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…

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…

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…

Coffee, a way of life

There are two types of people, those who love coffee and the rest who don’t. Cliched though it sounds, coffee is one such drink that either creates loyalists or enemies. There are hardly in-betweens. Because coffee is not just a drink for people like me, it is an emotion. (A cliche again, but please bare…

Are we regressing in the name of culture and heritage?

What is Indian culture? I feel compelled to ask this question after I read range of news reports that emphasised ‘pure’ way living and doing things like abstaining from desire, lust, eating meat and basically everything that a human needs. It all started with reports on how you should copulate only on auspicious days to…

Remnants of our Colonial past in North Madras

I had in fact forgotten how beautiful North Madras could be. It is so easy to forget that it was where the British had their headquarters during the time they ruled, before the commercial hub T.Nagar and orthodox Mylapore became the ‘cultured part’ of the city, tourists usually frequent. But the only part of Chennai…

Rediscovering Nagercoil through a journalist’s eyes

Going to your hometown or remotely near it is always a pleasure. The lush green fields, misty mountains and wind farms that dots the landscape welcomes you as you peer out of the window of the bus. When the bus stops and your feet touches the land, clean moist air caresses your cheek and whispers ‘Welcome…

For Indians, travelling is still a luxury

Travelling around the world and seeing the wonders the world has to offer. Isn’t that something everybody wants? We Indians are no different, at least people like you and me want to see more of what the world has to offer. So, we make a list of countries we want to visit. We browse through…