Death Of An Eatery

By Chanchal Thapa  Two years ago my usually laid-back uncle decided to buy a new smart-phone. So, he took me along as a ‘tech support’. It was late in the afternoon and in the circular Mirik Bazaar, we did a semi-circle and inevitably, landed at Bablu Da’s shop. There weren’t many shopping options back then….

Vazhapally: An Accidental Discovery In Changanassery

By the time the headlights of Hari’s Datsun Go was illuminating the mossy residential walls of Vazhapally in Changanassery, I knew I had truly gone off beat with my Kerala drifting. Two weeks ago I had had to Google Changanassery and struggled to pronounce it without losing my way in the alphabets. And now, here…

Hunting For A Decent Meal In Varkala

I would have continued staring out of the window had it not been for the out of place backpackers on the platform. Where else could there be so many backpackers in Kerala but in Varkala. However, out of the train, into the spic and span platform and then out of the station, there is no…

The Kerala Local: A Cinematic Pause For Travelers

The next morning, life has moved on. It’s a Friday and I have to push off to Varkala – the beach paradise in Kerala I have heard of so often. For a while Pabla will part. She will head down to Kovalam and will join me in Varkala, a day late. This was September 2nd….

Kanyakumari Is A Celebration

The south couldn’t care less whether you feel comfortable or not, whether they fit your standards of travel or not – here you fit in. You adjust.

Thirukkural Express: Train To Kanyakumari (Part 2)

(Read Part 1) Somewhere around 11.58 p.m. Vodafone informed me that I’m in Maharashtra and then somewhere at 5.15 in the morning, when I was fast asleep it did its duty by welcoming me into Adhra Pradesh and Telangana. Now that’s where I am. I have crossed Vijayawada and can now feel the ocean on…

Thirukkural Express: Train to Kanyakumari

It’s 10 a.m. The journey started at 5 in the morning when I woke up with a realization that I would soon have to vacate this familiar bed with its soft pillow. And then, before I knew it, I was zapping through the early morning roads of Delhi. A right turn from the Lajpat Nagar…

Why Women Should Loiter More

Originally published in Why Loiter? I’ve been loitering my entire life. Just loafing in some corner, ambling away time in road side tea stalls and taking indefinite long walks to nowhere in particular. Now, I’ve qualified to solo travelling, drifting from place to place without purpose. I travel unplanned, without a set route or list of…

The ‘Real’ Kaza

After the bumpy ride from Manali, the wind-stricken stay at Batal and the maddening walk to the breath-taking Chandra taal, my bones were craving comfort, a clean washroom, hot water and some belly filling food. And that’s exactly what I got in Kaza. Here, I’m cooped up at Hotel Spiti Heritage. A relatively new hotel in…

Spiti Valley – A Geography Lesson You’ll Never Forget

I’m overwhelmed, stunned and slightly disoriented by the landscape I’ve just witnessed and encountered in the past 4 or 5 hours. This is what I was waiting for clearly. Turn after turn, bend after bend, one breath-taking sight after the other. Spiti valley is ethereal (so much that I have to use a cliché). Laying…

Everything Unwanted The Road Offers

The strangest thing happened today. I had reached Batal by 9 or so in the morning. The wind hadn’t started yet. The bus from Kaza arrived dutifully at 11. I was in the dhaba doing what I don’t quite remember. The crowd started spilling into the shack and soon it was a chaos curry of…

Learning To Be A Freeloader

The breathing problem got worse in the morning. I want to get down to Batal at the earliest. I feel awkward in Chandratal and there is no one to talk to. All the other tourists here are with friends and spent their time either in their tents or preparing for the trek to Chandrataal, stuffing their…