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3 Years on the Road: Behind the Scenes

on the road 1 drying clothes on rolling mountains near a road himachal pradesh

36 Months as an Itinerant Writer: What It Means to Live On The Go Table of Content [TOC] Introduction January 5′ 2024 Bangalore Here I’m in a hotel in Bangalore, writing this narrative and wondering why I feel so cold and why am I so uninterested and unenthusiastic about everything. I have stayed in hotel rooms …

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Lost in the Sikkim Countryside Alone–Learning to Unstuck Myself

the dogs looking out from a mountain in eastern himalayas sikkim

A Short, Solo Hiking Adventure in the Eastern Himalayas, When the Host Family Dogs Abandon Me One has to be confident while hiking. One should know that her shoes can take care of her and, if alone, she can climb down steep paths and clamber up narrow ridges by herself. Because, sometimes, things don’t work …

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My Best Travel Books of All Time

best travel books to read in the photo author is lying down with book on her lap in malaysia kinabatagan river homestay

Though this piece began as the books I loved in 2023, as the number of books about traveling overpowered other categories, I decided to dedicate an entire blog post to the best travel books to read. 

Here you will find all kinds of books on traveling: including some on traveling within one’s room and another one on setting up a home in a foreign country. Some books are as old as 1794 while others are from a couple of years ago. The list has solo walking adventures, solo mountaineering on horsebacks in the old-day Persia and current-day Iran, one is of a lone woman biker, one of a tramp, and there are even artists sharing their traveling experiences (or vice-versa). I have also kept two fiction travel books. They were so good, they belong here. Irrespective of their variety, all these books on travel have the same intention: to share one’s experience of exploring this wonderful magical world.

I’m still to add many more books to this list, but until then, enjoy.

Of course, the list of books that changed my life is a must-read after you have checked this one out.

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6 Years of On My Canvas

a boat parked at the edge of water used as a feature image for six years of my personal growth and travel blog on my canvas

Six Years of Running My Personal Growth and Travel Blog On My Canvas The past six years have been important to me in many ways. In them, I not only wrote on this blog and brought it to where it is today: an infinite source of inspiration, hope, and ideas for me and, hopefully, a …

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Two Himalayan Girls Reminded Me of My Hard-Earned Freedom

a photo of me working in pine forests in chindi village in himachal pradesh himalayas

The government guesthouse in Chindi village in Himachal Pradesh was located on the brow of a hill. Below the guesthouse and further ahead and behind it, the village sprawled. 

After being checked in by dour caretakers who reluctantly left the shade of the sycamore tree, I went out the back gate into the forest. My partner S was in meetings. Descending a glade surrounded by pines, I crossed a dirty watering hole and came onto a trail. At the end of the track lay the narrow village mud path. Cows could be seen through the pine and cedars ahead. Pine needles had been swept into piles perhaps to be burned. Further down must be houses. 

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A Joyful Meander Over a Must-Do Himalayan Hike: Finding Our Own Pleasures

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In the Rohanda Village of Mandi District (Himachal Pradesh) We Come With an Aim, But First We Just Be

We went to the little village of Rohanda in Mandi district to hike to the popular Kamru Nag temple. The trek to the 3334-meter summit begins at various points above Rohanda. 

On the national highway along which Rohanda lies, many budget hotels cater to short-term tourists who come for a night or two. They visit the temple and leave Rohanda. But most hikers are local devotees. Neither many Indians nor many foreigners know about the temple or pray to it as fervently as the Himachali people do. Let alone Kamru Nag, even the Mandi district isn’t well-known among tourists, and for that, my partner S and I were glad. Because since we had moved from the little villages of Shimla to Mandi, room tariffs had dropped, food had become more local, and hosts were kinder. 

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The Big Lessons a Little Family in Pondicherry Taught Me

a simple pondicherry home

On Being a Family

When my partner and I drove to Pondicherry city to stay for a few months, first, we booked a small Airbnb for three days. Though my experience with Airbnb has been poor, we reserved the one-room living and bedroom as no other accommodation on the various booking websites looked good or well-priced. The well-reviewed family guesthouse didn’t have even one poor feedback. Everyone spoke highly of the place and the host family. (You can read more on finding guesthouses in India in the link.)

The house was in the congested neighborhood of Tsunami Quarters—a housing colony made for fishermen whose homes were too near the coast. Tsunami Quarters was occupied after cyclone Thane hit the state of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry on the east coast of India in 2011.  

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Favorite Books of 2022

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This year I read about forty books only (apart from children’s books, online journals, and print magazines). As I don’t bother to finish the books I don’t like, most of those forty were strong books. I am sharing here the ones that suffused me with courage and child-like wonder, showed me the beauty and the ordinary genius of everyday life, reaffirmed that we are shadows of our childhood, and equipped me with tools to understand life better.

Without these books I wouldn’t have been who I am today, I wouldn’t have known that ecstatic state of being out of this world that they rollerbladed me into, and my journey as a writer would have stagnated. (My all-time life-changing books are in the link.)

As a runnel of rainwater runs to meet the brook, writers run towards this common wellspring of inspiration, which is nothing else but the river of all great writing ever written. Like a thirsty tiger, we kneel, bend our knees, and drink from it every so often. Here, very humbly, I offer you some drops from that wellspring so not only you could make more sense of everything around you, but also see the beauty in all this.

Shall we?

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Lessons Learned in 2022

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I wrote down these learnings over the year in scattered forms, mostly in my weekly newsletter Looking Inwards. But I am putting them together here to have them in one place. 

Please relish.

Lessons 2022 Taught Me

# We can run as fast as we like. But life is always right there. Running behind. Chasing us. In this race we cannot win. For we are life itself, and she is us.

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5 Years of On My Canvas: What I’ve Learned

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Thank you for coming along on this journey with me and supporting me always.  If I have learned one thing in these five years, it is that the joy of creating should be enough. When we work hard and persist, we arrive at the goal, destination, or prize we have our eyes on. The much-planned …

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You Judge Me. I Judge You. And Then What?

n_a_Roman_Osteria three people sitting at a table looking behind in an italian restaurant as if judging people small.

People Judge Others. We Are Always Judging Someone or the Other. But Do We Need To?

Six months ago, I had just come to Auroville. It is an experimental community on the east coast of India near Pondicherry. A collaborator of the philosopher Sri Aurobindo Mirra Alfassa had a vision for a place on earth where men from all countries will live in harmony as equals. Set up by the followers of Mirra Alfassa, whom they called Mother, Auroville is supposed to be the manifestation of that vision. 

If the people of Auroville, Aurovillians, live in peace and treat each other equally is a report for another rainy day. For now think of the place, once an arid sandy land, as a lush green forest dotted with houses, cafeterias, and community spaces nestled in their large green gardens. People from fifty-nine countries call Auroville home.

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