On a coffee estate in Coorg

The lunch that was hosted by Sagar and Kavita Muthappa at their well-appointed estate bungalow served as a house-warming for the Muthappa’s family and friends. Coorgs or Kodavas (“But please don’t go calling us Coorgis!” Sagar Muthappa warns me, mock-threateningly) are a close-knit community, with members of each extended family thinking up excuses for periodic…

With love, for Kashmir

I was delighted when a shopkeeper in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul called me Hema Malini. Not, I hasten to add, because I am a fan of that actress, nor indeed because I have any pretensions of looking like a star, but because it was one more point to chalk up on my ‘Kashmir’ board.…

I Love Paris in the Baking time

Not only is it a handsome, majestic city, where just walking around the streets can be an enchanting experience, but it has vast depths for whatever your interest is. Do you want to visit museums till your eyes bubble? You don’t have far to look. Do you want to explore world-class shops? You’ve come to…

Pangot

If you’ve never heard of Pangot, it means, quite simply, that you are not a birder. It’s one of the prime spots in Kumaon for bird watching, where regular sightings of the notoriously shy chir pheasant take place. In addition, Pangot has two added attractions: you’ll find more types of birds here than in any…

Chinese the Indian way

On a recent trip to Beijing, I was intrigued with a vegetarian dish of what appeared to be noodles, but which were made with vegetables mixed with flour. Called Liang Bei Fen Pi, it was composed of pale green noodles lightly steamed and topped with an intensely spicy sauce of coarsely pounded red chillies fried…

The French Farm

Rumour has it that the day of the humble turnip is over. What has appeared in its place is a cornucopia of exotic vegetables which the average Indian farmer would have trouble pronouncing. Bell peppers – red, yellow and purple, mangetout, shitake mushrooms, escarole, endives, celery and baby carrots are all snapped up by executive…

Naldhera for Gateway

“Pack your golf clubs and get the hell out of this house. Permanently.” Under normal circumstances, this ranting would constitute very sound grounds for divorce. On the other hand, in the Sud household in Shimla, it was the extremely propitious start to a business that has been lucrative and satisfying. You’ve heard the term golf…