Christchurch: back on its feet and dancing

It’s a balmy evening in Christchurch and I am dancing on the street to a Spice Girls song. On a free walking tour of Christchurch, our guide Michael Borren has led us to an open square with what looks like a painted washing machine in the middle. He plugs his phone in to it, inserts…

Straits ahead: Malacca in Mint

Iam trying hard not to laugh at my guide. He has been very friendly, chatting in Tamil on the bus to Malacca. He has also organized a vegetarian lunch for me, after he’s recovered from the shock of encountering someone who doesn’t eat meat. The reason I am having trouble is, talking about the history…

Stranger in my country

Published in Mint Lounge (September 04) as Stranger in a strange land… *** Nancy is the local school teacher at Lachung village in North Sikkim and has recently returned home after some years outside the state. She has been chatting non-stop with me in the darkness of the late evening about her school and students….

An uneven path to peace

This piece on Sri Lanka appeared in Mint Lounge of April 24th. I am in Anuradhapura at the Sri Maha Bodhi shrine, a must-visit destination for locals and visitors alike. The low fence encloses a cutting from the Bo tree (Ficus religiosa), protected and venerated by Buddhists, under which Siddhartha Gautama is believed to have…

Outwhirling the dervish

Published in Mint Lounge as Going round in circles… She could throw a whirling dervish out of whirl. I cannot get this line out of my head and to my complete dismay, I find myself mentally humming the rest of the song as I watch the four Mevlevi spin in front of me. I mean,…

Temple performance

Published in Mint Lounge recently – original version posted here… Read the pdf version online here – or if the link vanishes, you can read it here… *** Day one among the temples and I keep remembering a delightful phrase I had come across long ago. Vuja de. Looking at the familiar with new eyes….

Midsummer madness

Published in Mint Lounge – May 31 – read it online here or the pdf version here… We are just finishing a salad lunch at the tiny restaurant opposite the library when the dragons walk past. A bright red patch on a black face, a black-and-red body, head waving in a friendly fashion. A fairly…

Lost on the way from Lhasa

My piece on Mcleodganj appeared in Mint Lounge last weekend. You can read it on the mint website (if that makes any difference)… The Tibetan book of living, in pdf form here… And for those too weary to click, read on here… *** On any quiet morning, the reverberations of “Om mani padme hum” seem…