Author Archives: Madhu

Thumbnail 1 August 22

Happy Birthday Madras!

The skew, in a ledger of Chennai’s pluses and minuses, would be decidedly negative. Its famously hot and humid weather leading from the front. Followed by pitiful infrastructure: a subway still under construction and lagging decades behind Kolkata and Delhi, the worst airport of the metro cities, no decent flyovers to speak of, and traffic jams fast overtaking notorious Bangalore statistics. […]

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Asian Silhouettes

I have few silhouettes in my archives and they are all purely accidental. Considering the drama, mood and emotion they conjure up, I have no idea why I haven’t consciously gone after more back-lit shots. Fingers crossed in the hope that the Serengeti, next month, will turn up some good photo ops. Until then, here is a gallery that evokes some of our more […]

DSC_2535 copy 2 August 14

The Venetian Lions

Status was paramount in the ancient world. For empires, as much as for ordinary citizens. The aura of power, as important as the exercise of power itself. Visual imagery and symbolism went a long way in engendering that impression. And so it was, that a maritime republic of the stature of Venice, felt the need to be associated […]

Thumbnail 2 August 09

Textures Of Time

Decaying urban architecture has striking visual appeal. But it is their sense of history that adds to the fascination. The all too familiar stories of prosperity and decline, of the ordinary people that built these derelict spaces, of how they lived and laughed within those crumbling walls, and of the reasons that eventually compelled them to leave. And the haunting memories of our own childhood homes further heighten […]

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Lucknow – A Walk In The Chowk

Chowk, the heart of the city of Lucknow, is a smaller and considerably less intense version of Chandni Chowk in Delhi. A quintessential Indian ‘old town’ with its maze of narrow alleys. Where once glorious haveli’s rub shoulders with hastily nailed together hovels. Where the smells and sounds evoke romantic fantasies, engendered by long forgotten books, of oriental markets […]

The Chinese Zigzag Bridge

The zigzag bridge is a common feature in classical Chinese gardens. According to local lore (and tourist guides!) zigzag bridges and paths are said to confound evil spirits that can only walk straight lines for whatever reason! But in actual fact, these bridges are mainly decorative features based on the the Zen principle of mindfulness. Their non linear construction forcing one’s attention […]

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Lucknow – An Ode To Urbanity

Let’s face it, we are not the most considerate or well mannered of people If there is a rule to be broken, a line to be cut, or a traffic light to be jumped, you will likely find an Indian elbowing his way to pole position. Any indignant readers quick to rush to the defense of fellow citizens, are […]

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Sharing Summer’s Bounty

Summer, where I live, isn’t the glorious season that most of you look forward to with anticipation. We dread it with a vengeance. Only one thing makes coping with the blistering heat worthwhile…….sweet, luscious, divine mangoes.   – And the return of my parakeets to my mango tree. I was concerned they weren’t coming back this […]

Thumbnail2 July 19

The ‘Kazaridaru’ Of Meiji Jingu

Lining either side of the path leading to the Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo, are neatly arranged stacks of wine barrels. These (empty) decorative sake containers known as Kazaridaru, commemorate the sake houses – represented by the National Sake Brewers Association – that supply the shrine (s) with Omiki or sacred ritual wine, an essential component of Shinto purification rituals. The offering and consumption […]

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L’Isola Flamboyant!

My visit to Burano on a gloriously sunny first of May, was intensely overwhelming. And not all due to its abounding vibrance. It was standing room only on the vaporetto ride to and fro, as well as in the restaurants around the piazza. I picked up a surprisingly well made crumbed chicken panini and escaped to a bench on the […]

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The Ruins Of Mehrauli

Delhi’s architectural vestiges, the remains of its seven original cities, represent its complex and convoluted history. The spectacular rise of empires and the disasters and conflicts that led to their fall, writ large on every crumbling stone.. Mehrauli is the second of the seven cities, built around 1206AD by Qutub ud din Aibak, a former slave and general of Mohammed Ghori, who […]

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Here Fell Le Bon Roi Henri

 “The place where a certain catastrophe occurs becomes a dreadful, inescapable witness of it; and the absence of that silent character would leave the greatest historical scenes incomplete” ~ Victor Hugo in “The essential Victor Hugo” By all accounts Henri of Navarre – King Henri IV of France – was a good king. Revered by his […]

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Torcello – The Cradle Of Venice

Venice owes thanks to Atilla the Hun. Think about it………if the ‘barbarian’ hadn’t torched the Roman city of Altinum, if some of the residents of that great city hadn’t been directed by a disembodied voice to climb their lofty campanile and seek help from the heavens above, if they then hadn’t spied the distant group of islands on the lagoon from that tower, and if […]

Christine Tribute 2 July 02

Farewell Dear Friend

  Christine of Dadirridreaming died this morning. It is strange how some of our virtual connections seem so real. So special. How they transcend time and space and the barriers of geography, race and religion. My friendship with Christine was one such. We ‘met’ in February 2012,  just a month after I started my blog, and I have cherished my […]

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The Magen David In Kolkata

With the dwindling number of Jews in Calcutta – just over 20 by last count –  unable to summon up the minyan, the requisite ten men to hold a service, their shuttered places of worship stand mute witness to the once fabled diversity of their adopted land. They arrived in search of better prospects to a thriving metropolis. Their descendants opted out […]

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Contrast II

Light in the midst of darkness in the Magen David Synagogue in Kolkata.   A close-up More on the synagogue soon. Related: Dailypost WPC – Contrast Conspicuous Contrasts Oddly Juxtaposed Paris Le Ancien et le Moderne  

Aesthetic Transitions!

  Expanding the notion of ‘beautiful’ in Venice! Previous posts on the same theme: Conspicuous Contrasts Oddly Juxtaposed Paris Le Ancien et le Moderne

Thumbnail June 26

A Monkey Parade!

No, not the parade for hopeful courting teenagers! This was a trooping ‘home’ of scores of simians across the roof behind the Gateway hotel in Coonoor, and up a nearby tree to wherever it is they bed down for the night! I am guessing leaving room doors open here isn’t an option. Although not part of the parade, I couldn’t resist […]

Thumbnail June 25

Ten Thousand Shades Of Green…..

I had forgotten the smell of the hills. The fresh clean smell of rarefied mountain air mingled with the spicy fragrance of eucalyptus and the aroma of crushed tea leaves. But as we negotiated each tricky hairpin bend on our drive up the Coonoor ghat, it was the colours that opened the flood gates of my memory. The lush verdancy of […]

Thumb 1 June 20

The Space Between

  – They looked picture perfect. Two beautiful people framed between two pillars of the cathedral of Santa Maria Dell’ Assunta in Torcello. I considered showing them these photos. But I held back, reluctant to intrude into that beautiful space between them, that radiated a delightful sense of ease. And togetherness.   More from Torcello in a few days. […]

Thumbnail 1 June 20

Rialto – ‘The Heart Of The City’

The free and easy style of sightseeing I had adopted in Venice, wasn’t without its drawbacks. I was halfway to the Basilica San Marco to book a place on the 11.00 am tour that would co-incide with the floodlighting of the mosaics, when it suddenly occurred to me that it was a Saturday.  I knew the Rialto markets would be closed the next […]

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Venice – Beyond San Marco

San Marco’s monumental magnificence aside, it was a relief to escape its relentless crowds and persistent fake bag vendors. My second hotel, the Al Ponte Mocenigo in the sestiere Santa Croce was far enough away from the touristy center to feel local, while being close enough to the Stan Stae vaporetto stop to remain connected. In my four full days there – […]

Solo In Venice!

I spotted her from the vaporetto on my way back from Santa Maria della Salute. Her lone self on the balcony of the Palazzo Genovese (now the Centurion Palace Hotel) overlooking the Grand Canal, and juxtaposed against the glorious details of the church beyond. What a fabulous vantage point from which to survey the panorama below! I admit I felt a wee bit […]

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The Historical Government House Of Takayama

If you have ever been captivated by tales of fierce samurai and feudal warlords, you will love Takayama. Hida-Takayama is said to be one of few cities in Japan to retain its medieval character, particularly in the timber architecture of the old town that dates back to the Edo* era (1603 -1868). A period when the fragmented country transitioned from turbulence under warring chieftains to […]

thumbnail 3 June 06

The Lesser Denizens Of Nagarhole Park

In my excitement over the charismatic Mr. Leopard and the elephant family, I neglected to introduce you to the less elusive inhabitants of Nagarhole National Park These creatures might not recieve prominent billing in the star cast of the jungle, but they are no less delightful, and we later regretted not spending enough time with them in our futile hunt for the tiger. […]

DSC_3656 copy 2 June 02

Bologna – A Walk In The Rain

It was Debra’s idea to meet in Bologna. Debra Kolkka is a (lucky) Australian, who lives part of the year in Bagni di Lucca, a Tuscan commune near Lucca, and writes a delightful blog named – no prizes for guessing – Bagni di Lucca and Beyond! Do hop over and take a look if you are a […]

A Moment In Time…….

  A fleeting moment in time, en route to a new beginning. Previous posts on similar themes: The Pigeon Feeder Of Rue Montorgueil Calcutta Street Scenes Caught In The Act Chai On The Road Les Rues De Paris Power Nap Fleeting Moments

P1000690 copy May 27

Look Who’s Returned To My Mango Tree!

I do not lay great store by my blog stats. I did initially, until my counter one time, read nine views and one visitor, while the country spread indicated the views came from five countries! I highly doubt even Clark Kent could manage that feat in twenty minutes. A recent Daily Post article titled Beyond Traffic by […]

Thumbnail May 24

Weekly Photo Challenge – Twist

Peggy Guggenheim’s irreverence and sense of humour is evident from this 1948 Marino Marini sculpture presiding over the canal side entrance to her old home Palazzo Venier de Leoni (Now home to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection). The bronze male nude astride a horse is hardly what you would expect to be titled ‘Angel of the City’!   Serious scrutiny……..   […]

Thumbnail May 23

A Walk Through The Mullick Ghat Flower Bazaar

No wordy post today. Just an early morning stroll through the hustle and bustle of the Kolkata wholesale flower market, overflowing with reams of brilliant marigolds strung into garlands. While I love the vivid yellow and orange blooms and always have bowls of them lying around my house, the ones that grabbed my attention here, were these less showy lotus buds. Don’t you think there […]

Thumbnail 2 May 20

The City In The Sea – Part I

A friend of our daughter’s wanted to know if two days was time enough for Venice. I laughed. That is more time than we had in the city on our first visit nearly three decades ago! Even then, in the days when we were broke by the 20th of the month, when leisure travel was the prerogative […]

Art Thumbnail May 17

Weekly Photo Challenge – Works Of Art

To me, Venice is in itself a work of art. For the purpose of this weeks challenge however, I showcase some delightful window displays from the magical city…….from chocolate art to carnivale masks. All but the first, shot through glass. Hope you like them as much I did discovering them. Do check out these related images […]

Bhuta Kola Thumbnail May 12

A Tryst With Divine Spirits!

The literal meaning of Bhuta in Tulu, the predominant language of South Kanara district in coastal Karnataka – and my mother tongue incidentally – is ghost. But the Bhutas of the ritual worship called Bhuta Kola, that take place annually in ancestral homes across the region, are not the restless spectres the word conjures up. They are divinities…..deified cultural heroes, […]

Thumbnail May 10

On The Move In Venice

Venice was all floating fabulousness! It felt like I was just getting to know the city, when it was time for me to leave. “What will you do there for an entire week? And alone?” my friends exclaimed before I left.  I could easily have stayed another two. I walked mostly. Through endless narrow calles, over innumerable pontes and onto picturesque campos presided […]

On My Way To La Serenissima!!

This is coming to you from Chennai airport where I await the boarding call for my first ever solo trip. The ‘solo’ bit seems to have thrown a few people off kilter, including the Italian consulate, that demanded a letter from my husband stating he had no objection to my traveling alone!!! While he couldn’t wipe […]

Thumbnail3 April 25

A Wild Weekend!

If like Jo, any of you have lost track of where I am in my current adventures, let me get you up to speed. To see a tiger in the wild has been a lifelong dream of ours, and when a dear friend invited us to join him for a safari at the Nagarhole (Kabini) reserve near Mysore, R & I readily agreed. Mr. Tiger […]

Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath April 18

Where The Wheel Of Dharma Was Set In Motion

She sat motionless facing the stupa, dwarfed by its giant proportions. The scaffolding encircling the sacred structure, providing a symbolic barrier against the world outside its perimeter. Her stillness and focus was fascinating, and magnified the contrast between this tranquil, spiritual retreat and the seething drama of life and death on the ghats of Varanasi, just ten kilometers South […]

“Rest In Peace, For The Error Shall Not Be Repeated”

– —– ———— ———— Related Links: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum Website Weekly Photo Challenge – Monument Why? The Silence Of War

Oberoi Grand April 10

The Grand Dame Of Chowringhee

After expertly navigating the impossibly clogged route from the airport, our taxi coasted to a halt in front of a colonnaded arcade teeming with what seemed like half the population of Calcutta. “This can’t be it” I muttered to R in dismay, while he peered out with equal skepticism. Then a pair of wrought iron gates […]

Threshold, meiji Jingu Shrine April 05

Weekly Photo Challenge – Crossing Milestones

A literal as well as symbolic crossing of the threshold in the Meiji Jingu shrine, Tokyo. This little girl, in her traditional finery, is all set to mark a milestone at the Shichi-go-san, a coming of age ritual celebrated annually at Shinto shrines across Japan. More about it here. Thank you for visiting………..have a great weekend. Related articles: […]

Paris Street April 01

Les Rues De Paris

R is going to be away on an unexpected business trip to New Zealand at the end of next this month with colleagues, and having been given to understand in no uncertain terms that my accompanying him would be a distraction, I suddenly find myself with two weeks of free time and no real plans! The compulsive planner […]

Kolkata thumbnail March 28

Calcutta Street Scenes

No other Metropolitan city in India conjures up past urban memories quite like Calcutta does, its squalour and decay notwithstanding. Which makes for eminently fascinating walks through its distinctly dissonant neighbourhoods. Here are some (more!) evocative street scenes from the ‘City of Joy’ that was once upon a time, a ‘City of Palaces’! Early morning fog – The […]

Thumbnail 2 March 22

Reflections – 2013

I was surprised by how many architectural marvels I photographed last year, mirrored in reflection pools…….at least one from each of our 2013 destinations! You have seen the Paris reflections one too many times, so here are the rest, all from India: The Victoria Memorial, Kolkata — Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi — The Taj Mahal, […]

Thumbnail March 17

Echoes Of The Raj

“Oberoi Hotel, Jawaharlal Nehru Road”  we repeated helpfully, as our cab driver frowned at his job sheet. He bobbed his head vigourously in response, “Yes, yes, yes…..Grand Hotel, Chowringhee”!  Turned out they were one and the same, but this was the trend of our interactions with anyone we stopped to ask for directions in Calcutta. “Anandilal Poddar […]

Inside Thumbnail March 14

Inside The Healing Pillar In Nara

– Squeezing into the hole at the bottom of the massive ‘healing’ pillar in the Daibutsuden of the Todaiji  Temple, is said to guarantee your place in Heaven. I didn’t dare risk being stuck in limbo! ———– Related articles: The Daily Post WPC – Inside Weekly Photo Challenge – Renewal Weekly Photo Challenge  -Inside 2013-I […]

Perspective Thumbnail March 08

Weekly Photo Challenge – Perspective

— A masterpiece viewed from another point of view. Which perspective do you prefer? PS: In case you are wondering what happened to the moon in the earlier image, I erased it because it turned out blotchy! Related articles: Weekly Photo Challenge : Masterpiece Phra Buddhasaiyas In Perspective Weekly Photo Challenge – Culture Weekly Photo […]

Thumbnail March 07

A Graveyard Of Colonial Memories

Bitter memories of conquest and subjugation are most commonly expunged, post independence, by appropriating the edifices and symbols of a conquering power and imbuing them with national identity. Successive governments then milk political mileage by eradicating vestiges of colonial association from cities, streets. and maps.  Even in stubbornly resistant cities like Calcutta. But how does […]

Beng Mealea March 01

Forsaken & Forgotten…….

—- A forsaken Durga near Kumartuli……. —- And more subsumed stones from the magical lost temple of Beng Mealea.  —- Click on the images (&/or links) to read the full stories. Related articles: Weekly Photo challenge: Abandoned

Thumbnail February 24

Caught In The Act

You might have guessed by now how fond we are of exploring the streets and alleys of urban destinations on foot. By ourselves, or on guided walks led by locals in the know.There is no better way to connect to a city, than to get off the beaten path and watch real people, at work, […]

Weekly Photo Challenge – Threes

I take you back to Kashi with this gallery. And although I have a thing about reusing images that I have published before, I couldn’t think of a better choice for this weeks photo challenge. You can view the entire series (sound effects and all!) here. Happy travels……… mater where life takes you.


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