Truth, freedom, and identity: scattered travel thoughts

The contemporary struggle for truth and freedom isn’t quite contemporary; it’s a debate that existed long before the horrors of 2016 (I apologise for referencing Buzzfeed), Conway’s #alternativefacts, or the purported end-of-American-democracy-as-we-know it. We often hear that we are at crucial crossroads, teetering on a precipice of intolerance and deceit never before encountered — but the conflation…

The Unexpected Cuba

Every city has its own music. Havana’s is best characterised by the cacophony of beeps and honks (emitted from decades-old Fords, Buicks, and Moskvitchs/Москвич alike) that – strangely enough – melds into a fascinating symphony when paired with the salsa/samba/rumba music reverberating on every street and plaza corner. Havana’s music reflects its vibrancy: its vibrancy…

On Movement and Trains (and College)

I’m not quite sure what time it was when the train started to move (ten, fifteen, maybe 20 minutes after it was due to leave the station? Czech trains sadly lack the timeliness and efficiency of its German and Austrian neighbours), but its departure was signalled by a familiar musical refrain – a buildup of…

From SFO to LHR

“Mr. Møller’s message to us is a call to action. As citizens of the world and leaders of the future, we have a collective responsibility to address the issues of peace, sustainable development, and human rights facing our world today.” – Read my latest article for the Stanford Political Journal, on UN Director-General Michael Møller’s call…

Oxford Shenanigans

“Oh, so you blog?” “Yeah, I do! Well, kind of.” That murky wave of guilt laps at my conscience and I remember that it’s literally been months since I last posted. Sitting across a new friend at a beautiful coffee shop in Oxford, I begin to recall why I started blogging in the first place….

The Middle Kingdom

[First published in my school editorial, One Voice] The Middle Kingdom has, for the last few decades, dominated the center of many budding and puzzled minds, enshrouded in an amalgamation of mystery, awe, and fear. Fledging teenagers (like myself) struggle to comprehend and keep up with the workings of the economic giant, for it has certainly…

London: Singular Sunlit Solstice

London. There is something inherently exhilarating about megacities that compel us to marvel at the achievements of human existence – the skyscrapers that seem to stretch for eternity into the sky; the varied architecture that hints at periods of intense demolishing and then robust development; the multitude of people that crowd the streets, each with…

Italy: Vibrant Hues

The psychedelic colours that saturate this film absolutely stun me; the vibrant hues of foamy blue and blood orange coalesce into some sort of dreamy, eternal-sunset-splashed heaven. Italy is indeed a beautiful place: elderly centenarians (perhaps not quite; but the Dumbledore-esque wispy white beards seem to make them decades wiser) stroll along the cobbled streets;…

Siem Reap: Savong’s School

I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy. – Kahlil Gibran The rickety drive up the bumpy, pot-holed path to Savong’s School was always one of suppressed excitement; the pit of my stomach would…

Siem Reap: Colorful Characters

The most exhilarating part of traveling is chancing across an intriguing, colorful array of people along the way. This trip to Siem Reap not only led us on a journey of self-discovery and service, but brought us on an adventure to meet a myriad of different characters, each with their own riveting stories. Often taxi drivers…

Siem Reap: Epicurean Explorations

Food is the language we all speak. Food is also the door to another culture; the physical manifestation of complex undertones of emotion, complicated webs of history, and ineffable human connections and individual refinements that all coalesce in a beautiful explosion of flavors. One mouthful is all it takes to taste the rich Cambodian history,…

Siem Reap: Culinary Creations

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude. – Julia Child The kaleidoscopic array of colors arranged so stunningly in an amalgamation of lettuce leaves, carrot strips, cucumber bunches, crisp basil and petite onions sat alluringly in the center of the table. Dinner plates from…

Mr & Mrs Bund

A long line up of half-hearted, half-written drafts of abandoned and (not) forgotten blog posts await my attendance – and it doesn’t help that all I seem to want to do of late is curl up in my blissful little cocoon of a rocking chair and immerse myself in a world of literature. But shush….

Sri Lanka: Rustic charm amidst quirky delight

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world. -Gustave Flaubert I’ve always loved elephants, so I was delighted that we were going to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage this trip. Baby elephants are always objects of wonder for children and adults ‘ooh’ and ‘awwwh’ over, but a small pat…

Sri Lankan Escapades: Ambrosial Delight

Breakfast, lunch, dinner – have you ever wondered who determined that there was to be 3 meals a day? Three meals a day? Such devastatingly few moments of relish, such undeviating devotion to rigidity! Perhaps just another ritual, another precautionary control set up against the gluttons (like myself) who would otherwise drown in a sea…

Ceylon Tea Plantations: Gastronomical Wonders

Once a colony of the British empire, Sri Lanka (formerly known as British Ceylon) is very much dotted with quaint colonial buildings and sprawling bungalows set atop tea plantations. We had the privilege to stay in Norwood bungalow for two nights and our experience there was simply astounding. From sipping tea in the plush living…

Krabi, Thailand: Foodscapade

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart. Life is short; why not eat? Good food is a work of art in itself- and like art, food has a immense history of culture and intense flavors that shape each type of cuisine. Thailand is no exception; perhaps…

Krabi: Escape into idyllic paradise

The throaty rumble of the boat across choppy waters Whooshes to secluded beaches in little splutters Advances towards the blissful haven Isolated; radiant heaven Waves roll gently in, caressing the golden sand Gritty specks, grasped in outstretched hand Blossoming flowers, tucked behind ears Whisper soothing tunes for all to hear There is little hurt blowing…

Barcelona in Gray Hues: Spain ’11

The shadowy tones of the film; the mysterious blacks hiding under the disguise of alluring whites; the ever-enticing rustic charm- it’s no wonder that black and white film has come back into fashion nowadays. No wonder, that film photography has made its comeback- even with the technological advance that has been so proudly heralded in…

Splendid Illusions on the East Coast: Orlando ’12

Apologies for the delay; I had my second roll of Kodak developed just this last week. I really can’t stop marveling at the vibrant, saturated colors: they’re absolutely brilliant- the white streaks of cloud rippling across the startlingly blue sky- just perfect. Spending 5 days in theme parks was a tiring ordeal, although it was…

Gray Skies, Blue Days- Rainy Adventures in San Francisco

Rain. The soft pitter-patter against the windowsill. The melodic splattering against the ground. The relentless drumming on the rooftop. I love the rain. The tingly touch of it on your tongue, the musty and distinctly earthy smell of the air, the grayish pensive skies. Most days I relish the short spells of heavy rain: it…

Dazzling Sundance on the West Coast

I love the brilliant shine and highly saturated colors of the Kodak Ektar 100. Pretty much all the photos turned out wonderfully (in the beautiful Nevada and Florida sunshine; San Francisco’s weather did not live up to expectation). Pretty proud of this first roll of Ektar on my grandpa’s Pentax MX, considering that the camera…

Scintillating Lights- Las Vegas

Paris may be the city of lights, but no city trumps Las Vegas when it comes to a display of effulgent neon strobes and glinting headlamps. In fact, one could say that Vegas is the true city of dazzling luminosity. Gliding into Las Vegas in the morning means bright blue skies, sandy majestic rolling hills…

Time lapse

I love traveling. Arrived at San Francisco last night after a long flight (including transits-21 hours), and now I’m currently on a flight to Vegas. Listening to ‘Come Fly With Me’ while looking out over the San Francisco Bay, staring over the altostratus clouds and marveling at the hilly ranges. Pure bliss, I say. We…

Spain December 2011

Last winter’s escapade to Spain was one filled with delights, both in gastronomical terms (the food there was simply divine) and in architectural and cultural wonders. I loved Spain. The shopping opportunities and coastal views didn’t hurt, either. This roll was shot with my Diana F+, 120mm film (Can’t remember which type, but I think…