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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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From Homeless to Home in Himachal: Travel Serendipity

from the balcony outside my room in rewalsar monastery the view of rewalsar lake homeless to home

Homeless in Himachal During a Storm But Then We Find a Cosy Home in a Monastery—Travel Serendipity in Rewalsar Lake, the Himalayas 12:45 pm, May 25 Let’s see if we find a place in Rewalsar. 7 pm, May 25 Though I said let’s see if we find a space in Rewalsar today morning, I’m already …

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The Road Taketh, and the Road Giveth–Moments of Bliss

eating makka roti with maa ki dal in himachal a bite in author's hand

Moments of Bliss on the Road I travel full-time—haven’t had a rented or owned home to call mine since February 2021. So when a friend asks, “What are your favorite moments from your journey?” many moments of bliss rush to me. I have hundreds of anecdotes of being frustrated, angry, afraid, or hopeless on the …

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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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A Serendipitous Stop in Karnataka Near Nandi Hills

feature oriental darter preening and sunbathing in a pond near nandi hills karnataka

Keeping Our Eyes Open to the Wonders of the World At times, we look around us, and everything moving or even inanimate strikes us as beautiful. Travel, for sure, helps me appreciate the new and the old. But it also opens my eyes to things I might have ignored otherwise. Though I lived for years …

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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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Lucknow Food Trail: Childhood Memories and a Miss and Hit of Expectations [Episode 4] 

the quint essential Uttar Pradesh tiki on a plate

Please note: This narrative is fourth in the series of travel essays on my Sikkim to Himachal highway journey. Read the First: Leaving Sikkim for Himachal, Second: The 500-km Drive Through Bihar — Corn Harvests, Marriage Certificate at Hotels, and Truck Slogans, and Third Episode: Arriving in UP at Midnight — an Eerie Expressway, a Suspicious Hotel Attendant, and a Missing Wheel-Cover, too.  

Also note: If I was a bit calmer — and perhaps had an ice cooler sticking to my head — I would have photographed it all. But for now, we would have to do with this photo-less food tour of Lucknow. I have added some photos downloaded from Google though.

The featured image is of a plate of tiki, taken at my parent’s home but purchased from a street food shop in the town. It is a quintessential UP photo, showing the tiki (though without chutneys) along with the Hindi Punjab Kesari, the everyman’s newspaper of my state.

My Home State Uttar Pradesh (UP) Has Moved On, But I Have Not

We were going to pass Lucknow on our way to Himachal (from Sikkim). So for that afternoon, we had planned a Lucknow food trail: not any guide, but we ourselves were taking us on an impromptu food tour through Lucknow. Neither had I been to the capital before nor did my partner S, and skipping the city’s quintessential delicacies to make it quickly to Himachal sounded like a lame excuse. 

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Arriving in UP at Midnight: An Eerie Expressway, A Suspicious Hotel Attendant, and a Missing Wheel-Cover [Episode 3]

driving through haryana sunflower fields used as feature image in driving through UP article

Please note: This narrative is the third in the series of travel essays on my Sikkim to Himachal highway journey. Read the First Episode: Leaving Sikkim for Himachal – Serendipity or Choice? and the Second: The 500-km Drive Through Bihar: Corn Harvests, Marriage Certificate at Hotels, and Truck Slogans, too. Can We Ever Feel Safe in Uttar Pradesh? …

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The 500-km Drive Through Bihar: Corn Harvests, Marriage Certificate at Hotels, and Truck Slogans [Episode 2]

two women farmers carrying loads on heads

Please note: This narrative is the second in the series of travel essays on my Sikkim to Himachal highway journey. Read the beginning of the journey here and the onwards drive to Uttar Pradesh here.

Driving Through Bihar: a Test of Our Unrelenting Spirit

Driving through the field-fringed Bihar highway — of which so much was under construction that we were mostly taking diversions — I sat with the car window open, feeling the wind on my face. Eighty’s English Rock played on the car stereo, and the promise of open hours on the road seemed as fertile as the green-yellow country extending to the horizon. 

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Leaving Sikkim for Himachal – Serendipity or Choice? [Episode 1]

our-village-home-in-sikkim-countryside-and-the-jungle-beyond

The Beginning of a 2000-km Road Journey

Please note: This narrative is the first in the series of travel essays on my Sikkim to Himachal highway journey.

After a night of bonfire in a Sikkim country homestay, in the morning, my partner S and I lay in bed, our legs tired from the past three days of aimless hiking with the family’s two dogs. We were deciding if we should do the three-hour trek we had thought of and, after it, drive Northeastward to Yuksom, a mountain town with multiple trails going around it. My mind was relinquishing Sikkim (before the countryside, we had lived in Gangtok for almost three months) and hinting at going to Himachal Pradesh, where we traveled for four months last to last year and would be more familiar with the surroundings and could work and be happy. We even had a Himachal home from our previous visit on our minds: it had two rooms, homemade food, and enough seclusion on a hill; work quietly or saunter in the mountains when you like. And I needed a place to bunker down to finish a large travel writing project; everything else was secondary (Recommended Read: how to achieve your goals).  

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the Pleasing Potpourri that Pondicherry is – in Photos

an old pondicherry woman selling greens on pondicherry streets tiny

What is Pondicherry and What is it not

I fell in love with the energy of Pondicherry — the heartbeat of it — even before I could notice what this coastal city offered. 

The union territory of Pondicherry (renamed to Puducherry) might be popular for the leftovers from French colonialism: ubiquitous bakeries, wine bars and restaurants, narrow lanes studded with monochrome baroque buildings, and the French-speaking Tamils. Or for being the crucial port it became as early on as in the 3rd century of the iron age people. The ancient ceramic burial urns, wine jars, fish garum amphoras, and the Palaeolithic axe discovered around Pondicherry (Tamil Nadu) and now kept in the city’s museum do impress upon one the history of the town that seemed to have existed since time is known. 

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Searched For Big Adventures, Satisfied With a Little Lakeside Picnic – In Karnataka’s Sharavathi Valley

my man and a picnic in sharavathi valley

We Wanted to Visit Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, But Didn’t Know We Were In It; We Looked For a Big Adventure, But We Were On It Already

That day had started late. We arrived at a homestay near Jog Falls in Sharavathi Valley two days ago. The occasion was of the New Year. 

Like always, I had zoomed in and out of Google Maps and found a vast green blotch dotted with blue pools that I hadn’t explored yet. It was Sharavathi Valley. And once again, I overruled my partner who wanted to visit an easy place, such as Gokarna or Hampi. Easy not because of the distance from Bangalore. But he preferred those well-known destinations because the internet didn’t have much information about Sharavathi Valley.

Not that we ever knew more about a place we wanted to visit than how far away it was and where we would put up for the first night. Sometimes, we even booked that first night while on the way or checked out a couple of hotels or home stays upon arrival. But having to navigate a large forested valley without knowing the local language, any information, and the possibility of losing phone signals could intimidate anyone. Though, to me, the journey sounded adventurous, and so my partner gave in, too.

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