Skip to main content


Touring Armenia during The Velvet Revolution

I had the opportunity to visit Armenia in April 2018 (long overdue blog post, I know). But it's not a country I knew much about. Think Armenia and chances are, you've read about the Armenian Genocide where 3/4th of its population perished - the controversy behind countries and world leaders acknowledging this as a 'genocide' ensues. One of the fascinating things I learnt was that today in Armenia, the population stands at just under 3 million (to put this in perspective, Mumbai city in India has a population of 18 million). But check out this stat; around 11 million Armenians live outside the country as migrants (most of them in the U.S.)! Right from the late 19th century, there have been three waves of massive migration from Armenia. But barring its troubled history, surely there's more to this landlocked tiny country? I was in for a surprise. In the very days we visited Armenia, the country made global waves with its Velvet Revolution, a watershed moment in its h…
Recent posts

Questions I Personally Asked 5 Famous Personalities

In the past two years, I have met some famous and very interesting people in Dubai. It is not everyday after all that you can say you've met the world's happiest man or one of the world's most creative person. So I decided to jot down my brief yet treasured interactions with them, so you can read about it, and I can reminisce a few years down the line.

[Former Under-Secretary General, UN, Author and Politician]
I met Tharoor shortly after I finished a heavy read of his book Inglorious Empire (read my thoughts on it here) at the Emirates Literature Festival in February 2018. I patiently made my way towards him in a snaking long queue but it was worth it because I even got snapped with him. Tharoor is highly educated, articulate and has an impressive body of social work. But he also has a long list of things he has been criticized for and accused of. Yet, in his numerous TV interviews, I have never seen him frazzled but always patient and calm in responding to…

Touring A Once-Troubled Belfast As A Guest Of The Duncans

Belfast is the best place to visit in 2018 - Lonely Planet said it, not me. 

But why? 
Belfast, it was never a city on my must-visit radar, until I met a colleague from there. In the months leading up to my trip, I started researching about the city and learnt that for three decades, Belfast was ground zero of The Troubles, a violent territorial conflict over national identity and belonging. The city was fraught with rioting and bombings and was not considered safe. But it's 2018 and on the surface, people in Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) seem to be going about life as usual. Outside of its political and religious issues, Belfast is a beautiful little city, a rising star on the traveler's bucket list, especially in the summer (quick trivia: Belfast usually sees 157 days of rain).
My Hosts, The Duncans
So there I was landing in Belfast one June morning as a guest of my wonderful colleague (let's call her Ms. Duncan). She is the daughter of a former national le…

10 Ways to Ditch that Drastic Plastic - An #EarthDay Appeal

Did you know...
...Plastic waste takes anywhere between 500-1000 years to degrade.
...50% of the plastic we consume is single-use plastic.
...Only a very small percentage of the tons of plastic that is produced ever gets recycled; most of it ends up in our oceans.

That plastic is detrimental to our planet and is already encroaching into our food chain is common knowledge. But have we done much to reduce our contribution to the trash? Despite more and more people becoming aware about the adversities of plastic pollution, so few actually do anything to reduce their plastic consumption. I think thewar we are waging is against habit. That old darn habit. Walk into the supermarket, walk out with a can of a plastic bag... habit. That old darn habit.

The other hurdle that companies like Avani (founded by an entrepreneur from Bali) are trying to cross is the cost factor. "The cost of biodegradable cutlery is about 30% higher and that is the single biggest challenge for operator…

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre...99 Years On

99 years ago on this very day, thousands of innocent Indians were shot and killed by armed British forces in Amritsar, and to date there has been no formal apology from Britain.
So what really happened... The ground zero was Jallianwala Bagh. Around 15,000 men, women and children had gathered at this open public space on Baisakhi Day to protest the Rowlatt Act (an Act that empowered authorities to imprison without trial). Upon learning of this gathering, General Edward Henry Dyer rounded up a troop of 50 men armed with 1,650 bullets who were instructed to fire at the chests of the Indians until the last bullet was fired. They sealed the only two exits of the Bagh, then the size of three football fields surrounded by homes. Without any warning, rounds were fired and with all the exists sealed by the troops, to escape the bullets, many died jumping into a well or in the resulting stampede. Though formal investigation concluded that around 367 Indians were killed, the actual number was in …

Shashi Tharoor's 'An Era of Darkness' Illustrates the Rapacity of the British Raj in India

It was August 15, 2016, I was having lunch with someone. Gazing at the news on the television screen behind me, she asked, "It's India's Independence Day today! Independence from whom?" Independence from the British, I answered, shocked. Shocked, because this someone in question was British and she had not a clue about the crimes of her country's colonial past.  Like millions of Indians and non-Indians, I was left aghast and despondent when I heard the viral Shashi Tharoor Oxford Union debate (if you haven't seen it yet, you've been living under a HUGE rock, and I suggest you watch it before you proceed to read the remainder of this blog). Tharoor in all his articulate and intellectual glory spoke in motion for Britain owing reparations to her former colonies. Tharoor's well-researched facts on the brutality of British rule in India for over two centuries left me astounded, and a sense of shame dawned on me - I knew so little about my country's p…

Just Me Traveling with Myself

"Solo travel is overrated" I once said, even tweeted No, I was never a fan Until one day, I landed in Italy Alone, no friend, no man
So what if travel plans with friends get derailed Do you mope over why they failed? Or consider the travel opportunity too good to pass by... You pick up your bags, and solitary, you fly
What was the charm in spending the holidays at home alone? None, so I landed in Rome alone Around Italy, I lost and found my way Relying on myself, exploring night and day
Traveling alone turned out to be sacred The self-absorbed conveniences I found new, alluring No, there was none of that cinematic soul-searching Just one lifetime experience worth cherishing
Here's from me to you...beat the blues the isolation may bring Embrace the 'you', take her under your wing This travel was no romantic quest for self-discovery It was just me enjoying my own company!
-------- I am thrilled to share this is the 100th post on my blog...what a journey it's been!

Tips You'll Need If You're Planning A Trip To Italy

No matter how much prior research you do before you venture out on your trip, there are always things you learn on the road. I just got back from Italy and I couldn't wait to pen down some real handy tips that you could make use of while planning your trip to this gorgeous country (you're welcome!). There's nothing like hearing about someone else's experience first hand traveling around a city and take back those tips to plan yours. And my hope is that these tips will make your journey planning and experience a tad smoother. 
Easy commute Trains are such an easy way to commute between different cities in Italy. The cities are very well connected and the routes easy to figure out. The good news is you don't have to wait in long queues at the train station to buy your ticket; simply visit and book your seat online. Also note, you don't need to print your train ticket; simply show it on your phone and the QR code will be scanned. Within cities, buses …