Life on a Finnish Island

There we were, the three of us: Vera, her daughter and I. The sauna was as unlike anything that you’ll find assembled in India: it looked rough and hand-made, and would have looked completely out of place in a spa at a five star hotel anywhere in our country. It was ten metres from the…

Food and War in Sri Lanka

The best way of starting a war in Sri Lanka, is to ask a group of housewives the exact recipe of curry powder. It’s something that every kitchen on the island contains, because it goes into a wide variety of dishes. But, as I found out soon enough, it’s akin to asking a bunch of…

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…