Dear Mt. Fuji


Dear Mt. Fuji, I first saw you during the first sunset of 2011—fierce, beautiful. On New Year’s Day, my friend and I walked into the Yokohama Sheraton Hotel and took the elevator to the top floor to see the city stretched below. Beyond the city lights you stood, a symmetrical cone framed by an apricot […]

Embracing Chaos in Jakarta, Indonesia


It was a familiar sensation – the stroke of humidity, the potent smell of car engines and sights of families sitting on the floor, talking and laughing with one another. Arriving at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport always engenders two contrasting feelings – a sense of belonging to and detachment from the culture that is my roots. […]

Welcome To Tiger Kingdom in Thailand


Welcome to Tiger Kingdom High-pitched horns wailed in the chaotic traffic on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The exhaust from rickety jalopies and revving dirtbikes was captive in the congestion. I covered my nose and mouth with my shirt, which was damp with perspiration from the prominent humidity, because I sat in a windowless […]

India: Priceless Lessons from a Penniless Society


Priceless Lessons from a Penniless Society The rickety bus, ornamentally embellished in psychedelic colours, pants for breath as it pauses while scrambling up the corkscrew contours. A little girl runs towards the bus, her thin legs kicking up a cloud of dust all along the trail. Her hair and the envelope in her hand – […]

Taiwan: praying for a new place


Taiwan: praying for a new place Jacob leads the way into the smoky compound. We’re in the most famous temple of Taipei city, which is also the first temple I have ever step into after thirty days in Taiwan. Rather than drawing a divination lot, I am much more allured to the exquisite carvings and the psychedelic colors on the wall. It is a splendid morning on a windy Autumn day. Finally, a cloudless blue sky after weeks spent in murky weather. An unavoidable overwhelming sensation dawn upon me. Moments of the entire trip lurked in my memory – pellucid turquoise waves crashing down on me in Kenting, standing on top of humongous stones in Hualien, gazing at the infinite night lights of Taipei on top of Mt. Yangming etc. This is it, this is the end of my trip, and the end of my long acquired freedom. “C’mon, I’ll teach you how,” Jacob interrupts my serialization of thoughts. After thirty days in Taiwan, he managed to persuade me into drawing a lot. No harm trying. He hands me two red moon-like shaped wooden pieces and teaches me step-by-step, but most importantly, he emphasizes, “keep the question you have in mind all the time”. Yes, indeed. My brain is congested at that specific moment, mostly with fragments and residues from the discontinued thinking session earlier on. I walk around teary-eyed, fascinated by the artistry of history left behind on the wall, overpowered by the strength and belief hold by people praying toward an idol. I kneel down on the soft padded cushion placed on the ground. “Keep the question you have in mind all the time.” Jacob’s advice echoed within for a while before this specific question hits me and I feel I need to have an answer to it. I proceed the steps with caution. The entire process takes less than ten minutes and in exchange for the lot – number sixty-six – I now got a pink slip filled with unfamiliar Chinese characters. Without understanding any of it, my line of vision turns toward an elderly man sitting behind a counter. I approach him with some skepticism and a mere tingle of hope. What I got in return was an affirmative answer to my doubts that has been waylaying itself under the mask of freedom. My eyes lit up upon the words pouring out of the wrinkled man’s lips. People are coming in and out of the temple’s front gate, and I stare at the picturesque sky in front of me. I am most certainly awe-stricken by what I perceived as a traditional superstition when Jacob finds me at the front door of the temple. He ask curiously, “so tell me, how was it?” I feel the piece of vulnerable pink slip in my hands and look at him and say, “I’m going to my next destination, my home”.  Thank you for reading and commenting. Please enter the Gratitude Travel Writing competition and tell your story.

Thank You: The unfiltered soul of Bengaluru, India


Thank you, Bangalore, for your gentle blue skies as invigorating as a cup of filter coffee; your occasionally blushing sun; your fragrant rains from a refreshing sprinkle to ruinous raging downpours; and, your visually arresting cloudscapes like slow-moving frescoes painted on the sky. Thank you for your vibrance; houses painted in pastel orange, purple, green, […]

Miracle of the forest in India


        From Mumbai we were travelling towards southern part of India.  Krishna was driving the car.  The Konkan way consists of one of the most amazing and beautiful roads for a peaceful journey. In some places the roads and rail lines run together and kiss each other and then separate to different […]

Walking on water in the Philippines


I held the tattered handbag to my chest, the only possession I got as I plunge into the great unknown. I felt the soft ocean breeze as it caressed my face, and I looked at the ship that took me to my courage zone until it slowly disappeared from my sight. Tears fell from my […]

His Cambodian Smile


His Cambodian smile His smile is more animated at night, caught in a flickering firelight he tells ever more tales of old, stories of his life and of his dreams and you cannot help but fall in love with his country, his life and his dreams. To him, Cambodia is a land fighting still- fighting […]

The temple of villain in India.


              The temple of villain!                Few years back, while I was travelling to Uttar Pradesh for one of my friend’s wedding, who was a wildlife conservation officer near Kanpur. The trip was really enjoyable. One of our botanist friend Avinash was explaining the […]