• Photo essays

    What a beautiful world ! #2 – Grand Trunk Road

    There can be no doubt about the fact that Steve McCurry is one of the greatest photographers ever. Award winning contributions to leading publications notwithstanding, there is a very humane, down-to-earth appeal that is immediately evident in all his photographs. One of my favorite photo essays are his vignettes of the Grand Trunk Road. This road crisscrosses the Indian subcontinent, stretching from Kabul to Kolkata, and is dripping with history at every turn. Virtually all of these photographs will transport you to a different era, in a different place. Pay attention to the way he captures the proletariat in these places, going about their daily lives, while cinematic scenes unfolding in the background (for e.g., a…

  • Photo essays

    What a beautiful world ! #1 – Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan

    India’s neighbor, and erstwhile inseparable part of the family is no different when it comes to being blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. How naive it is though, to be a tiny part of a massive universe and see more of the differences between us than the similarities. In his series of photo essays from the magical land of Skardu-Baltistan (geographically contiguous with Ladakh and the Tibetan plateau), Bukhari gives us a glimpse of the treasures that his country, Pakistan, has been blessed with. After going through it, there lingers a romantic hope that someday, there will be no borders.   “I was walking on a narrow strip, when a window of a nearby home…

  • Jog falls
    Karnataka

    What a Jog

    Many a time has an enthusiastic tourist made the long journey to Jog falls to end up with something like this. This was in the peak of the monsoon season, as you can make out from the greenery around. Supposedly, one of the highest waterfalls in India, its moniker ‘Joke falls’ among blogging circles is well-deserved going by this photograph. And to think, the state authorities have created a parking lot, a state tourism hotel, viewing areas to benefit the hordes of tourists. Just wonder whether somebody forgot to turn on the secret waterfall switch. Honestly though, I have no idea if this is due to the rainfall deficit or…

  • Side Pockets

    Musings of a baked post-graduate

    I was at one of Bangalore’s famous bakeries the other day. Never had heard of any of their fresh baked cookies, never tasted any of them either; the only point of reference was my friend’s opinion. One taste of the cookies and I was totally blown away – incredibly tasty and soft, the melts-in-your-mouth variety. We lost no time in ordering 100 gms of the plain cashew variety, 100 gms of the chocolate plus cashew variety and a 100 more grams of the almond filled variety. Standing beside me was an elderly man dressed in a a dhoti and a white, soiled kurta. He was accompanied by a kid, probably…

  • Karnataka,  Travel Bag

    Hampi Trip – Part III

    (Continued from Parts I & II..) The lady at Lakshmi Heritage was kind enough to sew back the button on my shorts the previous day (Shorts or capris are necessary in Hampi’s heat, combine it with a linen shirt for maximum comfort) – extra points for the stay then. Phaddu, a round shaped snack made from dosa batter, is a popular snack in Hampi and you will find various small shops selling phaddu early in the morning. Phaddu is what we had for breakfast on the second day, with spicy green chilli chutney and some very bad south Indian coffee for company. After wolfing down copious amounts of phaddu, we…

  • Karnataka,  Travel Bag

    Hampi Trip – Part II

    (Continued from Part I here) Moving on, the auto rickshaw guy took us to the Zenana enclosure in Hampi. Wikipedia tells me ‘Zenana’ is a persian term that was used for areas reserved for women, whereas the areas reserved for men were called ‘Mardana’. To the left portion of the enclosure lie the remains of what was probably a huge palace in those days. Speculation abounds about what it would originally have been or looked like, with some even saying that the structure was built of sandalwood and pointing out traces of sandal wood found during excavation. However, no conclusive evidence exists. Pictures of the other attractions follow: I had…

  • Karnataka,  Travel Bag

    Hampi Trip – Part I

    Trip undertaken in Oct of 2012. After what seemed like an eternity, and after that last trip to Tamil Nadu’s silly hill station – Yercaud, we decided it was time to hit the roads again. The road that went north towards Hampi was picked as our best bet  for the simple reason that it would be a very different experience from the beaches, hill stations and water falls that we had been to over the past two years. Present day Hampi, earlier known as Vijayanagara, was the capital of the erstwhile Vijayanagara empire that ruled most of South India for a better part of two centuries, from the mid 14th…

  • Movies & Books

    An idle brain on Youtube

    With nothing else to keep my mind active right now, here is a post that I thought might be useful to millions of office goers who, coincidentally, have nothing else on their minds too. I conjured up a list, in no particular order, of the 10 most imaginative pieces of song writing that lyricists in the Hindi film industry have been able to come up with. If any of these songs are your favorites or this post hurts your sentiments in any way, I might add a short disclaimer – no offence meant. There. 10. Who can drive audiences crazy with just a doff of his cap ? Who can…