Cedar wood and rhodedendrons 

My friend Akanksha lives in Dharamsala, Uttarakhand. Her village is a bit up above Dharamsala. The place is so tiny and personal that at the airport I can just ask the guard how to get to Mr. Sharma’s house and he would happily show me the way. Akka moved there in January and every time…

Traversing cuisine map in books

Words have such mysterious power to evoke and excite senses making them explore and discover different worlds. Having always been under their spell I made a recent discovery that while reading a book I linger over food description and then tend to explore more of that cuisine.  This tastebud exploration led me to read more…

Preparing Mauritian Poutous 

‘The Poutou’ which sounds more like a character in a Victorian novel is actually a delightful street food snack from Mauritius. It is a white rice cake cooked with grated coconut.  Recipe for 20 Poutous  Ingredients 180 g rice flour  150 g grated coconut  230 ml milk 100 g sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons…

Tokyo diaries: Before starting the day

We found ourselves at Ellie’s cafe while suddenly wanting a hot cup of coffee before exploring Ryogoku. The coffeeshop looked like a storybook picture from Hans Christian Andersen tales located in an inside lane. It was silent all around and the effect enhanced the cafe’s fairytale quality. The owner was a beautiful plump woman with…

Tokyo diaries: Sometimes…

Sometimes I read this particular entry in my diary. It talks about an article in Asahi Shimbun about Manga creator Rosewell Hosoki who created the series, ‘Sake no Hosomochi’ about the office worker Sotatsu Iwama.  The series is about casual after work drinking sessions…that cozy hubbub feel one can only get in cafes and pubs…

Book review: The Great Passage by Shion Miura

For someone who loves words so much I didn’t realise how rarely I pay attention to them. In the world of contemporary Japanese fiction this book is surely not be missed. The lovable quirky team at Gembu Publishing that has undertaken the mammoth task of publishing the new age The Great Passage dictionary know how…

Short story: The Cathedral

Sunlight made its way through rainbow colored panels and rested on ornate ceilings of the Cathedral sprouting in thousand different colors. The woman with long dark hair kept on looking at colorful ceilings till the sun went down. The effect was extremely stark. There were no more colors on ceilings. It was ornate, sombre and…

Three must-read books on N.Korea

These books had the most amount of impact on me emotionally and mentally when it comes to lives affected in isolated country by it’s regime, not to mention how much they inspired me.  1. In order to Live by Yeonmi Park All the time while reading this book I was shockingly aware that all the…

Disrobing awkwardness in a coffeeshop

I closed the book ‘The Nakano Thrift Shop.’ Did I know anyone resembling Takeo in my life? Meanwhile the barista served a plate of ensaymadas garnished with fluffy cheese to the bespectacled Filipino man dressed in white formals sitting next to me on the community table.  I looked at my plate of ensaymada with one…

Book review: The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami

Finding lesser known authors and their books is one of the reasons I love visiting bookshops on my travels. When you are in Manila please do visit Fully Booked bookshop where I bumped into this fictional treasure. Nakano thrift shop selling second-hand goods is a microcosm of human stories playing outside on a large scale….

Japan diaries: Moments I remember the most…

What makes a journey so special? It is moments you expect to experience and which you do, and on other realm is moments which just take you by surprise and form a deep impression giving a layered texture to the whole trip. Doesn’t it happen during all travels and isn’t it the inevitable promise of…

Japan Diaries: Kyoto highlights

“I simply want to saunter the streets of Kyoto,” I kept on saying this like a mantra to Man of Aquarius till he gave up on suggesting anything which even minutely sounded like a concrete travel itinerary. However, the best laid unplanned plans can sometimes turn unknowingly into proper plans. We had only scheduled a…