Main story 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»

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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»

Peppy tuk tuks ply with music blaring

From the ramparts of the fort, a heritage hotel today, Churi Ajitgarh looked like a movie set. A period epic involving wealthy people who loved art and the good life and, just like a lot of wealthy people, given to self-aggrandisement. They were merchants who travelled far and wide and brought back with them architectural and aesthetic flourishes from Europe and the rest of the country. Around me were the grand havelis they built incorporating their newfound sensibilities, each trying … More»

The magical, kinky cubicle - before activation

Gone are the good ole days when all you had to tackle in hotels, which involved application of astuteness and agility, were the timer switches which lit up corridors for 20 or 30 seconds – you invariably ended making a dash for it. It must have been a good feeling – saving electricity and all – but it left in its wake a lot of guests, including my dad, floundering in the dark, groping their way out through appliances and … More»

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