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Which idli-dosa is better? Tamilnadu or Karnataka?

Bangalore Talkies: in Karnataka, breakfast is a duet whereas in Tamilnadu, it is an orchestra. I may be wading into the Kaveri here, but a question arose recently in a mixed group about whether the Karnataka or the Tamilnadu interpretation of the classic idli-dosa breakfast was better. Naturally the Kannadigas all thought that the Tamil sambar was the pits.

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

My Life as a Geisha

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. 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.

Mumbai Meri Jaan

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.

Goa Grows Up

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.

Lessons from my mother

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.

Singapore fling

Staid, chaste, strict, small—Singapore has heard it all. But this island-nation of 4.2 million people has one thing going for it (many things, actually, but we'll get to that later): Singapore is a sure fling. Having lived in Singapore for two years, I have returned wanting to revel in it as a tourist—to see it all and do it all within forty-eight hours.

Travel Stories (my favourite type of writing)

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