This is a story about how when you hear penguins at 20,000 feet, there’s a good chance you’re in deep sh*t.
“Ladies and gentlemen…the weather situation in Srinagar is very bad…flights are being diverted to Delhi…four flights just before us…we will try and see.” I’d absorbed only fragments of the pilot’s announcement as my head was buried in a book. We’d come from Mumbai and rivers of monsoon to escape to Kashmir in northern India, apparently only to find more storms.
Then we began our descent. Continue Reading »
Slum. It’s a loaded word, one that conjures a raft of negative imagery. But there’s one characteristic that’s not likely to come to mind: industry.
That’s where Dharavi, Mumbai’s most populated slum, might surprise you. Continue Reading »
This is a story about the mystery of mountains, a San Francisco swami, a stroke of good luck, a dabbawalla and the fine art of resourcefulness.
Long, long ago in the late 1990s, I lived in San Francisco. And next door to me lived a man who would one day become a swami. And he told me of a land called Ladakh.
But before I get to that, a photo.
Continue Reading »
What better time to visit Crawford Market in Mumbai than mango season! Continue Reading »
It was our India moment. You know, the kind of travel moment when you’re on a trip and you think to yourself, “Now this is why I came here.”
No, we weren’t sipping masala tea and eating chicken tikka while admiring the image of the Taj Mahal in its reflecting pool. Rather, we were tucked into the sticky folds and the dingy creases of an uncontrived real-life Indian experience.
It was awful; it was amazing. Maybe not amazing, but eye-opening. Uncomfortable, certainly.
Most of all, we wondered how on Earth our overnight Indian tourist sleeper bus transformed into a chicken bus stuffed to the gills with what seemed like a crowd of refugees. Continue Reading »
A roller coaster ride on a bus honking in sync to the beat of Bollywood tunes blaring on a television dangling from the ceiling; a dash through endless strings of chaotic villages and heaps of people; a panorama of barreling trucks listing and careening their way through clouds of dust; an endless cacophony of ear-piercing, elephant-inspired air horns; roadside vendors stringing together flower garland temple offerings amidst clouds of pollution; food stalls serving up colorful bites in makeshift newspaper cups and banana leaves; cows and long-horned oxen browsing through sidewalk trash heaps; and Brahmin priest blessings by morning and elephant blessings by night.
Life in all its incarnations of filth and colorful glory. Just another typical day for us in southern India. Continue Reading »