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For SF Gate: temple food

This is my first piece for SF Gate which has some 136 million page views and some 30 million unique visitors each month. My editor, Jessica, was a pleasure to work with because she cared about the piece and pushed me to make the story tighter and better. It is about the Livermore temple and its food. The first time I came to this temple was in 1992, as a newlywed. My husband and I were living in New York City and visiting family in Fremont. Naturally, they wanted to take us to the famous temple, even back then considered grand and what Hindus would call auspicious — as in bringing good things for those who visit. For newlyweds, visiting Hindu temples with relatives is a rite of passage, and so we went along.

Hindustan Times: On ageing

When I read the recently released Lancet study that says we are all going to live longer, my first thought was, “Now what?” Sure, we are trying our best to stave off the ills of ageing, but the point is that there is no guarantee that we will succeed. There is no single blueprint for ageing well. There are whacko schemes like tech entrepreneur Brian Johnson touting his “longevity mix” (also called Blueprint) as being second only to mother’s milk. Nice line, but do you really have the discipline, not to mention the money to take the 100 or so supplements he consumes every day? Maybe I should go back to drinking that Kerala red rice congee my Dad loved.

Can a reactionary create a revolution?

T.M. Krishna fancies himself as a revolutionary, but he is an inconsistent reactionary whose argument is “anti-whatever the norm is” rather than cogently thinking through the evolution of music.

  • Creative Cocktails at Manresa
The trouble with Indian cocktails

The problem with creating cocktails in India is that we have too many ingredients available to us. For an imaginative mixologist, this throws up a dizzying array of choices and not all of them good.

Old favourites that I wrote for Condenast Traveler (US edition)

For Condenast Traveler US on China

I have come to China from my home in Bangalore, India, to find a tai chi teacher. My pursuit of tai chi has been punctuated by such cultural challenges. When I informed my conservative Indian family that I was interested in tai chi, they were appalled. Why was their Indian child, heir to an ancient and proud tradition of yoga leaning toward an alien discipline?

For Condenast Traveler US on Mumbai

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. They thrive and inspire, catalyze personal transformations and fuel creativity, not through wide-open spaces but through vibrant congestion.

For Condenast Traveler US on Goa

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.

For Condenast Traveler US on Scuba Diving

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.

For Condenast Traveler US on bargaining

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 wanted to pay. The smile on the manager's face suggested that he was willing to bargain. But where to begin? Middle age brings with it the sobering realization that you can actually learn something from your mother.

For Condenast Traveler US on Cambodia and Laos

Cambodia is like a lotus bud concealing an onion—serene on the surface but eliciting tears as you peel back the layers. The scale of the Angkor temples contrast with the photos of skulls in the Genocide Museum. The peace of a Buddhist monastery gives way to the raucous din of tuk–tuks. I am in Cambodia to meet a monk and to travel the Mekong.

For Condenast Traveler US on National parks

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.

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