This article was originally published in The Hindu. As a kid, I’ve often heard my grandmother talk about growing up in our native Punjab. I pictured little boys and girls running across big fields, plucking sour fruits and wild flowers, returning home at noon to the aroma of curries made with veggies fresh off the farm and paranthas laden with home-made white butter. I never imagined waking up to these images someday, given how they seemed only to be romanticized in the memories of people I knew.
We Indians are notorious when it comes to packing for a vacation. I remember all the family holidays that started with dragging heavy suitcases out of the house, bargaining with porters at the railway station, asking burly men for a hand to get the luggage up the luggage shelf of the train, and keeping track of all our many belongings. It didn’t matter whether the vacation lasted a weekend or a week; my mom had to pack what she had to pack. I’m glad I didn’t inherit her packing skills… [Read more on Women’s Web] This article was originally published on Women’s Web. Photo credit: Jhong Dizon.
Flipping through my travel archives of 2011, I am overcome with a strange sense of nostalgia. The world suddenly feels as small as that plastic globe you can buy off a children’s store. I’m strolling on the beaches of Southeast Asia one day, and hiking on the countryside of Europe the next. One minute, I’m warming myself with a gelato in Italy, the next I’m sampling momos in the Himalayan desert of India. I’m going solo, over land and on water, unearthing travel secrets that conceal themselves from a large part of the world.
This article was originally published on Offbeat Travel. I’m fascinated as Tenzing describes a mystery mountain close to his hometown in Spiti. He’s my first local friend, and the expert driver who we’ve entrusted with our lives, up the precarious mountain roads from Shimla to Spiti.
This travelogue was originally published on Women’s Web. “Are you married?” she curiously asks me. I reply in the negative, without bothering to delve into my ‘I don’t need it’ philosophy. When I ask her the same, she excitedly tells me that she can’t wait to, that her family is eagerly looking for a suitable match, and that age has nothing to do with it.
This post was originally written for & published in the Hindustan Times. As our jeep manoeuvres through the broken forest trail, a gale of wind blows off the hood of my jacket and whispers in my ear. Suddenly, I’ve forgotten that I’m cold and sleepy at an hour when even the sun is tucked in. I’ve been to Corbett before, but only on a tiger chase. Today, I want to unearth the mysteries of its wilderness.
Through the thin white barks of Eucalyptus trees, the first rays of sunrise promise to brighten a chilly morning. I walk through a small clearing in the field, amid dark green shrubs dotted with white, and extend my hand towards what look like snow-flakes, only they don’t melt at my touch. If you haven’t yet guessed, I’m strolling amid cotton fields. The seeds have burst, and the cotton is blooming.
For the almost half a dozen years that I lived in Southeast Asia, Malaysia was one of those next door neighbors that provided respite with its pristine blue waters, forest-covered expanses and inviting mountain peaks, all under the same roof, and more importantly, all under the same visa.
Sitting across the Kosi River, I watch the sunlight dancing in the river, the water splashing over the rocks. Surrounding me is the Jim Corbett National Park, part in Uttarakhand and part in Uttar Pradesh. This Corbett adventure is part of Club Mahindra‘s travel blogging trips across India, and I feel privileged to be part of it this year. Three days ago, six of us bloggers arrived at the Club Mahindra Safari Resort, with dreams of looking a tiger eye-to-eye in India’s oldest tiger reserve.
I’m surrounded by the jungles of Jim Corbett as I write this, my 200th post. This trip to India’s oldest Tiger Reserve is as special as today’s post; this is my first ever travel blogging trip, with the awesome social media folks at Club Mahindra. And I owe it to you, for reading my blog & keeping me company while I travel! So I’m going to thank you, and celebrate these two momentous occasions by giving away my copies of two of these 4 unlikely travel books to inspire you to travel.