How birding helped me cope with the COVID-19 lockdown

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A short essay on how birding helped me stay sane during the lockdown in the UK and took me through the seasons of almost an entire year 🙂 It was a lovely March afternoon when I found myself standing under a gigantic horse chestnut tree in the middle of the Cherry Hinton Hall park, with tears running down my cheeks. … Read More

NatGeo Traveller India: A Night in a Lighthouse, UK

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An article for National Geographic Traveller India about a stay in a 190-year-old lighthouse in Wales, UK. Scroll down to see the full text.  The tower of the West Usk Lighthouse has signalled ships to safety for about a century and served as a lookout post during the Second World War. Now run as a B&B by a couple (and … Read More

Magical Monsoons of India: Reminiscing the Rains

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A nostalgia-soaked essay on the magical monsoons of India. There’s nothing that says home like thunderous rain and hot roadside bhutta (roasted corn). It’s the season that brings a whole upheaval of emotions. Great big drops fall from the saturated sky, at that breaking point beyond which the earth can’t hold back anymore. These are tears of happiness, of sadness, … Read More

Cherrapunjee | A trek to the double-decker living root bridge

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The living root bridges of Meghalaya are one of the only such structures in the world. Here’s an illustrated account of the exhilarating trek to the double-decker bridge at Nongriat, Cherrapunjee, Meghalaya. “Ow!” I cry, as a steel nail pricks my palm. Hurriedly withdrawing my hand from the railing, I put another foot forward on the suspension bridge, which sways … Read More

Bird-watching, a first-time experience

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This story, titled “Bird-watching: A first-time experience”, first appeared on 2nd February 2016 in The Pollachi Papyrus. Read the full story here. Ramya birding from a bullock-cart | Credits: Lingesh Kalingarayar My interaction with winged creatures has been almost entirely limited to crows, peacocks and pigeons. While crows constantly stole my food during the hostel years, a peacock once used … Read More

13 must-have Indian food experiences

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This piece was originally done for the travel company GoMowgli, highlighting Indian food experiences a first-time visitor must have.  From the 36-course Kashmiri wazwan to the simple biryani of Tamil Nadu, India offers to your palate a mind-boggling variety of tastes and flavours. Much like its people and culture, Indian food is highly diverse, with each region having a distinct … Read More

On fear, fist pumps and freedom

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“Stretch your legs out in front of you,” the instructor said, as I hung suspended by a pulley, ready for my first zip lining experience. The rope I clung to for dear life connected one mountain to another across the gorgeous green valley of Cherrapunjee. I had decided to do this after agreeing to the the driver’s mysterious question,” Madam, … Read More

A night on an island in a tiger reserve!

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A version of this story, titled “Fiercely protected, fearlessly wild”, was first published by The Pollachi Papyrus on 21 October 2015. Read it here. Spread over 640 km2, and surrounded by forests on all sides, the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is home to a large number of endangered and endemic species – tigers, elephants, langurs, macaques, bears, bison, deer and various birds, … Read More

Romanticising train travel in India

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This story was first published in The Better India, on September 8, 2015,  titled: This is why I cannot stop travelling by Indian trains. Read it here. The sun was pink and gold as it rose over the plains, getting bigger and bigger as the train sped through the fields. I was standing at the door of Trivandrum Mail, with … Read More

Why Coorg keeps calling me back

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This story was first published by Tripoto on May 26, 2015. Read it here Image credit: Ramya Sriram  Dark-leaved coffee plantations. Waterfalls cascading down hills. Pepper vines winding their way around tall trees.  Misty morning walks. Smiling peaceful people. If there’s any place that’s called me back again and again, it’s Coorg, nestled in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. I … Read More

The family that travels together stays together!

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This piece was originally published on Tripoto on 5 May 2015.   www.tripoto.com/trip/the-family-that-travels-together-stays-together-6304 The first thing that comes to mind when I think of my childhood travels is a blue Milton water carrier that faithfully accompanied us on long train journeys. Along with carefully rolled chapathis, fried snacks and biscuits, it formed our portable kitchen, a place where us kids … Read More

Why WPP Stream India 2015 was like a comic

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(I was a Young Star awardee and an IGNITE Talks speaker at WPP Stream India 2015, Jaipur.) Having been drawing for most of my life, I find it easier to sometimes think in pictures than in words. I’m always looking for material to put into my frames, and WPP Stream India 2015 provided the perfect fodder for it. Stream, an … Read More

Valparai: Waterfalls, wilderness and solace

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This story was first published by Yahoo! India Travel | Traveler on Mon 20 Oct, 2014 10:43 AM IST The link no longer works as Yahoo! just demolished their India travel section, taking away all the stories with it. Notes from an 80-km journey from the roaring Athirappilly waterfalls in Kerala to the forest-fringed tea plantations of Valparai in Tamil Nadu … Read More

Mint | The Bayon Temple, Cambodia

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A version of this story, titled “Facing up to the past”, was first published in Mint on Sat, Apr 26 2014. 12 11 AM IST. Read the published article here. The Angkor Smile The 216 faces of the Bayon seem to know something we don’t. J7  is  what  he’s  called  by  the  locals.  No,  he’s  not  a  rapper,  but  he  certainly  is  … Read More

Train ride of a lifetime

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This story was first published by Yahoo! India Travel | Traveler on Tue 5 Nov, 2013 12:05 PM IST. Read it here. (Update: This link no longer works as Yahoo! India recently shut down its travel section, taking away all the the stories  and comments with it.) Delhi to Thiruvananthapuram on the Konkan Railway, all of 3,149 km, is the longest trip … Read More