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Brahmaputra - Deep and Immersive

  A few days back we had a most defining and immersive experience on a cruise on the Brahmaputra. This was my third (or fourth) cruise across the mighty river.   We started from Guijjan, a small hamlet near Tinsukia, at 7 am, in a small boat. Our destination was an area called Maili in the upper reaches of Brahmaputra where some wild horses had been sighted by forest people. The journey was supposed to take 4 hours.   During the rainy season, junglee horses move around, as their original settlement around the Dibru Saikhowa national park is flooded.   The Dibru Saikhowa is fed by the Brahmaputra and Lohit and Dibru and an interlaced galaxy of small and big tributaries. Our boatman informed us that we were going towards the Siang (or Dihang, pronounced as Dehing) River, another of those distributing and feeding tributaries that weave in and out of the main river. It was mildly raining and the boat ride itself was a joy. The Rangagora tea estate to the left was one of the first sig
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A Bowl of Pakhala

Come March, the people of Odisha have to start battling the high and dry heat of an early summer that kind of side steps over what is supposed to be “Basanta Rutu” or Spring season; a season supposed to buffer the summer and be mild, but which slyly gives the state a miss. Summer is all of a sudden upon us, before we have even packed away our winter clothes. We start feeling the departure of winter when the vegetables, fresh beet and carrots and cauliflowers and laukis and peas suddenly start looking dry and withered, then one day suddenly lose their taste. Then comes the loo, the dry wind that the river bed brings in during the mid-day, that is suffocating and all pervasive. Suddenly the swarms of mosquitoes disappear and you know that the temperature is hovering around the 40s mark. But, the real indicator, that Summer is here? The Pakhala . The dish whose images have started doing the rounds of social media in recent years, and so much so, apparently, a day has been dedicated to it!

The Wonder That is Versailles - a Palace of Dreams

There are fewer things grander in European Architecture than the Palace at Versailles .  The Hall of Mirrors, Palace of Versailles Like Louis the XIV,s motto "nec pluribus impar", the Versailles Palace is more than a match for anything of the era.  It fascinated me during my lectures on Landscape Architecture not just for its scale and grandeur, but also the ingenuity of some of the features. The kings of France took quite a bit of flak for the construction and maintenance of the Palace which eventually crippled their economy and lead to the French Revolution. But what a dream the Palace was! What started as a simple chateau and a Hunting Lodge in the forests for King Louis XIII, got transformed to one of the most grand Royal Courts in the world, that literally crippled a country in its maintenance.  The Versailles Palace reinforced the glamour and lavish architecture inside and outside with the varied and colourful court life of the Royal entourage, the French Nobility and a

Climbing Ben Nevis

 The morning of my third day at Fort William, I started for Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest peak in the British Isles and a favourite with trek lovers. It is a one day trek and one can easily reach the top if one plans accordingly. The walk from the B & B to the mountains was a distance of 3 kms. Not being an early waker, I reached the spot around 10 am. The beautiful walk had a curling field on the way. Curling was a popular old sport in the highlands which combined the raw strength of the Highlanders with strategy and skills. One has to slide huge round stones from one end of the play area to the other to reach its destination. It is called curling as the stones take a curvilinear path to reach the circle at the other end! Curling Field, Ben Nevis Reaching the foothills of the Nevis opened up a sight of a series of hills so breathtaking in beauty as only something so far up on the hemisphere can have. A stream bubbled along the foothills (River Nevis actually) and one had to

Mind Medicine - The Best Vaccine

The vaccine scene for the corona virus seems to be reaching the final stages. For better or for worse we will be getting a vaccine soon. Whether it will have long term side effects as some discrete reports suggest, time will tell. But again, the entire vaccine industry is under severe scrutiny and not just for the Corona vaccine. The biggest crisis that the last few months has thrown up, together with the scrouge of the virus is that of the mental variety. While those that have got the severe form of the virus have definitely faced distress and disruption in their lives, its the rest of the population worldwide, the majority, that has faced a different kind of challenge, with the abnormal changes to lifestyle. The crisis has seen varied responses - from the most conservative, masked, dont mix, stay at home, dont eat or step outside, wait it out response to the brazen it out, and dont care, and life goes one as usual response and many forms of in between.  The virus, its consequences, s

Nana - RIP

On this first anniversary of Nana, I find the memories of him starting to unclog, as if they were stuck somewhere down there in the system, and refusing to come out as memories, tales waiting to be told and retold by him. But now he can’t verify them. Being his daughter, I was subjected to some fierce protectiveness and love (not that his sons were spared the same). A tale he loved to tell and which I distinctly remember, is how I once cried because a teacher hit me in class. I cried at home. The next day he was in the classroom and asking me which teacher hit me, while I pointed at her. I don’t know who was more mortified, the teacher or the six year old me. But nonetheless, I think I was relieved because I do remember she was a terror. I was shifted to another section. When I first went to school by cycle, he would reach there as the bell rang and ride by me on his scooter!!! The same continued when I came back home after hostel. He would be at the bus stop to fetch me

Top 4 Things the Corona Will Change in the World # Lifestyle Goals

Here are 4 effects, in my opinion, the Corona Virus is going to have on the World on the aftermath of the crisis, while editing our lifestyle goals. 1.  Going on a cruise . That is one lifestyle goal many of us have. Go on a World cruise once I retire/ once I have saved enough, once the kids grow up. Not any longer though. Many cruise ships are still stranded on the high seas and are being shown on the Corona tracker as amongst those most affected. As it is, Cruising is a dangerous event. To put ones life in a floating vessel that is a speck on the wide high seas with not a ship/soul in sight, is surrendering oneself to the mighty ocean. And now the holiday makers are stranded with no country wanting them to land on their shores. The passengers are confined to their cabins. Of course one can say it is the ultimate social distancing and no worse than what most of us have to go through. But honestly I would prefer to do it with my feet firmly on the ground. As per a CNN report more