NEET and all that is wrong with Tamil Nadu

S Anitha, who had scored 1176 out of 1200 in Class 12 State board exams, committed suicide. She was a daughter of a poor daily daily wage labourer in a small village in Ariyalur district in Tamil Nadu. She wanted to be a doctor. She couldn’t. She could get only 86 in the National Eligibility…

The hunt for palazzo pants in Chennai

It has been three months since I have been on the hunt for comfortable and cheap black cotton palazzos pants. When I say cheap, I was looking for palazzos at the price point of under Rs 600. It is not too much to ask is it? I never realised that it would be a near…

My first memory of Madras, 20 years ago

The memory of my first time in Madras is still clear. It was probably 1996 when Madras was still Madras and yet to become the Chennai it was today. That feeling of awe I felt when I first got down in the Egmore railway station, which was foreign yet exhilarating, is something I don’t think…

Pasta for the belly and John Denver for the soul

Who doesn’t love a good Italian pesto? I’m no exception. It is hardly a wonder that there are as much restaurants that serve pasta as good Punjabi thali in Chennai. Needless to say it is a go to dish for many like me. Places like Spaghetti Kitchen and Ox and Tomatoes were my favourite hangout places….

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…