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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. 

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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 …

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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. 

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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. 

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Writing, Wild Dogs, and Whiskey in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

a mother and baby elephant crossing the calicut bangalore highway near muthanga wildlife sanctuary

Jungle Bliss in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala I’m in the forest guesthouse of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in the Wayanad district of Kerala, and I don’t want to leave here ever. There are many things for which I want to stay. The tranquility of the forest: the clear sky with a few clouds. The green …

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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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A Green Affair in Siliguri–Picking Tomatoes and Turnips

mobile tandoor for peanuts in siliguri city west bengal

Though I stayed in Siliguri, a city in West Bengal, for more than two months, I have not written a blog post on it, yet. The reason could be that I was busy with a creative writing project that took all my time. I was not venturing out a lot either. With my head down …

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Hardworking Indian Women: Stories From, Literally, The Road

an indian grocery seller woman looking for money in her purse by the roadside in pondicherry

Are Indian Women home-making or home-running? Let’s figure out.

Highway Fruit Seller, Maharashtra

Somewhere between Satpura National Park and Goa, the highway is fringed by women sitting on the pavement amidst baskets of fruits. It is a yellow afternoon. As my partner and I drive by, the vendors wave and call while wiping the rainbow of fruits with a cloth. Plump round guavas, large custard apples, sparkling oranges, red apples, pointy jujube, tight sapodillas, big pineapples—they have them all. Because they call, we don’t stop. But near a woman who is quietly wiping the pomegranates, I ask my partner to stop the car. 

“We could buy some,” I say.

He nods. “Sure.” What do you think we should get, is his question next. 

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