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From Homeless to a Forested Stilt Home in Wayanad (Kerala)

wooden hut in wayanad kerala surrounded by greenery

Leaving Behind a Forest to Get Into Another One: Finding Accommodation in Wayanad (Kerala)

As I said in the blog post on the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, I wasn’t happy leaving the 100-year-old sylvan cottage that was my home for three days. 

The last morning in the Sanctuary’s forest stay was—let’s just say—not easy on me. The previous night, my partner and I finished a bottle of whiskey. In the morning, I showered, and we took a jungle safari. Mommy elephants and baby elephants crossed the road ahead of us. My joy was a little subdued. After the safari, which ended at eight, I packed the rest of the things, brushed, walked, had tea, and wrote for more than an hour. 


Two on a Trail: Day 4, Episode 4

coffee beans drying in a village in wayanad kerala

Saying Goodbye to My Home in the Coffee Village in Wayanad

I woke up at 7:45, showered, and made breakfast: onion parathas and tea. We had to check out. Every raw vegetable was to be made and everything to be packed. I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and heated the dinner leftovers. The food was on the table all night. There was no fridge. I boiled potatoes and washed okra. My partner Sagar and I walked around on the porch facing the estate, finally sitting down for a bit. By 11:30, I started to work. Just an hour and a half and then I’ll finish the rest of cooking. Sagar was working, too. He would do all the packing. I would wrap up all the food things. At 1, I got up and strolled around a bit. From the porch, I called, “Shobha, Shobha,” as she had asked me to do the previous evening.


A Happy Poetess From a Village of Wayanad (Kerala): Day 3, Episode 3

a purple lily growing in a pond in wayanad kerala

Please note: This is the third episode in the series. Read the First here: Looking for a Home in a Wayanad Village (Kerala): Day 1, Episode 1 and the Second here: Life in a Tea, Coffee, and Betel Nut Village in Wayanad (Kerala): Day 2, Episode 2

When You Are Traveling, Don’t Expect. Be Open.

I woke up at seven and put water on the stove for my bath. Outside on the porch, I did my version of surya namaskars in front of the yellow sun that had replaced the golden moon. After washing myself, I put tea on the stove. By the time my partner Sagar woke up, tea was boiling. No breakfast for we had had a heavy dinner the previous night. I worked for two hours and when AB, our host, didn’t show up like the previous morning, Sagar called him. 


Life in a Tea, Coffee, and Betel Nut Village in Wayanad (Kerala): Day 2, Episode 2

a simple village home in the mountains of wayanad

Please note: This is the second episode in the series. If you haven’t read the first, get it here: Finding a Home in a Village in Wayanad (Kerala): Day 1, Episode 1 A Regular Day of Two Travelers in a Tea, Coffee, and Betel Nut Village in Wayanad Day 2 We slept well and woke …


Slow Travels in Mysore

butter benne dosa mysore old hotel a plate of dosa with coconut chutney

Travelogue of Mysore—A Week in and Around the Historical City

After checking out of a tiny room in a peculiar highway hotel outside Mysore, my partner Sagar and I both took deep breaths.

“I’m so relaxed after getting out of that place. We shouldn’t have stayed there for three nights,” I said.

He replied, “Yeah, like a weight is lifted off my head.”

Our relief could be accounted to the sleepy staff who upon seeing us return from lunch and standing outside the hotel door they had locked exclaimed, “You’re not going sightseeing?” Sagar and I waited on two tiny iron chairs in the airless lobby while the housekeeping woman haphazardly cleaned our room, leaving the garbage as is, the bed unmade, and damp towels lying in a coil. Then I squeezed onto the tiny desk in the corner, and Sagar managed to work from the bed.

As we drove to a highly-praised dosa place in Mysore downtown, watching the city go by us, the hotel room was already a thing of the past. We discussed our options. Either we could look for a good hotel in the city centre near the historical places—the city being the the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947 or drive further on. Our eyes were on Kerala. I had traveled to Mysore with my parents thirteen years ago and seen its major attractions: the Mysore Palace, the city zoo, gardens et cetera. My partner also didn’t care much about exploring every nook and corner of Mysore. We had been to Rangnathittu Bird Sanctuary twice on two different times and a day earlier strolled around an unmarked dam and lake, spotting hundreds of migratory birds. 

“Let’s see how we feel after breakfast,” we said to each other. 

masala dosa in mysore on a table two masala dosas

The masala dosa was a bit limp, not like the super crispy Karnataka dosa I was expecting. The place was, sadly, overhyped. 

After tea, on the dusty road, under a tree, we sat talking, planning our day. My partner had taken the day off, given how impromptu we were being.

“Do you want to drive to Bandipur or Nagarhole today?” He asked, as we had been asking each other since morning. 

“No. I’m so tired I don’t think I can drive today. It’s a long drive. And I don’t think even you’re up for driving for long hours.” I rubbed my eyes which had suddenly become heavy, as if wanting to close. 

“No I’m not.” He replied, with a tired look in his eyes.

“Let’s look for a hotel and stay.” After the dosa, my body had slowed down, screaming for rest and sleep. Imagining myself lying down on a bed was bringing immense relief.

We both started browsing Google Maps for accommodations in Mysore. He was looking at booking websites. 

Finding guest homes and family stays in India for three years, we are both wary of accommodations. Some don’t clean, many don’t provide drinking water, others are noisy or intruding, and so on. Somewhere staff don’t care, other places don’t have parking, and sometimes the toilet doesn’t flush. I can filter out well-reviewed properties just by a few red flags that I know would be too glaring in physical reality. 

I found Mannar, a hotel with a 4-star rating after hundreds of reviews. None of its reviews said dirty, uncaring staff, noise et cetera. One or two poor reviews when the experience might have been spoiled due to a one-off reason didn’t worry me. Parking was mentioned. 

We didn’t call. Fifteen minutes later, we squeezed into a narrow, busy street and parked outside the hotel across from a dung-smeared cow munching grass from a round stone trough. 


Finding a Home in a Village in Wayanad (Kerala): Day 1, Episode 1

a brick-tiled roof home in wayanad village with betel nuts plants and coffee drying (1)

Sitting on this makeshift work desk (that’s actually a couch) on the ground floor of a home in Chitragiri village in Wayanad is a blessing. Maybe the Christian family who owns the place might say that Christ has bestowed this blessing upon us. A big white church stands on the opposite side of the road. It is called Saint George Church Chitragiri, if I am not wrong. Its large but narrow white facade bolts upright while the rest of the church sprawls behind. A tea plantation lies next door to the church. 

a couch with laptop and pillows and covers, my makeshift work desk in a guesthouse in Wayanad village kerala
my makeshift work desk, Wayanad village, Kerala

In our house, this house, or I must say, this building, the owner’s family stays upstairs. I guess they have more guest rooms on the second floor. Behind our house, which has two rooms, a hall, a kitchen, two bathrooms, more common area, is the dormitory which is unoccupied at the moment. The coffee and betel nut estate of the family is behind the building. Our porch leads onto the cement driveway which fronts the green estate. 

Here downstairs we are, our doors open to the lushness of this coffee district.

We have spent three nights in this home. Today is our fourth day. 


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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