Grief, Pride & Hope In My Submerged City

Its been eerily silent this past week. I normally revel in the quiet of my neighbourhood, but this is the silence of devastation. Of a city knocked to its knees.  I miss the sounds I whined about. Of engines backfiring in the distance. Of the howling of strays or the keening of koels that shake me from my sleep at […]

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Zanzibar – The Last Slave Market

The allure of Zanzibar, its multicultural, decaying opulence harking back to an affluent past, is derived from its history of thriving commerce in the Indian ocean. It is sobering to consider however, that the affluence was fueled as much by trade in ivory and slaves as in benign commodities like spices and silk. And the fact that it was the last place on […]

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Il Ghetto – An Unromantic Legacy

The Doge’s council of Venice, by its singular act of confining seven hundred Venetian Jews within an abandoned foundry on March 29, 1516, gave to the world a word that is now synonymous with segregated ethnic populations. Jewish presence in Venice dates back to the 10th century. Jews were not allowed to live on the main islands even then, but […]

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The Extraordinary Renewal Of Rwanda

The Kigali Genocide Memorial is a powerful tribute to the victims of genocide. It is also a testament to the tenacity of a people and their remarkable rise up from that dark and devastating chasm into hope and renewal.

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

Memorial Monument For Hiroshima City Of Peace. The saddle shaped structure straddles a cenotaph that lists the names of all victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The epitaph on the cenotaph reads “Rest in peace, for the error shall not be repeated”. In the background, frozen in time, is the […]

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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 […]

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Paris – Allée des Justes

A 60 metre stretch of road bordering the Shoah Memorial, in the Marais, once known as the Rue Grenier sur l’Eau, renamed ‘Allée des Justes‘ in June 2006, in tribute to those that did not forget the meaning of community. A pity our supreme court did. PS: I was amazed when my post on the […]

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A Passion For Egypt

Goddess Anukhet - Musee du Louvre

A few treasures from the Egyptian Antiquities section of the Louvre Museum & reflections on plundered art and antiquities around the world.

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Just Google It!

The increased reach of internet connectivity has no doubt robbed travel agents of many commission dollars – our agent has point blank refused to help with visas alone, ever since we started booking flights and hotels online – while it has opened up untold opportunities to the independent traveler. With access to vast databases of […]

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The Bridge On The River Kwai

The bridge on the 'river Kwai'

The bridge isn’t on the Kwai at all. The upper stretch of the Mae Klong river in the Kanchanaburi district of Thailand that the bridge straddles, was renamed Khwae Yai in 1960. Three years after the release of the epic multi Oscar winning David Lean movie!  I was aware that the movie had been shot […]

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Why?

“Why?” a young American ahead of us asked his friend. “Do you get why this happened?” His Cambodian companion started describing the events that led to his country’s descent into hell, but the young man interrupted him. “No, no…..I know what happened. WHY did it happen?” That question haunted us as we filed past the row upon […]

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