From Kabedon to Wabi-Sabi and Ikigai, the beauty of Japanese language

How many languages do you know that has a word for every damn thing? I mean like literally everything. I know one – Japanese.  The language, based on my elementary proficiency and reading popular literature, has a vocabulary so wide that it makes me wonder if there are any situations that cannot be described by…

Coup d’état, small town style!

It was 9 PM. Men and women in groups of three and four were whispering in a remote village in a district in rural Tamil Nadu. After an interval, of say 15-20 min, a person from one group would move to the other to keep them abreast of the discussion, again in a whisper. That…

2020: A year like no other and surviving the pandemic

There cannot be a better cliche than – “A year that was”. It is cheesy, said way too often and well, people fall for it every time, myself included. But I cannot help feel nostalgic when a year ends. So I end up writing a reflection of the year gone by as a new year…

Story of sweet rice fritters from South India to Indonesia

One of the best things about Karthikai Deepam (a light festival celebrated in Southern India), is sweet appam (rice fritters). I love this snack. I remember waking  up to the wafting aroma of fried coconuts and cardamom as my mom makes the appam batter.  I had always looked forward to eating it in the evening. …

Aadi perukku by the river, once upon a time in Nagercoil

Ramu could still hear the river Pazhayar burbling its way through this small settlement near its bank in Nagercoil, where he grew up. Nagercoil is a small town in the Southern tip of India, Kanyakumari. Few feet from the river bank is a Shiva temple that he frequented after bathing in the river. A little…

How do Asian comics portray single women in their 30s?

There are three friends, women (29), who were friends right from their high school. They are at different stages of life, more or less. Let us name them Akira, Baka and Caito Akira has never been able to get a permanent job and the boyfriend she has been dating for four years is not looking…

Traversing European streets in December

I have always loved Christmas. Of course most of this love in part stems from the amazing consumerism the Hollywood movies helped instill in most of us. But, having actually experienced it first hand, in London and most recently in Belgium, the “Christmas-y” feel is pretty much real and I love it.  It is amazing…

Coronavirus diaries: A case of suicide in Nagercoil, Kanyakumari

Panchavadi. It is the name of a place. My grandmother says it was where Lord Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana stayed before Seetha was abducted by Ravana. It also refers to a place that has five auspicious trees.  In Nagercoil, the name refers to the complex with five houses. They have been there as long as…