[This post was first published at https://nomadicthunker.com on August 2016 // Nomadic Thunker]
I have something of a Grammar Nazi in me; the kind whose face turns pallid every time she makes an error herself. It is this alter ego who, when she has her backpack on, scans everything within eyesight for rib-tickling humour in the guise of misspelt signage — be it the name of a store or a street — and makes a dash to take a photograph of it. …
[This post was first published at https://nomadicthunker.com on October 2016 // Nomadic Thunker]
“Come home”, she said in Marathi.
I almost turned to look behind if she meant to say that to somebody else. But there was no ‘somebody else’. It was 3 in the afternoon. My friend and I, caught unawares by a downpour on our post-lunch walk, were taking shelter under a flimsy tree while the rains lashed directionless and the whooshing winds left us drenched and shivering right down to our bones.
She stood there with her umbrella, waiting for our response.
Strangely, I felt compelled to say, “Thank you. But it’s okay. …
[This post was first published at https://nomadicthunker.com on June 2016 // Nomadic Thunker]
As a once-upon-a-time employee within the development sector, a part of me has become accustomed to the grim realities not only as they exist but also manifest themselves in the lives of people stripped by access to resources that can alleviate their plight. This accustoming, thankfully, has come neither at the cost of desensitizing me nor at the risk of leaving me hyper-reactive! …
“Ideally, I should have been taking that Rajdhani back to Mumbai right now.”
I found myself thinking out aloud at the New Delhi railway station while waiting for the indicator to point us to the right platform when my friend quipped, “Not ideally…” She had a point but I felt obligated to justify myself so I said, “Yeah, what I meant is that’s what a normal person would do!” …
[This post was first published at https://nomadicthunker.com on August, 2015 // Nomadic Thunker]
We were chatting up about all the things related to travel when he said, “You should travel by the Vivek Express sometime. It runs between Dibrugarh in Assam and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, and is India’s longest train journey. You don’t have to be travelling to either place- just take the train for the experience of it all!”
And when you’ve taken a little over 20 trains even before the first half of the year, itching to do something more (the wackier, the better), the thought of executing that idea, sown in your head about 6 months ago, seems very enticing! …
If there is a word that can instantly dilate pupils, it has to be Ladakh! Every traveller worth her/his salt either boasts of striking it off their travel bucket-list or aspires to do so in the very near future.
When I won Tripoto’s #LiveYourDream contest in May 2015 I was ecstatic. Ecstatic that I’d won my first ever contest — and a travel contest at that. But also ecstatic that I would be making my way into the region for the third time in four years. And Ladakh has continued to astound me by revealing a little bit of the inside story every single time I’ve been there. …
In February 2017, I’d accomplished a feat for myself — the feat of having traveled to each of India’s 29 states at least once before my 29th birthday! And I’d been thinking of a way to commemorate the people I have met, to bring it all together in a manner that is representative of my experiences of travelling around the country — whether solo, with family/friends or groups.
The solution presented itself in a disguise.
In the month of June, I took a cue from The Better India and began recalling the many good Samaritans I have had the privilege of encountering through my travels (solo and otherwise) along the length and breadth of India! …
[This post was first published at https://nomadicthunker.com on April, 2017 // Nomadic Thunker]
“You can skip Manipur.”
“I would suggest avoiding going to Manipur.”
“You’re going to have to be very careful if you go to Manipur.”
If there was any other permutation to the sentiment that implied ‘do not go to Manipur’, I would like to believe that I had heard it all. Even so, after Tripura, Manipur was the second state within the northeast that I planted my feet in.
With #29in29 at stake, stubbornness was a much-required asset.
If you’re wondering why I was at the receiving end of so much caution and concern, then you have the national dailies to thank for conveniently muting out issues from the northeast. So here’s what you should know — Manipur has been in the throes of an economic blockade since October-November 2016. The consequence has been a state of curfew, shut roadways, and restricted access to utilities including food and fuel therefore making everything a lot more expensive that it otherwise. …
[This post was first published at https://nomadicthunker.com on December, 2017 // Nomadic Thunker]
Traveller or Tourist?
Writer or Blogger?
Journey or Destination?
These are a few of my favourite conundrums. Well, okay, not favourite. I have (mostly) rested my case on the first two scenarios with an “i-don’t-know” as my answer. For the third though, I have and still continue to favour the Journey over the Destination. And as if I hadn’t demonstrated that enough through all the train-travel, my trip to the northeast ensured I now have some non-train-travel evidence to back my claim!
[This post was first published at https://nomadicthunker.com on February, 2018 // Nomadic Thunker]
“So, which north-eastern state of India is your favourite?”
This has got to be the most frequently asked question I have had to face upon my return from what is going down in the tomes as the most rewarding trip of my life.
The one where I travelled through the seven sister states of northeast India over a period of 7 weeks
The one where I ticked off #29in29
My answer? “Arunachal Pradesh”
After Ladakh, there had been only one place I would keep experiencing a deep longing for Arunachal Pradesh. …