On the Train to Angkor

When you’re splitting Bangkok at 5.55 in the morning, it’s better not to sleep at all. The reason for us fleeing the charms of Southeast Asia’s party central is waiting at a platform at Hualamphong, Bangkok’s imposing railway station. The three of us blearily stagger in, asking for the “Cambodia Express”. Only, there’s nothing remotely…

The Goan Beach Shack Acid Test

If you’re expecting a description of Anjuna exploding in a blast of colours, or Kool Aid running riot in Arambol, I’m sorry. The subject of this diatribe is the availability, or otherwise, of what I consider a vital (and very legal) part of my Goan beach therapy. Goan food. Sure, there’s the roast tongue at…

Not my Department

  Have you ever bought a shiny new car, only to realise that you’ve been sold a repainted old clunker? You’ll understand how I feel. I, a guy who rarely, if ever, hits a theatre to see a Hindi movie, was finally dragged to one. I settled down to watch Ram Gopal Varma’s supposed magnum opus,…

Pangongarama

It was the last black hole on my Ladakh map. Two visits up there and, somehow, that trip to Pangong Tso never happened. Floods, landslides, itineraries…the proverbial spanner in the works always cropped up. All my friends who’d been up to Ladakh looked at me incredulously, saying “Dude, you’ve done Ladakh twice, and you’ve never been…

A Lost Watering Hole

Bangalore has had the misfortune of being hit with a double whammy over the last decade. On the one hand, the tech boom has sent the population (and, consequently, property prices) soaring. On the other, the city has been taken over by ‘leaders’ who compare unfavourably with sewer rats. Their only contribution being to rename…

An Imported Hero

He’s a dentist from Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. He went, starry-eyed, to Misrata, Libya, thinking it was just another job, albeit a high-paying one. What my buddy, Srinivas Raju, couldn’t have imagined was that, barely a year into his stay, his world would be turned upside down. Havoc broke loose in the wake of the…

Potty Humour

There’s something about toilets that brings out the poet, the bard, the artist and the writer in people who normally suffer from a permanent creative block. And, I’m not even counting the lewd messages, ladies’ phone numbers and graphical depictions of sexual acts dotting the world’s restrooms. Or the mangled variants of “Leddies” and “Gends”…

The Ghost on the Gata Loops

You’ve probably never heard of the Gata Loops unless you’ve been on the bone-jarring, but stunningly beautiful, road from Manali to Leh, high up in the western Himalayas. Twenty one hairpin bends up a mountain on the Himachal Pradesh-J&K border make for a good panoramic shot, but Anil, our driver, was rather fidgety while I…