Dutch forts and marine sanctuaries: Sri Lanka is ideal for a long weekend trip

Hindustan Times · February 11, 2016

Sri Lanka is south Asia’s newest hotspot. Perfect for a long weekend, the undiscovered parts of the country boast of marine sanctuaries and Dutch forts

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So ‘kool’ in Jaffna

LiveMint · January 09, 2016

A seafood stew that unites the region’s principal produce, and a cuisine shaped by absences…

Stacked high on sheets of newspaper, the large lagoon crabs challenged me. Having grown up vegetarian, and been one for well over 20 years, the fiddly process of cracking a crab’s shell to get to its sweet meat still made me a bit queasy. Not held back by any such apprehensions, my travel companions on this trip to Jaffna were making easy work of the crustaceans. Ultimately, the thought of being a bystander began to feel more tortuous than the thought of getting my fingers dirty, and I staked my claim to the Jaffna crab curry that had been delivered to our hotel room a few minutes earlier. Within a few moments, I was sniffling and smiling stupidly, all at the same time.

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Food Guide: The Hungry Traveller’s Guide To Colombo

National Geographic · December 21, 2015

Where to eat fish curry, kothu rotti, and other stars of Sri Lankan cuisine.

Of all the cities that I’ve called home over the years, Colombo is the only one where “school traffic” causes almost as much angst as evening rush hour. Most schools let out roughly at lunch time, when the roads of this usually laidback city become gridlocked with honking cars, school vans blocking traffic, and anxious parents escorting their children home. As a newcomer to the city, I used to find all the hand-wringing over school timings amusing. But a year-and-a-half later, it attests to how much I’ve become a part of the city (and vice versa), that I feel a tiny bit victorious at having dodged those treacherous afternoon hours by arriving early at Lantheruma to buy my lunch packet.

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Travel to Sri Lanka: A Couple’s Holiday in Colombo and Galle for Rs. 60,000

National Geographic · December 8, 2015

Just a short flight from most major Indian cities, Sri Lanka is familiar in ethos yet distinctly different from India. Despite its compact size, the Emerald Isle offers diverse landscapes and experiences, from tea gardens to wildlife, and quaint hill stations to beaches. While it’s possible to cover most of that in a relatively short span of time, most tourists—rightly—make a beeline for the island’s southern coast, dotted with sunny beaches, good-quality accommodation to suit a range of budgets, and great eating options. A trip of three days to a week makes for the perfect tropical getaway.

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Buildings Rise and Fall, But Breakfast Is Forever

Roads & Kingdoms · November 24, 2015

The oppressive heat of the October morning had yet to reach its uncomfortable peak when we walked into tree-lined Kaiserbagh, an erstwhile palace complex in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India’s fourth largest state. As part of a group of journalists invited to explore the state, I was about to embark on a walking tour of Kaiserbagh’s historic streets, just stirring to life in the early hours of the morning. To be perfectly honest, however, history was far from my mind, which had already raced forward to the breakfast that would follow.

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In A Tamil State Of Mind: Making Connections In The Once-Battered City Of Jaffna

National Geographic · November 17, 2015

Exploring local life on a parent’s nostalgia-filled trip to northern Sri Lanka.

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Ni Hao, Colombo

Roads & Kingdoms · June 18, 2015

The pidan was the first surprise in an evening full of culinary revelations. Trying preserved eggs had never featured high on my bucket list, so I approached the dish with trepidation. Small wedges of transformed duck eggs soon appeared at our table. Months of curing had turned the whites a gelatinous, translucent brown, while the yolks had acquired a (not terribly appetizing) gray hue. I braced myself for the punch of ammonia mentioned in every description of pidan I had ever read. But it never came. Instead, paired with a feisty accompaniment of sweet pickled ginger, the pidan acquired a deliciously complex flavor.

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What to eat if you are in Chiang Mai

LiveMint · 5th June, 2015

The sun was just beginning to set as I stepped out of our boutique hotel and strode down Rachamankha Road, one of the central streets of Chiang Mai, in search of my first meal. Having flown in after a busy day in Bangkok, crammed with eye-wateringly spicy green curry and more som tam (green papaya salad) than I could possibly eat, Chiang Mai’s relatively empty streets and leisurely pace caught me by surprise. The city is often referred to as the capital of northern Thailand, but the quiet streets, bereft of hawkers—my one gauge of urban likeability—made me oddly nervous.

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Grains of Truth

Roads & Kingdoms · May 21, 2015

Waking up one humid morning in Colombo, ten months ago, I couldn’t believe I had come this far in pursuit of an audacious dream. Chasing the romance of a life lived constantly on the move, my husband and I had volunteered to sever links – at least temporarily – with Mumbai, the city we had called home for several years, to move to Sri Lanka. I felt daunted and rudderless – our life, once so well-defined, suddenly seemed like putty in our hands. It was a heavy existential soup to be swimming in – but breakfast got in the way.

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Learning To Stay Curious In Colombo

National Geographic · May 02, 2015

Two-year-old Maya stepped on to the gardens of Colombo’s Independence Square—a green oasis surrounding a monument built to commemorate the country’s independence from the British— and took in the vast open space that stretched before her. Never one to be thrown by a new experience, she took purposeful strides on the soft grass, a slight smile on her face betraying that she did actually like all this—the trees, the birds, the breeze, all so difficult to enjoy back home in Mumbai where she lived. I’d been to Independence Square a million times before but seeing it through a toddler’s eyes gave me pause.

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