On leaving home

The start of holiday planning is a phase of weaving between a frantic kind of excitement and “oh, I’ll have to leave the comfort of my kettle and tea / my bathroom / my patch of sunshine on the porch”. It’s just so convenient to not have adventures. “Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things”, as Bilbo Baggins…

Birding in the Kumaon Himalayas

Part of the Himal Kalasutra festival’s ethos is to increase visitors’ and reinforce the locals’ sense of awareness and awe of biodiversity here. To that end, the 2-day birding programme. I went on the first day with Bhanu, a birding guide from the village, local kids (including 3 teenagers, one of whom is taking the…

Childrun of the mountains

This here boy returns for his 5th year organising a 5 and 10k run for the villages of Munsiari. This is where he fell in love with teaching kids things. For once, I’ve taken 5 years to come and see what he’s been upto. Here’s what it is and what it means for those he’s…

Growing up in a campus- a trip down the NCERT memory lanes

We grew up just outside, then living inside the NCERT campus. We (my brother and I) were well known figures in the campus-almost as well known as our rather popular father. Revisiting it as a 42 year old was highly interesting. Qutb Minar has been something I’d look up and see towering on most days….

Mountain of adventure – getting there

“You have to come meet my other family”, Arvind said. Knowing how rare it is for him to get this close to anyone, I have always been curious about Munsiari and it’s residents. They’d taken on the mystique suitable to a faraway mountainous hamlet crossed over with The Shire. But getting there to experience it…

Meghalaya, till we meet again!

All too soon, it was time to head back for home shores. This was (and I’m embarrassed to admit) the longest holiday I’ve ever had in 16 years of working. That it was possible for a life to change in 15 days, was not in the realm of possibilities for me. I experienced and learnt…

Season in the lemony wintry sun

Our penultimate day in Shillong was spent walking, sunning, inhaling the fresh mountainous air, drinking soulwarming beverages, and appreciating the company of good people. Now, that’s a great way to send off a holiday. Reena woke up all excited to take us to all the places she enjoyed the day before. So, as she and…

Doggies and markets galore

Arriving in the dark, to the biting cold of Shillong was a – well – chilling experience. Our new friend in high places, Mrs. Phanboh of Sa-I-Mika invited us to stay at her resort/ guest house/ cottage in Shillong town. It’s called Ken & Twill Cottage (named after her parents) So, we booked it, and…