taking a walk in india: photos | stories | essays

10 December 2016

7 October 2016

Manipur in a funk

This is what is left of a person at the end of 16 years after being force-fed a liquid diet.
Some centuries ago, probably in the year 1717, the Manipur king decided to play host to Shantidas Adhikari (as he was known), a rock star from Sylhet (now in Bangladesh). Shantidas persuaded the king to convert the people of Manipur to Hinduism, the Vaishnavite strain to be exact.

24 September 2016

Men at work ahead of Durga Puja


Artisans from West Bengal have started making clay idols ahead of Durga Puja, at Chittaranjan Park in New Delhi.

30 August 2016

Stuck in an auto, on Outer Ring Road, in monsoon, for Lagaan hours


Getting stuck in traffic is nothing out of the ordinary.

Getting stuck in Outer Ring Road traffic, in heavy rain, at a time when people are heading out from office on a Monday evening, that is something.

25 August 2016

Ima Thokchom Ramani: a brief history of the Meira Paibis of Manipur, then and now


Meira Paibi – translated as ‘someone who holds the torch’ in Meiteilon, the language of the Meitei community – is an all-women vigilante group in Manipur in north-east India.

18 August 2016

Majnu ka Tilla


Majnu ka Tilla at New Delhi, set up as a Tibetan refugee colony about 55 years ago, has some good eateries that serve authentic Himalayan food. Dry days don't exist here. People visit MKT—as the regulars call it—on national holidays for a drink. That is how the people of Delhi see it.

16 August 2016

The all new Ghalib Kebab Corner


Ghalib Kebab Corner in Delhi's Nizamuddin holds a special place among hostel students of Delhi Public School (DPS), Mathura Road, especially those who studied there between 1980 and the year 2000.

2 August 2016

1 August 2016

INA market: A melting pot


Some meat and vegetable sellers at INA market know how to greet people in languages you wouldn't have expected.

29 July 2016

First come, first served


At 5:30am before the tea seller has woken up the bird man is busy feeding pigeons, the rats of the flying world, and crows, living the thug life in cheap black suit. Some squirrels also take advantage of the confusion and steal a few nibbles.

25 July 2016

The carom boys of CR Park


It's Monday evening. People are returning from work, tired, already thinking about the next day. But the carom boys of CR Park are chilling.

16 July 2016

When night falls at Hauz Khas Village


Hauz Khas Village, the wannabe place. A man chases the light at midnight on one of the colourful alleys at the so-called village.


12 July 2016

Open Happiness


This product includes ingredients sourced from genetically engineered (GE) crops, commonly known as GMOs, which the FDA regards as safe.

11 July 2016

A Varanasi morning


Varanasi is wide awake at six in the morning. It is difficult to beat the sun at waking up. It will always be high up in the sky no matter what time of the dawn you head out to the ghats.

10 July 2016

Walkers, flowers and lovers at Lodhi Gardens


Lodhi Gardens offers a large breathing space to the people of Delhi. It is also one of the safest places in the national capital for young people to head out to make out.

9 July 2016

The 13th Himalayan Odyssey (2016) by Royal Enfield


While taking a walk at India Gate at six in the morning, journey basket ran into some people riding motorcycles. They said they were going to Ladakh.

8 July 2016

Chugging into history: National Rail Museum


A walk at the National Rail Museum takes a while, and the line of vintage trains never seems to end.

6 July 2016

Sikkim: Learning is an uphill climb



Between Gangtok and the small town of Singtam on National Highway 31-A, children wait for any passing vehicle to hitch a ride to school.

3 July 2016

Varanasi: If god was a banker





Bowl of compassion. God is good for business.

Tourists might end up outnumbering devotees in a place of pilgrimage over a period of time. And that is perhaps what had happened to Varanasi. No one is complaining though. Local competition tends to push prices down. Ancient buildings where no one would stay are converted into hostels. Educated unemployed youth become guides and use the experience as a springboard to going abroad, with some luck. People innovate and come up with all sorts of ideas to make money.

















There is a parallel economy running in Varanasi. A demand-driven situation forces eateries to expand their menu beyond what you would expect to find in the religious town.





Lemon tea for the bhai.




But stay away from this guy. Or for that matter stay away from any person who roams about with a snake. If you came to Varanasi, you would hear boatmen warning tourists against talking to the sneaky snake babas. “There is a reason people don’t like them. If you are the kind who can play with a snake casually then you can easily fool a human,” a boatman says.

Also see Jaisalmer: If god was a banker

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Journalist. Taking a walk in India. | Email to journeybasket[at]gmail | Special thanks to M.S. Gopal | All rights reserved. No commercial use.

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