True story: A tale of greed, murder and a haunted house

(Since it is a true story, all names and places were changed or intentionally not mentioned to protect the identity of the family involved.) It is not everyday you find a story that draws you and compels you to write it down. It was one such moment for me when I visited my home town…

When work takes you to 12th Century Samburavayar dynasty

I wonder when was the last time I was in the midst of lush green paddy fields surrounded by mountains and smell of tilled earth. It had just stopped raining when I reached Padavedu, the capital of Sambuvarayar dynasty during 12th Century Chola period and four hours from Chennai. The small town under the scorching…

A study of South Asian cuisine at Noodle Bar

Best kind of dates are those that are unplanned. It was one such impromptu call from my friend that took us to Noodle Bar on a sultry summer afternoon in Phoenix Market City in Chennai.   As you enter the restaurant, you will be greeted by a statue of Buddha. The seating area and surroundings…

Tattoo culture in India, then and now

Tattoos. I had always wanted one but kept away from it for various reasons, pain being the number one. I have wondered why people would want to undergo the pain to get themselves inked. I have asked my friend who got himself two tattoos. According to him it a form of expression. Something he feels…

Tale of misal pav and broken ankle in Pune

It was supposed to be a relaxing two day trip to Pune. Evenings were supposed to be free and to be spent with a friend there, eating and looking around the city. If only I had not fallen down and not strained my ankle ligament. Anyway Pune did happen and I somehow tried to make…

Chester Bennington, a voice my teenage self still in love with

It was probably somewhere in mid 2004 when I first heard of this rock band called Linkin Park. In the sleepy little town of Nagercoil, where Rangoli and Oliyum Oliyum in Doordarshan took precedence, MTV, VTV and SS music did not exist for us let alone rock bands. Even the few who knew were keeping…

Could Avvaiyar and Thiruvalluvar be siblings?

Can Sangam poets Avvai and Vallurvar be actually siblings? History suggests that they could be. My mother and I were having a long pointless chat, the best kind, on a lazy Sunday evening after our evening coffee. We were talking about how different Kanyakumari is from the rest of Tamil Nadu. I don’t know how…

Coffee plantations, perfumeries and cave temples of Yercaud

Yercaud. It is a small tourist area set amidst the misty mountains, rocky terrain and picturesque valley. The place is like a breath of fresh air from the chaotic city life. You will never see another human being if you do not wish to. There are no sounds except for chirping of birds and rustling…

Poetry slam: A war of poets in modern times

I was having an interesting conversation with a poet and graffiti artist Martijn Bekvegter Nelen I met in Belgium last year. He was telling me about how poetry slam is a fad in Europe now and how he has become a full-time poet. Poetry slam. Though the phrase was vaguely familiar I was not all…

Mowgli, a boy in yellow loincloth

It was a time when cable television was very common in most houses, even in rural areas. Our house, which was in a small town in the Southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu, did not have the connection. It was early 1990s. I was barely four and my sister three and we were blissfully happy not…