Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash


The faceless man whispered, his voice hot and breathy into my ear. I whipped my head around to find my mystery man, but he had disappeared into the profusion of people swarming the streets around 34th Street-Penn Station in Manhattan.

On the wall to my right lay an image of a model with sinewy curves posed seductively on a billboard — with what appeared to be a fire extinguisher strapped to her bare back. Presumably, to put out the smoldering flames of her rampant sex appeal.

With one word, the faceless man had reduced my worth to that of…

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

As the blindfolded guests entered the dining room, they barely managed to stifle their gasps at what unfolded before them. They could not see, but what they could smell was more than enough.

It was as if someone had extracted the magnificence of a single rose petal and amplified the aroma a thousand times. An aroma that dotted the cheeks of the room’s inhabitants like morning dew settling on blades of grass. The odor cast a pleasant pall over the room, permeating every nook and cranny — including the nostrils of its delighted inhabitants.

The smell overpowered some of the…

An Indian-American writer explores the popularity of a Chinese spiritual movement through one group in New York

Falun Gong practitioners in Madison Square Park (Image Credit: Tara Yarlagadda)

The most vivid memory from my first Falun Gong practice session in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park was of falling. Feeling faint, I momentarily went weak in the knees and started drifting backwards.

Fortunately, I landed softly on my rump, no worse for the wear. Henry Bevington, a kindly man in his thirties and one of the volunteer leaders of the Madison Square Park group in the fall of 2016, rushed over to pull me up by the hand. He asked worriedly: “Are you…

Image Credit: LoboStudioHamburg

July 23, 2018 — Some spontaneous thought poetry. Enjoy! Or don’t. Either way, thank you for reading.

In 2018.

What does it mean
For something to live
Only inside your own head
Instead of on the page, in the
Words of your tweet, in the
Contours of your Snapchat, in the
Filters of your Instagram, even in the
Words of others?

What does it take away from you
For it to exist only inside of you?

In 2018.

Photo: Tara Yarlagadda

Children splashing around in the cast-off water from an open fire hydrant in Harlem on a ninety-degree day

While police sirens buzz in the background like mosquitoes in summer heat

Hipsters in Williamsburg waltzing by bodegas with signs advertising the finest craft beer

While a man on the street corner begs for a fuckin’ dollar from anyone, just about anyone

Nature lovers descending on the Bronx Zoo to ooh and ahh over langurs and grizzly bears and pet goats, tightly clutching their children’s hands

While other children in a shelter not far away, but far enough from the southern border…


While I was ordering basil fried rice — my go-to meal — one evening at a Thai restaurant in the East Village, the server hemmed and hawed. “Umm. We don’t have that as a summer special.”

“It’s on the menu,” I responded, more bluntly than I needed to, without couching my refrain in the umms, pleases, sorrys, and excuse mes of a typical Californian. The server frantically apologized and scurried off to place my order. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I admitted that I was becoming somewhat of a New Yorker after all.


Moving to New York…

Tara Yarlagadda

Multimedia storyteller with a zest for science; culture, travels; soul-sucking books, film and TV, great eats & good company. | | @TaraYarla

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