Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India is a melding of hues, tones and associations. Amber, beige, puce, khaki, alabaster, butterscotch, camel, chamois, celadon green. Cinnamon, cloves and cocoa. Copper and cordovan. Splashes of apricot and bittersweet. Chartreuse and maize. The greens are mostly faded, dusty, subtle. Tiger sightings are a game of chance. There are ten zones – tiger territories – each fiercely guarded by … Continue reading Ranthambore … and the man who knows his tigers.
Our Nilgiris (blue mountains) experience was defined by the ubiquitous red-whiskered bird, ever present in the garden, whirrings and flappings and busyness in the trees alongside Oriental White Eyed’s; tireless good cheer in the occasional summer sun. “go via mysore-bhandipur-masinagudi-ooty. at bandipur, after the police checkpost is a left turn over a narrow bridge to masinagudi up the sigur ghat (36 hair pin bends). if … Continue reading More than just a Bulbul !
On a sunlit shore, seemingly nowhere in particular, framed by palms and blue skies, within thatched enclosures, lulled by the continual boom and ebb of waves, there is a little hub of passion and devotion where little babies struggle to survive and grizzled men lovingly tend to the wounded, the resting and the trusting. This is the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Centre, a serendipitous discovery beside … Continue reading Innocent, wounded, yet trusting
It was a rare convergence : a beautiful morning, clear skies, sunshine chased by a rippling wind into ‘shadow and seek’, the beginning of a weekend and an hour to spare. Carpe diem is my resolution for 2014. And so, when I find myself traveling alongside a lengthy, glinting stretch of silver fringed by green and framed by rain trees – an unexpected vista between … Continue reading A beautiful Friday morning …
Surrealist Salvador Dali (1904 to 1989) ‘channeled the unconscious to unlock the power of the imagination’. His Paranoid-Critical method (the basis for most of his artworks) went further – creating art from a state of self-induced paranoia, putting the artist in touch with his subconscious and ‘systematic irrational thought’ in order to escape conventional understanding of reality and the world. Which is a brief and … Continue reading Salvador Dali : Twice in Singapore
A ‘mega’ hotel that recently opened in Chennai, India, the ITC Grand Chola (the third largest hotel in India), is an architectural paean to the Chola Dynasty, one of the longest ruling empires of southern India. The hotel is contemporary Dravidian temple design a la Chola : four entrances (as found in temples in south India), soaring spaces, tall pillars (462), grand columns, sweeping staircases, … Continue reading Five Star dining with your Fingers
In a world that is getting increasingly smaller and diverse, what are the ties that bind people with peripatetic lifestyles ? It is the essence of family and friendship – universal ties that endure as a mesh of remembrances and experiences (much like a piece of intricate embroidery), created or recalled by a meal, a celebration, a remembrance, a festival or a new year. We … Continue reading The Ties that Bind
As people all over the world – secular and religious – observe this most celebrated of festivals; the reality that we are more similar than we are different (and especially at Christmastime) is reinforced by our geographies and cultures. The post-Hallowe’en November-long anticipation has yielded to Yuletide celebrations and menu planning, Christmas parties and Christmas spruces, pines and firs, taller, higher, brighter, twinkling away (faux … Continue reading Christmas
Early mornings are special … and tropical Singapore mornings bring a ‘fresh’ perspective to urban living. (A summer morning remembered, in the midst of this ‘wet’ winter). Tropical summers linger in the memory as alliterative summer days: lazy, languid, lucid … sweltering, sultry, scorching. This morning, a breeze tosses the leaves of the rain trees. The air is thick and heavy but a daybreak zephyr … Continue reading Urban Tropical : Golden Orioles, Parrots and a Cockatoo
To visit Bali frequently is to rejuvenate the soul, to escape the glass and steel of metropolitan living to a world governed by exquisite harmony and balance. Possibly, the most easily accessed ‘instant nirvana’ in this part of the world, Bali is undisputedly the Island of the Gods; almost other-worldly in both geography and spirit. Its spectacular grey-black volcanic sand beaches along the northern coastlines … Continue reading A Frangipani in my Cappuccino : Three days in Bali
John Gay declared ‘whether we can afford it or no, we must have superfluities’ … and so it is on Sentosa; visit and discover your nirvana. Capella, ah Capella ! Give us the luxuries of life and we will dispense with its necessities, goes the well-quoted quote and after a weekend (or more) at the Capella Singapore (+65 6377 8888), you begin to comprehend how … Continue reading Luxe and beyond, in Singapore, in Sentosa.
On the night of the thinnest divide between this life and the afterlife, when apparitions and spirits freely slink, skulk, stalk and sneak about, bring out the costumes to scare off the demons and carve your pumpkins and light them with candles and make your taffy apple treats. Two thousand or more years ago, the Celts (in today’s UK, Ireland and northern France) had an … Continue reading The Night of the Orange and Black
The ideal location for short (and long) getaways, Singapore must probably offer the widest choice of holiday destinations in the region. A visit to Kuala Lumpur should extend beyond urban, retail and downtown preoccupations; and according to the travel brochure, cool ‘Highland Resorts’, a few hours drive away from KL include Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Fraser’s Hill, Bukit Larut, Penang Hill, Bukit Tinggi – variously … Continue reading Highland and Island : Malaysia Getaways
Paris 2009 – with friends – a holiday of the senses, an effervescence of food, an exploration of haute cuisine, gastro-tourism, Michelin stars, Michelin guides and just plain ordinary eating. Read on, if you plan to visit Paris, or if you are interested in food. The compact, businesslike (soon to be rated Michelin discovery) Le Gaigne in the Marais quarter (third arrondissement) makes a persuasive … Continue reading Bon Appetit
In Singapore, the Singapore Zoo has chosen the orangutan as its flagship species and oversees one of the world’s most successful orangutan-breeding programs. Orangutans, for most of us, are a must-see at the Zoo, and if they are not saved from extinction in the near future, a Zoo could well become the only place to see them. To avert this, a number of organizations around … Continue reading Beyond Ah Meng : Asia’s only – and fast disappearing – great ape
For a weekend, or three (or more) days of self-indulgence and excess, Kuala Lumpur beckons with every kind of luxury. Thirty five minutes by air and exactly four hours, door to door, if your destination is the Kuala Lumpur City Centre; and it is dusk and you stand in awe beneath Cesar Pelli’s soaring, magnificently supple confection of steel and glass – the Twin Towers … Continue reading Kuala Lumpur of the Senses
Teenage summers are blithe days of a carefree existence, to be enjoyed, remembered and stored away for later years. With the start of school vacation, a Zen persona manifests itself in a certain teenager I am acquainted with. This is a deep contemplation that precedes the uncoiling that precedes any movement; an unwashed serenity (perfected by adolescent males); a vacant calm coupled with a gait … Continue reading Those Were the Days …