• Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Vietnam

    Awesome Two-Week Itinerary for Vietnam

    I have always wanted to visit South East Asia, and when we finally planned a 2-week trip this year my husband immediately said: “Let’s do Vietnam.” Anthony Bourdain’s enticing depiction of Vietnamese cuisine drew him to the country. For me, it was a book, called Saigon which had been on our bookshelves since I could read. When I grew up, and finally read the book, it took me to a place both familiar and exotic. The maps were pulled up on our laptops and we started planning our journey. Vietnam is a thin narrow strip of land, like Kerala – so it made sense to do a cross-country trip. We chose…

  • Goa,  India,  Travel

    The Loja by the Water: A Genuine Goan Getaway

    Our first brush with Goan beaches was at Arambol back in 2012, which was a typical Goa holiday of beaches, beer, and buzzing party atmosphere. This year we returned to the sunshine state in search of a different experience – a quieter one – which we found at the beautiful Loja by the Water. What the Loja felt like The Loja is an intimate cabin just right for a couple or a single traveler. Slanting red tiled roof, a wall painting on one corner, and cool red-peroxide floor as you step in – I loved the earthy feel. The cabin is divided into a living area and a kitchenette with a dining…

  • Coffee Connections,  Point of View,  Uncategorized,  Visual Journal,  Watercolors

    International Coffee Day 2018

    Iced coffee is generally brewed hot and poured over ice and milk. Sometimes it is served with a scoop of ice cream. Cold coffee was a childhood staple – that version was more of a sweet shake. It was prepared with instant coffee and had a lot of milk and sugar. My family believed that children should not drink tea or coffee. It was when I came to Bangalore, to study, that my love affair with coffee started. And we have been going strong for the past 15 years. Recently, my husband introduced me to a new brewing method, cold brew coffee. I took to it from the first sip.…

  • India,  Karnataka,  South India,  Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal,  Urban Sketching,  Visual Journal

    Cantonment Railway Station – An Illustrated Travel Story

    Urban Sketching At Cantonment Railway Station Last weekend, our Urban Sketchers meet was at the Cantonment Railway Station, Bangalore (BNC). While most of us were geared up to sketch amidst the bustle and chaos of a typical Indian railway station, what we found was a place of astonishing stillness. The arched walls and green rooftops look as though they simply stood still and refused to move to make way for Bengaluru! A group of Railways employees was conducting a Swachh Bharat survey. They asked us a few questions and moved on to complete their round of the station. A train with a vivid red engine stood by the platform the entire time…

  • India,  Karnataka,  Travel,  Urban Sketching

    Urban Sketching: Siddhaih Road, Bangalore

    The Urban Sketchers Bengaluru meet in the first week of August was all about automobile repair shops. We met across  Urvashi Theater. A relic from the single screen theater era, this theater was famous for its great sound system. K. C. Nanjunde Gowda, a film producer and prominent businessman of Karnataka, constructed it during the 1970s. Before multiplexes became popular, this was a hep place where college students would hang-out. We walked along the Siddhaih Road and found a nook where we could gather and sketch. The turnout was very good with some newcomers and a guest from Portugal. We also had a few goats who ambled around quite comfortable being sketched! I…

  • South India,  Uncategorized,  Urban Sketching,  Visual Journal

    Dust, Noise, and Colors – Urban Sketching at Russell Market

    Russell Market was an assault on the senses – there was movement everywhere, a cacophony of colors and shapes, making it impossible to decide what to sketch. I was walking around the Russell Market area in mid-July with my fellow urban sketchers. A cool breeze kept us company, as we walked around looking for sketching points. We met at the auto stand, opposite St. Mary’s Basilica. And walked up to Russel Market. An old, peach-colored building, with Indo-Islamic style turrets and arched windows, greeted us. As I walked in, abundant flower and fruit shops greeted me. The market building also offers pet shops, gardening equipment, dry fruits, toys, groceries, and many other…

  • Orissa,  Travel,  Travelogue & Art Journal

    The INTACH Warrior of Orissa: Anil Dhir

    ‘Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.’ – Ibn Battuta Orissa is often in the news for all the wrong reasons – a cyclone, famine, political issues. Living outside Orissa for many years, I have often found friends and colleagues clueless about the cultural and historical significance of this ancient land. So, this year I was planning to travel to Bhubaneswar for a longer duration and was keen to explore its cultural footprint. I wanted something beyond the touristy articles listing Khandagiri, Udaygiri, Puri, and Konark. I asked friends, family, and searched online for authentic travel books on Orissa.  This search led me to Mr. Anil Dhir; a…