One of my wanderings in Central and Eastern Europe was through Prague—or Praha in Czech—the economic, political, and cultural centre of Central Europe for most of its 1,100 years of existence. Gene…
This week I want to share with you a little gem in my neighbourhood in Mumbai. I live in Bandra on a hillock called Mount Mary. Around me, literally, are an abundance of historical churches. Across…
Though an avid proponent for guided walks, I love self-guided walks just that tad bit more. They are like a treasure hunt filled with the thrill of discovery! Don’t you agree? As one decodes a rout…
On a sweltering hot summer day, I stood on the street outside the Embassy of Georgia in Delhi. Beads of sweat lined my forehead and anger boiled my blood. I had been waiting for almost two hours past my appointment time, outside the gate of the Georgian Ambassador’s residence in India – which doubled as their embassy. It would be another hour of cursing my Indian passport, melting in the hot sun, pleading with the guard to let me in, chatting with the Punjabi family who had waited even longer than me… before I’d score a short-term tourist visa to enter the country of Georgia.
But if you ask me now about Georgia, that’s not the part I remember. My mind only conjures up images of hiking to a dreamy 700-year-old church in the dramatic snow-capped backdrop of Mount Kazbeg, cycling to the Russian border, and soul-searching amid the surreal Caucasus Mountains. I remember local cabbies in Tbilisi singing ‘ichak dana-beechak dana’…
View original post 2,593 more words
Bhistis of Calcutta (Kolkata)
~ A Vanishing Tribe ~
“The finest man I knew
Was our regimental Bhisti, Gunga Din.”
Gunga Din (1892) poem by Rudward Kipling
Once an indispensable part of Calcutta’s (Kolkata’s) water supply of both domestic and public purposes today the bhistis are fast vanishing tribe.
View original post 499 more words
It was two minutes past midnight, as I reclined on the comfortable couch of a luxurious expedition ship, somewhere on the high seas that surrounded the largest island in the world – Greenland. Miles of crystal icebergs stretched as far as the eye could see, scintillating in the soft glow of the Midnight Sun. A cup of hot chocolate in hand, I gazed out dreamily. It was difficult to believe that it was twelve days already since the time we set sail from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.
The sailing route, the remote lands we visited, the friendly Innuits I met had been nothing short of extraordinary.
From Reykjavik, the ship had taken us to the unpronounceable Grundafjord in the Snaefellsnes peninsula in Iceland. Known as ‘Iceland in a nutshell’, massive snow covered hills, gurgling streams and waterfalls greeted us. Here the population of sheep and horses easily outnumbered the number of…
View original post 1,512 more words
There lies a fairy tale land in the bosom of Himachal Pradesh blushing red in autumn with the allure of the ‘forbidden fruit’.
Sangla Valley in Kinnaur was the starting point of my exploration of Himachal’s Apple Trail. Set in the midst of a sprawling apple orchard with plump, red apples glistening like rubies while the milky white Baspa River gushed through the backdrop hastily, my abode at the Banjara Camp was literally the Garden of Eden.
Since there was no tempting Adam or conniving Satan for company, I sat enjoying my solitude on a white boulder on a silver beach overlooking the Baspa, pairing hot aloo parathas with delicious apple preserves from my picnic hamper.
Later, during an evening trek to the Batseri village, I was invited by a local ‘Pahadi’ lady in a long, checkered tunic called ‘Reshta’ to her hut for a cup of hot ‘chai’. While…
View original post 837 more words