An Evening in Kalimpong

It hit me in Kalimpong. Not one commercial establishment had ‘West Bengal’ on their signage. It was always Gorkhaland. I could always shield my ignorance with the excuse that I am from south India, which is far removed from the politics of West Bengal, leave alone Gorkhaland. But that is just plain lazy and lame. […]

Notes from a Mountain Hamlet – Part 2

Continued from part 1 26 Feb 2013, Lava The next day our plan to to go Chaudaferi didn’t materialise. A bunch of people were trekking through the trail, and Joseph thought it might hamper our birding exercise. So I spent the day  outside the Forest Department’s Guest House: a colonial structure whose garden attracted birds […]

Notes from a Mountain Hamlet Part 1

23 February 2013 “We are building a Church.” Joseph Lepcha said and shook my hand. “Sorry I hope you didn’t have to wait for too long!” he continued. I dismissed his apprehension. I stood in the small living room and was trying to make sense of the place which was going to be my home […]

Raghava Reddy’s Turtle

An exaggerated version of a true story, as told to me by a friend who chose to remain anonymous. Yeah. You’ll know why he did so after you have read this story. He threw our clothes, splashed some kerosene on them, and set them on fire. We stood there, standing by the edge of the […]

The Legend of Elikunji

Mothers spoke about him in hushed whispers. When they fed their babies. “If you don’t finish your lunch, Elikunji will take you away.” We debated “Does he exist? Or is it just a maternal conspiracy to make the babies eat?” But, somewhere in the dark corners of our minds, a nagging question kept us on […]

Dabur Partha and the Tusker (part 2 of 2)

Continued from part 1 My feet refused to move. It was as if my legs had a mind of their own, and they hated me. A wave of dust blew right through me. I rubbed my eyes and opened them to the captain of the Srinagar colony team alighting from his car like a Telugu […]

Dabur Partha and the Tusker (part 1 of 2)

Someone stole Niall O’ Brien’s kit and that inspired me to recount this story The match was, how do I put it… ah!, tantalisingly poised. It was a ‘bet’ match. We were playing for money. Not for a ball or bat. The money at stake was 110 INR. Each player contributed 10 bucks. 10 bucks […]

How I won the World Cup for India

Ramaswami Mudaliar was a kind man but he wasn’t too kind when it came to his Dyanora black-and-white television. In 1983, owning a television was the current day equivalent of driving a BMW with Katrina Kaif as your dinner date. Mudaliar probably hugged and slept on the TV, which was encased in a wooden cabinet; […]

The end of Suren as we know him?

For all you guys that know Suren, here’s some breaking news. The rum-loving, party animal who terrorized unsuspecting victims with his ruthless one-liners has been branded. Yeah, that’s what samarshanam means. They brand you with red-hot Sanku and Chakra emblems. What this entails is that Suren is not supposed to drink, smoke, and eat (even […]

Stories from Chennai

I always saw Chennai in Yellow. It could be the harsh sun. Or probably the bright colored Sambar with a wild, turmeric fragrance. The Chennai in early 80s was a different world. There were no high-rise apartment complexes. Barring the LIC building on Mount road, which was the tallest in Chennai, there were no distinguished […]