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The Thekkady tribal dance performance takes place in a small auditorium, not far from the Periyar Reserve bus stand, across from the Bamboo Grove.

I walk into a dusty darkened room, with a few rows of wooden chairs. The door is open, and people are either fanning themselves or swatting at mosquitoes, or in some cases both. A red light glows behind the curtain.  Continue Reading »

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Wilderness Fever Dreams

I arrive at the ecotourism office just before 1:30 pm, much to the chagrin of my driver, who makes it clear that he disapproves of my sightseeing priorities.

It has been a bumpy morning for us, as I have taken to ignoring his destination suggestions. A short while later he tells me that the two British friends who had come sightseeing with me the day before, were not allowed in the car. Nobody was allowed in the car except me.

I have realized by this point, that my driver is somewhat controlling, and while there may be such a rule, he is exaggerating it.

In response, I get on the phone and loudly tell my travel agent that if nobody else is allowed in the car I may cancel the cab early. This silences him for the moment. Continue Reading »

The Journey to Munnar

As I touch down in Cochin, I notice the tropical belt of trees that line the runway. As I descend towards the terminal, a small rather horizontal affair, the warmth hits my skins a nice change from the Delhi chill.

Today I’m going to Munnar, a hill station known for tea plantations and rustic beauty. I call the taxi driver who is booked to take me. He cannot understand my Hindi or my English by he tells me someone else, I believe the name was Sujit would pick me up. When I go outside a third Driver named Prateesh is waiting for me. But it’s fine and before I know it we are on our way. Continue Reading »

Lessons Learned

I’m turning 37 tomorrow – 37! God I don’t feel it…but sure enough it’s here and I am ready for it.

With each new year comes the opportunity for new perspectives and improvement, especially when you’re born close to the beginning of the year. Continue Reading »

Letters to the Dead

I thought that when I saw your funeral pyre, I’d finally believe that you’re gone. But as I watched the logs of wood turn black and white, start to crack and finally, core charred, collapse into dust – mingling with your ashes, as I watched the flames liquefying the air above, or the fresh logs being added up top, or the small concrete plot under the tin roof, it still did not feel true.

Continue Reading »

A Few Thoughts on Gratitude

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

– Randy Pausch

These words came from this absolutely beautiful book I am reading called The Last Lecture, written by the late Carnegie Mellon Professor before losing his battle to Pancreatic cancer in 2008. I’ve probably written about this before, but I do think it bears repeating.

If you’re reading this, you have access to a computer. I can almost assume that you have a roof over your head, and food on your table. Some of us have a little more, some of us have a little less. Some of us are plagued with debts, while others are blessed to live more comfortably.

Continue Reading »

A Rant On Boundaries

Those of you who know me, know I have a knack for meeting very strange people, and a large collection of funny stories to show for it. This week however, things reached a new level for me.

Three incidents have occurred in the last four days – all unrelated – and now I just want the whole thing to stop. Continue Reading »