But ask them the way to garment manufacturers Kitex located in the village and the typical cordiality takes on a new dimension – their face lights up exuberant and the direction-giving veers towards … More»


Many Bangaloreans I know hold vicious views on immigration. Some get vitriolic even when pointed out that they themselves were once émigré. They loathe anyone else coming to their ‘garden city’ to set up home or on the wallaby. Now if they are serious about dissuading others from roosting on perches by their precious fringes they should stop making buildings to accommodate the newcomer, right? But they do this not. Instead they are making buildings in very large numbers – … More»


Nothing stood between the resolute central Indian sun and the grey-brown tarmac that shimmered in all directions. Heat rose in waves in front of my eyes and made mirages in the distance. The whole area, the entire town, was empty. I had driven half a day in the choking heat to be here where the only thing moving was a lone sadhu. Despite the whole wide area that looked like a scaled down Rann of Kutch around me, he chose … More»


The playlist has become stale and, face it, you can only for so long pretend to be asleep to avoid those ‘thoda adjust karo’ requests. Presenting the ultimate listicle – not those fab five sled dog manoeuvres you ought to master when in Alaska or the six super ‘go anywhere’ unguents you can whip up at home. But an everyday, everyone listicle – to tide over an otherwise lugubrious Metro ride.

1. When the stuffy guy sitting next to you puts … More»

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