The Lovely Home Kitchens of Mumbai

We have always felt Indian food is best had in a home. There is no, not one restaurant which serves the amazing tastes and varieties of Indian home food. And what does Indian Food even mean? Last time I checked there were 28 states and 8 union territories. Each of them have a completely different … Read more

North East India Food in Mumbai : Finally

Naga Belly

Often called the ‘melting pot’ of Indian cultures and cuisines, Mumbai never really had a North East India food scene. Until now. The North East of India has a super vibrant culture, languages, textiles, art and a food scene. Now we can explore a part of the food scene, with some amazing north east dishes, … Read more

Cafés of Western Mumbai Suburbs

Cafe La Gwa

Well not entirely from the Western Suburbs. Some of them here, are also from the Eastern Suburbs of Navi Mumbai. I have been looking for interesting cafes in Mumbai to hang out and work from. The ability to hang out and work from was an important criteria for me. Candies and Andora in Bandra are … Read more

Tübingen, Germany

About 30 miles south of Stuttgart, the capital city of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, lies Tübingen, a pretty little University Town. About one third of the town’s population is students, the leading University being the The Eerhard Karls University of Tübingen. But education was not the reason we visited this beautiful town.

We were in Stuttgart in July, and were planning a drive to the Alps, a little to the south. Making elaborate road travel plans, routing towards the Alps mountains, making sure we touched some interesting places, consumed an entire day. We packed our luggage, checked out of the hotel, and went to the nearest car rental shop only to realise there were no cars available. It was summers and everyone drives out. We went to two more rental places, no cars. Not wanting to lose time, we rebooted the plans, and decided to take a train to a nearby place. And Tübingen it was.

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Mahabaleshwar : In The Lap Of Western Ghats

Pied Bushchat Female

The British Colonisers had a tough time dealing with India’s hot summers. They constantly looked out for summer getaways in cooler locations, and created a concept unique to India: Hill Stations. These were ideal sleepy little villages, located atop hills which had moderate temperatures in summers. Over a period of time, these hill stations became very popular with local Indian tourists trying to beat the heat as well.

Mahabaleshwar is one such hill station in the state of Maharashtra. Located on the Western Ghats range (called the Sahyadri Mountains in Maharashtra), Mahabaleshwar was once a tiny hamlet, now a full fledged town with traffic jams. It is so popular that we avoid it on tourist days and seasons (school holidays, weekends, long weekends etc). We also avoid its bazaars, which, without over-tourism, are frankly quite charming.

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Karnala Bird Sanctuary : A Day Visit

Karnala Fort

Just some 50km from Mumbai, on the old Mumbai – Goa Highway lies a little piece of heaven, the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. Notified in 1968, it has thankfully grown from some 4.45 sq km to some 12 sq km now.

For some of us, the ever growing concrete all around can become suffocating and a quick break is very much needed. Being so close to Mumbai, the Karnala Bird Sanctuary is one such place. The sanctuary is made of the beautiful forests on the hill around the Karnala Fort, which is at an altitude of some 445 meters above sea level.

They say the fort was built before 1400 AD in the rule of the Devagiri Yadava Dynasty. Over a period of time the Karnala Fort changed hands from the Devagiri Yadavas to the Tughlaq rulers, then from Gujarat Sultanat to Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar and back to Gujarat Sultanat with the help of the Portugese, who later handed it back to Nizam Shah for an annual lease. Thereafter, it was conquered by Shivaji, the great Maratha ruler, in around 1670. After his death, the Karnala Fort was taken over by Aurangzeb. By 1740 or so, the Peshwas of Pune took over the fort. It remained with them until the British conquered it in 1818. I wonder in all these years what kind of structural and design changes the fort must have undergone, with such diverse people ruling it. I am sure if I dig hard enough in the old libraries, there must be some paintings and references to the Karnala Fort somewhere.

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Road Trip : The Aesthetics of Route Planning

Sunflower fields

Road tripping? How shall we plan the route? And out comes a favourite maps app, and we blindly take whatever route planning the app suggests. But the app has zero feelings and the routes suggested are just part of a larger “algorithm”, which probably consists of how many people use that route to get somewhere. … Read more

Places to Visit Near Me : Mumbai


People keep asking me, “I am in Mumbai this weekend, what are the places near me, where can I go?”. This is not generally the kind of article we would write, but here we are. Where CAN one go? Well, wherever there is peace and fewer crowds, good ambience, a nice place to stay and good food.

Like every city, Mumbai has plenty around it for visiting. And I shall not mention the overdone Lonavala/Khandala.

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Petraglyphs in Ratnagiri

Petroglyphs in Ratnagiri

One of our recent trips to Ratnagiri, Konkan Maharashtra, yielded an unusual discovery. Thousands of years old rock carvings made by early humans. Such carved drawings on rocks are called Petraglyphs, and we must be thankful to Mr Sudhir Risbud, who has painstakingly discovered, documented and made (continues to make) supreme efforts to preserve these and bring some public attention to these.

Our hosts told use as part of “what to do”, to speak to Sudhir Risbud on what we can see around the area and that he has interesting visits in mind. We had no idea we would be seeing rock carvings, made around 20,000 BCE to 2000 BCE! (Mr Sisbud says it is very difficult to accurately time these peraglyphs, but we can get a fair idea from the materials used and the animals portrayed. We find drawings of Rhinocerous, but they have been extinct from this area for 10s of thousands of years. Elephants have been carved as well, which are not found here for many years now).

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Why I Don’t Like Flying Anymore

I hope the airlines folk are reading this. I used to love flying. But of late it has become a task full of drudgery.

Flying sucks. Every aspect of it. From booking tickets to collecting your bags at the end of the travel and exiting the airport. Read this too : Exactly 100% of Americans Hate Flying…

To start with, tickets are so so expense. One person’s one way ticket is equal to an average person’s monthly salary (almost). What do you get in return?

After booking your ticket and some 15 emails, 8 SMSs and a couple of WhatsApp messages from the booking site later, you are asked to WebCheckIn. You try and nothing happens. Then you get an email at 6 am saying WebCheckin is now open. You quickly drop everything to go through the arduous process of handing over all your privacy data to the airlines, answering many questions while the airlines doesn’t offer to answer even one (“Would you serve food without known allergens” for example) and accept your destiny as the seats offered to you in the centre row or on the wing (with no view) as the only choice.

Reach the airport at least two hours before your flight takes off. In Covid times, 3 hours prior since there are long long queues.
Long queues while entering the airport. Show ticket, search for ID while juggling your luggage. And frowning at fellow passengers who aren’t following the Covid Protocols.
Long Queue at Kiosk. The first Self service kiosk you approach doesn’t mostly work.
Baggage drop after self check in has long queues making kiosk self checking useless.
If you didn’t do a web check in pay extra again.
Long queue at security, take off belt, shoes, remove laptop, remove cameras etc

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Mandarmani Beach : Perhaps The Longest Beach Stretch In India

Mandarmani Beach

One of the reasons we called ourselves ‘The Untourists’ is we get to visit interesting locations due to the nature of our work : film-making. Many of these locations aren’t the ones we would have visited otherwise. One such shoot took us unexpectedly to Mandarmani, perhaps the longest beach in India.

At nearly 13km long, Mandarmani is the longest beach stretch in India. The geography is such that the sea is generally calm here, but the tide rises a fair bit. We were soon to find that out.

Back in February 2021, when the Coronavirus Pandemic seemed to be under control and things were opening up, we had to fly to Kolkata for a film which had to be shot on a beach. We were hoping to shoot it in Goa so we could drive down, but some circumstances insisted we shoot near Kolkata, herself a charming city full of heritage, so we locked on Mandarmani. Well, I am glad for the experience.

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