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Indiaries, Part One: On Fallen Heroes And Inevitable Changes

People, all of them western, often counter my amorous accounts of India with "escapism" - the concept of hiding from one's mundane daily life behind a wall of a fascinating but ultimately unsupportable lifestyle - like being in a punk band, or going to India, in my case. But this isn't one of those stories where you hole yourself up in an ashram to try and find something that isn't there or buy a one way ticket to Goa with the purpose of devoting yourself to the rave.

The Ultimate Travel Playlist

Tickets, maps, cash - check. But aren't you forgetting the most important thing? Your travel playlist. No impending adventure can be complete without a set of songs to accompany every moment, irrespective of whether you're hitching it by plane, train or automobile.

Five Must-Have Vegetarian Dishes In India

India is one of the easiest places to be vegetarian. We use a lot of pasteurised butter (ghee) or cream in our food so being vegan is a little hard, but vegetarian, that is super easy. Imagine walking into a restaurant and seeing a menu that has the following dishes: veg paneer kadai, veg paneer tikka masala, veg jalfrezi, veg kolhapuri, the list goes on. Naturally, many foreign visitors have absolutely no idea what constitutes these dishes. So here our cherry-picked favourites...
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A Fleeting Encounter: The Women Of Kamathipura

On a recent visit to Mumbai, my friend and I were sitting in one of the numerous sea-facing cafes that dot the coastline when somehow the conversation turned to Kamathipura - the city's notorious red light district. Sitting in that posh café, Kamathipura seemed distant and unreal. Yet, according to my friend, it was just a stone's throw away.

Photoblog: My Adventures In Oman

Steeped in heritage and culture, distinctive architecture, old customs and traditions, Oman's unspoilt landscape beckoned the traveller in me at almost every turn and I happily gave in. I caught my breath more than once as I found myself gazing upon forbidding mountain faces, deep ravines, rocky arches, dramatic canyons, hairpin bends and sinkholes. Without a doubt, Oman offered me a delightful mix of the entire travel troika: beaches, mountains and deserts.
Shenaz Wahid

Why Travel Transforms You

Once you know there is more to the world than you previously imagined, you cannot go back. You wonder what it means to be really alive. Travelling sets you free from the things you thought you couldn't live without, having found new things, indispensable to you: dreams and a passionate spirit.
Ruchira Shukla

When Two Is A Crowd

The normal, saner members of our society travel with family or friends. The more daring ones travel with strangers and then there are some wanderers like myself, who at times prefer their own company over the company of others.
Ruth Dsouza Prabhu

The Peek-A-Boo Church Of Gorur Dam

If you visit Gorur Dam in the monsoon months, you might just miss this church unless you go up close. But visit in the dry summer and you will see it in all its Gothic glory. Located some distance away from Bengaluru, in Shettihalli, the Holy Rosary Church is submerged by the Gorur Dam reservoir in the monsoon season and then stands tall for all to see when the water recedes in summer.
Priya Pathiyan

Happiness For All At St Moritz

Switzerland just earned the title of the World's Happiest Country in this year's World Happiness index. And the Swiss resort town of St Moritz is celebrating 150 years of existence this year. Two compelling reasons to find out what all the fuss is about!

Love And Loathing: An Anthropological Study Of (Some) Straight White Men in Exotic Lands

The Scopophile is not a voyeur in the plainly sexual sense. He is a voyeur of cultures, a wannabe Indiana Jones, a scholar (sometimes a pseudo-scholar), adept at conversations on books, art, and film. He is an anthropologist, historian, linguist and very, very often, a doctoral student. He is also self-obsessed, somewhat agnostic, myopic, a misogynist unaware, and actively political. He is a straight white man from the suburbs who has spent between three months and a year in some non-Western part of the world... And he is a self-titled expert on that country.
Rathina Sankari

Dandeli: A Walk Into The Woods

The train chugged through the countryside of Uttar Karnataka. The monsoons had kicked in and the ponds, lakes and reservoirs had started to fill. Life had sprung in every nook and corner and the earth was garbed in green. The terraced paddy fields swayed as the North West monsoon winds blew across the land. I was headed to Dandeli in the Western Ghats, home to the Dandeli-Anshi Wildlife Reserve and a natural habitat for black panthers, tigers, leopards, deer, sloth bears, bison and a multitude of birds.
Dhruva Jaishankar

The Dying Art Of The Visa: A Personal History

Visas were traditionally meant to serve several purposes. They had to easily communicate necessary information to authorities, such as validity and the terms of stay. They were often designed to prevent easy forgery. And they were occasionally used to convey aspects of a country's national character through visual symbolism and imagery. For all these reasons, the visa, in its brief heyday, was a little-appreciated masterpiece of modern design.
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In China, I Became Aware Of My Race

China has developed greatly for the last fifteen years. From the country with the closed borders, China has become one of the leading economies in the world that gains its power every day. Albite, the country feels confident in the global marketplace and the political arena, its people still have a long way to go to change their perception of themselves: from submitting to the Western civilization based on materialistic betterness to finally realizing how spiritually-rich and strong they are as a nation, that can rarely be seen in the West these days.

Travel Habits Indians Need To Kick

And whether in an art gallery, religious monument or a public park or zoo, shhh up. Don't call out to animals to "smile" for your camera. Your spouses and kids can hear, right? No need to holler, "Champa, see, see, rhino"; "Beta, look, look, big lion". Uncles and aunties who insist they go on rides or emaciated ponies alongside their grandkids spare a thought for the poor animals.
Muzaffarpur_Elita A

Making Travel Count: Taking Technology To The Grassroots

Once upon a time I used to be a regular normal person, a Mumbaikar. I did what most people did - worked from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and chilled over weekends. Then things changed. My travel bug grew tentacles and got the better of me. I wanted to travel and write. I realised that not only was there an India out there waiting to be explored, but there were experiences that needed to be narrated.