An Ensemble Of Puppets From Mandalay

  A Rapunzel with hair to spare?     I could be wrong, but she is most likely a Burmese Draupadi – that virtuous, wronged wife of the Pandavas (the five heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata) – who vows never to tie up her long tresses until she can anoint them with the blood of her molester, who incidentally, is her husbands’ step brother. I recently watched…

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In Photos – The Pagoda Fields Of Bagan

Bagan has always been synonymous with Burma for me. The vivid imagery of hundreds of mystical pagodas rising out of vast misty plains or silhouetted against a gloriously golden sky has beckoned me for as long as I can remember. The reality however was unexpectedly mixed. The temples are stunning from afar. Close up, the mystique gets eroded somewhat, and you begin to understand why a…

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Myanmar – Romancing The Irrawaddy

A cruise isn’t mandatory for a Myanmar itinerary. Most central Burmese attractions are easily accessed from Mandalay or Bagan by road or public ferry. But there is something about a river cruise, about floating lazily on an ancient body of water while witnessing life unfold along its banks, that is intimate and immersive. We had experienced the magic on the Nile, and…

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In Photos – Faith & Optimism In Myanmar

Faith: a belief based on trust. Optimism: an expectation of optimum outcome. Both illogical sentiments, each fuelling the other. Mine have consistently eroded over the years. But the faith and optimism we encountered throughout Myanmar, close on the heels of the show of solidarity during the recent deluge in my city, has left me feeling humbled. “Do you honestly…

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Myanmar – The Shared Destinies Of Two Illfated Kings

This is a riches to rags story. Of the journey of the King of Delhi from his jewel encrusted chambers in the Red Fort to a tiny tenement in the by-lanes of Rangoon. Replicated, just twenty seven years later, by the ouster of the occupant of the exquisite Glass Palace in Mandalay and his exile to modest lodgings in…

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Myanmar – The Considerable Attractions Of Inle Lake

The Heho (airport) arrival hall dominated by a baggage scanning unit reinstates my pre-conceived notions. Its a bit like India in the seventies, when passenger comfort played second fiddle to paranoia over contraband. The authorities definition of it anyway. Once luggage is identified from the heap in the middle of the room however, and passed through the all seeing machine,…

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Happy New Year From Myanmar!

If anything, the recent floods that devastated my city underscored the unpredictability of life. I very nearly cancelled our visit to Myanmar. But R convinced me of the futility of that guilty decision. So here we are. In this beautiful land on the verge of promising new beginnings. All best wishes for a healthy, happy 2016!  

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Myanmar – First Impressions

The traffic snarls as we drive into Yangon, even with the ban on two wheelers within city limits, are reminiscent of Bangalore. But the roads are surprisingly wide and well laid (mostly). And they are garbage free! Pristine lakes and gardens abound. Splotchy red betel stains on sidewalks are familiar. Spotless public toilets, not. Vehicles with right hand steering…

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