Latest Articles

Book launches and authors in Bangalore

By |August 11th, 2022|Bangalore Talkies, Columns, HT Media|

It is raining books in Bangalore. Well, it is raining as well. There are book launches galore. The question is: Can Bangalore as a city inspire tales, stories, books, films and more– in the way that London and New York have done, or Florence did during the Renaissance? Can Bangalore aspire to be a cultural capital with a vivid throbbing heart? What does it take for a city to provide inspiration to authors? What does it take for a city to foster the creative ferment?

Secrets of writing

By |July 28th, 2022|Bangalore Talkies, Columns, HT Media|

Recently, I have resumed reading poetry. Since poems are short, they are finite and can be savoured in a tik-tok minute. They also enable you to feel the pulse of the poet, which (if the poem is good) is quite wonderful, because it allows you to reach across time and space. Metaphors are the language of the psyche and the spirit. To fashion them, I have to be in touch with my inner world, a hard thing to do. That is the craft of writing.

Other articles

Are your kids driving you nuts this summer?

By |July 14th, 2022|Bangalore Talkies, Columns, HT Media|

Before scrapbooking became a verb, a subculture with its own norms, colour-coded pens, communities and hashtag, it was an object that my mother and grandmother owned. Perhaps yours did too. Ask your grandma. Better still, open her creaky Godrej almirah or wherever she stashes her diaries or account books. I can guarantee that you will find some version of a scrap book. Bangalore Talkies: in an age when everything is digital, engaging with the physical world is vital.  Here are some suggestions on how to do it

The Languid Wines of Languedoc

By |July 8th, 2022|Drink, Sommelier India|

Languedoc needs a “train puller,” says Samuel Guibert. We are standing atop a hill with a spectacular view of Mas de Daumas Gassac, a domaine founded by his father, Aime Guibert and mother, Veronique fifty years ago. Today, Samuel and his three brothers– Basile, Roman and Gael– run the estate. Their 1982 red made it to the Decanter Hall of Fame. Equally, their white wines have received rave ratings from wine critics like Andrew Jefford. In a seemingly short span of time, Mas de Daumas Gassac has placed a stake among the top wines of the world. The question is: why isn’t the region more well known than it is? Given the “Bordeaux bashing” that is going on, why can’t Languedoc up its “cool” quotient?

Is Bangalore the foodie capital of India?

By |June 30th, 2022|Bangalore Talkies, Columns, Food, HT Media|

Is Bangalore the foodie capital of India? If you search for ‘Bangalore Foodies’ on Facebook, you will find not one or two but a whopping 26 groups. A similar search on Delhi foodies turned up six groups. Search on Facebook for ‘Mumbai Foodies’ and there are eight groups, even after expanding the ambit to include ‘Mumbai Food and Drinks club’. Kolkata foodies turned up seven, including ‘Bengali foodies’. Chennai foodies search takes you to 10 pages. Does this mean that Bengaluru is the foodie capital of India? That it is the one city that takes food seriously to the point of forming communities around it and obsessing over obscure and mundane recipes? I believe so.

The Wine Geeks of Silicon Valley

By |June 24th, 2022|Drink, HT Media, Mint Lounge|

Why do people get into wine? When I asked these collectors, their answers echoed the reasons cited by many. Wine is a combination of history (the Romans planted wines in most European countries), geography (terroir is essentially about how the land influences the wine), geology (how limestone, chalk and soil influence the flavours of the wine), people (the winemakers), chemistry (the fermentation process, the sulphites that you need to add, the barrels that you need to use), all resulting in a product that the ancient Greeks and Romans attributed to the God who was a giver of ecstasy: Bacchus and Dionysius. Read on for my piece about some wine collectors in Silicon Valley who are really really into fine Burgundy wines.

Secrets of ageing well

By |June 16th, 2022|Bangalore Talkies, Columns, HT Media|

What is the secret of aging well? I asked different questions to some thoughtful Bangaloreans.  To me, this combination of having a passion, a routine that includes physical activity and family, and a hobby that keeps you engaged and surrounded by people is a great way to age.  But hey, that’s just me.   

Wining and Dining in Bangalore

By |June 2nd, 2022|Bangalore Talkies, Columns, Drink, HT Media|

I am a member of two wine clubs here in Bangalore: BWC and TWC or The Wine Connoisseurs. The difference between them can be counted in the air-time that wine gets. TWC is a small group. Typically, we met once a month at different restaurants. We spend 3 hours talking only about wine. BWC events are held at glitzy five-star hotels. The wine is decent in terms of value-for-money. There is a lot more socializing which makes it easier on non-drinking spouses. Read on.

Old Favourites

My Life as a Geisha

By |September 24th, 2009|Favorites, Travel|

I have come to Japan to learn about allure. I’ve been married for seventeen years, and while my marriage isn’t falling apart, it is fraying at the edges: a victim of minutiae like leaky taps, lost airline tickets, and PTA meetings. Nowadays when I ask my husband a fairly innocuous question such as, “Does this green dress suit me?” he gets this deer-in-the-headlights expression. I want Ram to look at me without fear and with adoration. So I have come to Japan to learn about feminine allure from its acknowledged masters: the geisha. Geisha were created to pamper men—but they were also the freest women in old Japan, and masters of the arts of calligraphy, flower arranging, music, dance, and drama. Here, a present-day geisha in Gion, one of Kyoto’s historic quarters.

Mumbai Meri Jaan

By |September 24th, 2009|Favorites, Travel|

I am going to Bombay to become a movie star. Like millions of others who arrive each day in this island-city by car, plane, bus, or boat, I too have my Bombay dream. I am comely, buxom even (thanks to Wonderbra), and I can giggle and jiggle with the best of them. Age is an issue—I am forty-two—but there's nothing a nip and tuck won't fix. So I am going to Bombay to become a movie star. Why not? Every country in the world, if it is lucky, has a city that allows people to create such gauzy fantasies unfettered by the grim shackles of reality. It would be wrong to say that these cities offer their citizens "the space to dream," for most such places—Rio, Tokyo, Cairo, and New York—are insanely crowded. Still, they thrive and inspire, catalyze personal transformations and fuel creativity, not through wide-open spaces but through vibrant congestion. It's nothing if not a city of contrasts. It's ancient and modern, dirt poor and filthy rich

Goa Grows Up

By |September 24th, 2008|Favorites, Travel|

Once a hippie haven where even India's tightly chaperoned teens could turn on, tune in, and drop out, Goa has lately gone upscale. Living in a trading port for the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Europeans meant that Goans were forced to interact with the outside world far earlier than the average Indian. This has made them friendly but not overly curious about foreigners. Unlike in the rest of India, white people don’t get stared at here, even in the most rural settings. Trance music and tranquil beaches nudge type A personalities into subdued sublimity. The heat and, yes, the hashish encourage a languid pace of life and a state of mind that Goans call sussegado, political cartoonist Miranda told me. “It means a life of leisure—and it is vanishing.”

Scuba diving Lakshadweep

By |June 26th, 2008|Favorites, Nature, Travel|

I don't want to write about this place. Few people know of it; fewer still visit. Perhaps that's the way it should be. In this rapidly shrinking world, there ought to be somewhere that remains remote, even obscure; set apart in space and time; offering the promise of mystery, the romance of discovery. Lakshadweep—the name comes out in a sigh. In Sanskrit, it means One Hundred Thousand Islands, although in fact there are just twenty-seven, ten of which are inhabited. Speckled across the Arabian Sea off the Malabar Coast of India, this archipelago of atolls, coral reefs, and islands was—before El Niño—the largest living ecosystem on the planet. Many maps, even Indian ones, don't note it. Yet for a dedicated group of travelers who seek the world's most far-flung spots, this is as close as it gets to paradise

Lessons from my mother

By |June 15th, 2008|Favorites, Travel|

The thought occurred as I eyed a stunning Persian carpet in a downtown Manhattan shop. The Mogul-inspired piece looked terrific but cost thousands more than I was prepared to pay. The slight smile on the manager's mustachioed face suggested that he was willing to bargain. But where and how to begin? Middle age brings with it many challenges: a home, the pleasure and pain of furnishing one, and the sobering realization that you can actually learn something from your mother. For me, middle age was mostly about sticker shock—at the cost of the curtains, sofas, fabrics, and bric-a-brac that it takes to convert a classic six into a cozy home. When a year passed without my buying a single item of furniture, I called my mother in desperation.

Chasing the Mekong River

By |June 15th, 2008|Favorites, Travel|

Cambodia is like a lotus bud concealing an onion—serene on the surface but eliciting tears as you peel back the layers. The awesome scale and spectacle of the Angkor temples contrast sharply with the ghostly photos and skulls of civilians murdered by the Khmer Rouge in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The endless peace of a Buddhist monastery gives way to the raucous din of cyclos and tuk–tuks. I am in Cambodia to meet a monk and to travel the Mekong. Being Hindu, I believe in the power of a monk's blessing, and Cambodian monks are way up there in the spiritual hierarchy. So I, like the betrayed people of this ravaged land, line up to get blessed before setting out on my quest. The magnificent sunsets over the Mekong do nothing to diminish the ugly pallor of poverty. It is a young country but an old civilization that reached its zenith in the twelfth century, when the Hindu god–kings (devarajas) built massive stone temples while embracing Buddhism, now the predominant religion.

Wild at Heart

By |June 15th, 2008|Favorites, Travel|

Bangalore is home. I didn't always live here—until two years ago I lived in New York. But now this is the city where my kids go to school, where I hail auto rickshaws for bone-rattling yet perversely exciting rides to work and meetings, where I prowl pubs and malls in search of stories and sales, and where I go to Namdharis Fresh supermarket to buy organic grapes, too-hard bagels, and much-too-soft cream cheese in an attempt to replicate the Sunday morning brunches at my Upper West Side apartment. Come April and May, Bangalore all but closes down: Schools shutter and the city empties out. Earlier this year, I resolved to spend the holiday taking my kids around the region—it was time they got to know their home state. Plotting the itinerary proved half the battle. Karnataka advertises itself as "One State, Many Worlds"—not as catchy as Kerala's "God's Own Country" but probably more accurate.

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