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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Photo Essay – The Doors Of Zanzibar

Ornate carved doors are common in India. But I have never seen such a profusion in any one place before. They are impossible to miss anywhere you turn in Stone Town. Striking reminders of Zanzibar’s affluent past, in stark contrast to the drab, peeling walls they grace. The tradition of carved doors was originally borrowed from immigrant Indian trading communities, and…

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Zanzibar – The Allure Of The Familiar

Everything, barring the intensely turquoise waters of the Indian ocean, felt startlingly familiar. The sultry weather, the spicy coconut infused curries, the colorful attire, the ornately chiseled doors. Even the traditional game of Bao. My Indianness, and the fact that I had grown up watching monsoon winds billowing the lateen sails of Arab dhows and dreaming of following in the wake of mythical adventurers,…

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The Masaai Of Tanzania

Their appearance fit my every romantic notion. Tall, lithe, ebony bodies with elongated limbs, sheathed in bright colored fabric. Short cropped hair on perfectly rounded heads with stretched earlobes. Stunningly beautiful women, weighed down by intricate bead jewelry, who wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of Vogue. Their posture ramrod straight. Their gait almost insolent. But their weary eyes…

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Serengeti – The Gnu & Its Wanderlust

We very nearly missed the river crossings we had come to the Serengeti to witness. Rains arrived early this year. And the wildebeest herds, following some primal genetic coding that propels them on an arduous trek across the Savannah in search of fresh new grass, had already moved to the Northern plains. Perhaps even crossed over to the…

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Serengeti – The Cycle OF Life

The ‘endless plains’ stretched ahead of us. Tranquil. Seemingly light years from the stressful demands of our life in the big city. The passage of time marked only by the movement of the sun. We were aware by now, after our dawn to dusk game drives in Tarangire and Ngorongoro, that the tranquility conceals a dynamic eco system where the pressures…

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