Thursday, April 24, 2014

World Book Day 2014

Very kicked to have received this on World Book Day 2014. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bawali Rajbaari, West Bengal

On Sunday, I visited the Bawali Rajbaari here in West Bengal. Roughly 30 kms from home, located just on the outskirts of Calcutta, this is an ancestral home which is being remodelled as a weekend getaway. The work is still under progress but the opulence for there for all to see.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book review of 'White Mughals' by William Dalrymple

I originally posted this review on my Goodreads page here:

The book is set in that window of Indian history which sees the Mughal influence wane and the British colonial culture rise. The action is set in Hyderabad and briefly shifts to Calcutta before moving south again. The dramatis personae include a soldier and diplomat of the East India Company who falls in love not only with the culture and tradition of 'Hindoostan' but also with a beautiful begum. The affair, and later the marriage, gives rise to a scandal which shakes the foundations of the British diplomatic relations with Hyderabad. But behind the court intrigue and the scandal lies the world of love, romance, beautiful architecture and the happy meeting ground of the East and the West.

William Dalrymple is a master storyteller, and one can only wish he narrates more such tales about India's history. The drab history textbooks of school are an utterly poor comparison to the books that he writes, simply because of his ability to transport us back to the world of kings and queens, sahibs and begums, of tehzeeb, and a world where letters were written to loved ones. The sights and sounds of Deccani culture come alive in front of the reader, and that in itself is as great a compliment as I can give this author.

40 is the new 30

So, here's the deal. I'm already past 30. But I firmly believe that these '50 places to visit in India before you're 30' are worth experiencing at any age.

Hence, here's a mini-bucket list, if you will. I plan to finish visiting these 50 places by the time I'm 40.

As it turns out, I've already finished a few:

1. Kolkata (Well, I live here. So...)

2. Vaishno Devi temple (Been there as a kid. Although, wouldn't mind the trek again)

3. Orissa Konark Temple & Surfing Lessons (Did the former when I was a kid, so maybe another trip beckons. Did the latter just a couple of months ago)

4. Go to Gokarna and do nothing. (Oh how I miss the tranquility!)

5. Experience local trains in Mumbai. (Oh how I miss the mad rush!)

6. Bombay to Goa road trips (Did many of those. ;) )

7. Chandni Chowk Food trip (This was done in 2007 when I went to Delhi as a Management Trainee)

How many of these places have you visited and experienced?