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I write about food, travel, fashion, art and culture for many publications.  They include Condenast Traveler (US edition), The NationalFinancial TimesDestinasianGourmetTime, and Silkroad.  In the past, I’ve written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Town & Country, British Airways Highlife, Cathay Pacific’s Discovery, Singapore Airlines’ Silverkris, Knowledge@Wharton, Departures, Food & Wine, Saveur, Newsweek, Beliefnet and House Beautiful.

I write a weekly column for Mint Lounge, an Indian business daily which is affiliated with the WSJ.  I also write a column for The National, based in Abu Dhabi.  I used to write the Hinduism column for Beliefnet, which has my columnist page here and six pages of my articles here.

I have written two books: Monsoon Diary and Return to India, that are available here

I have taught a course to the Executive Post Graduate Program at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.  I have also taught philosophy at Neev, a preschool in Bangalore. I am a trustee of Neev Academy, Bangalore’s best preschool and school

A long time ago, I used to be a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered Weekend.

My essay, The God of Small Feasts, that was published in Gourmet, won the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Award for Distinguished Writing.  Ruth Reichl, who got me into food writing was there at the awards ceremony, which gratified me greatly.  My first book, “Monsoon Diary: a memoir with recipes,” was published by Random House (US) in 2003.  It was a finalist for a James Beard Award.

I graduated from the Columbia Journalism School with a Master of Science degree. The school awarded me a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship given to the top three graduating students in the class. I can be reached at shoba@shobanarayan.com

My bio here

130 thoughts on “Home

  1. Dear madam thank you so much for a great work you have put in. I’m a new patient in the Sanskrit bug afflicted group. Looking forward to gorging on the info provided here. Would like to know whether any app is available for Android users as audio books and podcasts.

    If not, I refer you to LibriVox audio books as a open way of providing public domain content that’s usable by the community in general. ITunes unfortunately retricts your audience to the ecosystem users.

    I feel Sanskrit and Sanskriti info, should pull down as many barriers as possible and should be heard across also divides – physical and virtual. Hence this humble suggestion.

    Divyavani radio station on TuneIn app and Attingal Sanskrit Group on SoundCloud app are doing great work here. The use case for such an effort would be that since Sanskrit is primarily an oral tradition, podcasts would be cheaper on bandwidth and would be useful in leisure time or driving a bit like an audio book.

    Thanks again.

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  2. Dear mam, I am very interested to do my PG project on the basis of your precious work “Monsoon Diary” with the support of cultural theory. In that I wish to took ‘food as a metaphor’on collaboration with Travel writing. Mam , can you give me any suggestion and points to support my research

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  3. Hello Smt Narayan,I happened to see your article in one the newspapers today.I did not have the courage to go thro the entire bit because I got a whiff of what to expect from the first two lines itself.Never mind that.As a fellow Hindu I too am eager to visit Benares for reasons other than religious.If that be so then Benares definitely is not the place I ought to be visiting.I am also not so sure if I will survive to see the PMs attempts at cleaning up the Ganga. I wish I could.As for the sanctity of the river itself I recall though very faintly a prophecy made by a south Indian astrologer at the turn of the last century.I shall not bore you with the Sanskrit original.It went this way, they the goddesses Saraswathi,Ganga,and LAKSHMI after having stayed in this world for 5000years of the Kaliyuga in the shape of rivers gave up their transformed shapes and went to the abode of Vishnu.So what you are seeing today is not Ganga..All the other holy things with the exception of Kasi,and Brindavan accompanied them to the abode of Hari.As for me I am smug with the confidence that I can resort to visiting any Siva temple in the South and reinforce my religious sentiments.Dr K.V.Sangameswaran

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  4. Hello Ma’am. I read your 3 part series on the Puri Jagannath Temple in the Mint. Though I am not overtly spiritual, the Jagannath temple, the idols and the aura of awe and devotion surrounding the deities has never ceased to amaze me. I had a short professional stint in Odisha where I experienced the obeisance to the Lord first hand . I have been to Puri twice and visited the temple on both occasions. Your essays on the myriad customs, rituals and myths surrounding this famous old Hindu/Jain/Tribal/Buddhist centre made for a wonderful read. The humour interspersed between facts added to the pleasure of reading. There are so many fascinating things one can get to know by digging a little deep. Thanks to your articles I am now more aware of the “Juggernaut”. Thank you and do continue your good work.

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  5. Dear madam,

    We the parents of special needs children at Tirupathi formed an association, The children are mentally challenged, Autistic, cerebral palsy, downy syndrome and other brain related disabilities.
    I (K.Madhu Babu) and my wife Varija had a comfortable life before leaving to india for the reason of being parents of two special needs children. It all happened in just 3 years where my wife have to move back to india to find a life for our children. I was working in dubai to support financially.
    After diagnosis of my autistic son my wife changed career from interior designer to special education did some special courses but not satisfied and decided to put our children in a special needs school and searched in tirupathi. All the special needs schools are run by NGO with the available resources.
    We are not satisfied with the conditions and we urged Tirumala Tirupathi Devastanams in December, 2010. Where all the disabilities are supported except brain related disabilities. We started a mission to establish a supporting centre for the children, this is the only way where the parents will become happy for the children’s future.
    We formed an association called PARENTS ASSOCIATION FOR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS (PAC), The association main motive was to establish a special needs school under TTD. The then officer Mr. Yuvaraj IAS has well received for the initiation and organised some meetings and formed a committee for the establishment of MR Project, The officer got transferred and many IAS officers came and project could not succeed, then in 2013 with our efforts we started a supporting center called as SREESH MANDIRAM, Sreesh is my son name.
    TTD has all the facilities to take of such special children, like any special children at emergencies we need paediatrician, physiatrist, neurologist and other related special care, which is available under SVIMS but there is no special drive for such support, that was the reason we were asking TTD to provide support, Sreesh has passed away last month 9th December because of not having better facilities in tirupathi, Tirupathi is a medical hub for 5 districts. That’s why in general doctors say the life span of Special needs children will be between 10 – 20 in most of the cases.
    We came to india to have a bright future for our son and we have failed and we don’t want to leave TTD till they support such children in Tirupathi.
    TTD has lots of funds on various service activities and some private organisations are stopping them to support these children, Till now so many meetings held, so many politicians promised no use.
    Politicians will not support these disabilities because they don’t vote like other disabilities. If this is successful in tirupathi trust other trusts will also wake up to establish support for mentally challenged children, Many children are under 4 walls they have to bring into open schools.
    Parents run organisations will give more results than any organisation, especially mothers who are always with the kids will have better life, supporting each other makes their life more comfortable.

    I can support with the necessary documents where Temple trust has ignored the importance of support and parents have been ill treated in some occasions, we are all middle class families we don’t have financial problem but we want to see the future after our death.
    I have done some other innovative concepts where I got LIMCA BOOK OF RECORDS – ENERGY CONSEVATION… Being a consultant I always look for solutions, in the same way I am looking for a solution for these special kids.
    Look for your support if you can otherwise please forward who can support for an article which will influence the government.
    Regards,
    Madhu Babu
    09003837053

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    • Dear Madhu:
      I am so sorry to hear about Sreesh. Having lost a family member recently, I can only imagine what it must be like for you and your wife. Beyond passing along your message to journalist friends, I cannot do very much. This is for investigative reporters and I am not one. Sorry again. Shoba

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  6. hey hii i’m a student of architecture from mumbai.. our intrests match..😀 btw we are looking for heritage structures which are reused in social and cultural context and not commercial lik hotels.. this is for a competetion so if you could help please😀

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