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Wedding shopping in Bangalore

It is a truth universally known that NRIs who need to shop for a wedding usually come to India. We each have our own list of products, shops and people. This one is mine. Bangalore folks: if your NRI relative asks for wedding shopping suggestions, just send them this article. Disclosure: I have no conflict of interest in recommending the below vendors. I have used some of them and have disclosed this as such. This is not a comprehensive list by any means.

Hindustan Times: Isn’t food enough for restaurants?

When you go to a restaurant, what do you go for? If it is just food, I would argue that you can get better food at your home or a relative’s home. Most of us go for the experience, the theatre, the presentation, the service, the feeling of being cosseted. This is what we pay for. The question is how much premium are you willing to pay for this?

For WisdomCircle: on connection

Connection is what defines us as humans and it is one thing that exponentially increases our happiness.  This isn’t some deep profound confide-all-secrets type of connection that I am talking about, although that too is good.  These are micro-connections that take seconds and minutes to create and foster.  The great part about living in India is that we all do this anyway—or used to.

Can—and should– spas go beyond ayurveda in Bangalore?

Ultimately, it comes down to the smell of the towels, I said when a Bengaluru visitor asked why I had not given a spa guide to the city in this column. After all, I had written about everything else. This is odd because you see, I am that cliché. I am a spa junkie.

Hindustan Times: On ageing

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.

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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