Don’t you just love going through old photo albums?

Don’t you just love going through old photo albums? Or is it just me?

We are a generation with a few printed pictures from childhood and a whole lot of digital photographs tucked away in some corner of a computer.

We have become so digitalized that nearly everything that has meaning to us is in Bit form. Instead of photo prints in albums we have digital pictures on our computers. Physical books have been replaced by kindle, Birthday cards have been replaced by gifs and letters by DMs and whatsapp messages.

May be I’m just old school but, don’t you miss the smell of a new book, or the joy a letter from a pen pal or a loved one brings you, or the inevitable smile that creeps up on you when you open up a birthday card from your cousin or best of all the feeling you get when you go through a physical photo album and the anticipation and excitement you get when you first bring the prints home from the studio? I surely do!

So guess who’s going to get a few pictures printed soon?

P.S- how is it that back in the “Film role” days we all looked good in one take and yet today we can hardly find a good click from the 10-20 clicks we take in the same spot in the same pose. Boggles my mind!

The Great Indian Railway

During one random conversation, my friend told me how obsessed (for lack of better wording) her husband is with Indian trains and the experience that comes with it. He was so intrigued by what he had heard about them that he was pestering her to go to India on their honeymoon just to get a taste of the train experience.

His prime interest- to shove his way in to an overcrowded Indian train!. Would have been quite the honeymoon I must say!!

I’ve had my share of train journeys across India (I was a student living on a tight budget, what did you expect?). I’ve travelled from north to south and west to east, I’ve practically lived on trains for days at an end. I’ve seen the landscape change from the shores of Chenni to Delhi and alongside I’ve seen the cultural change. I’ve seen the language change from Marathi to Bengali and along with it the flavor of food.

I personally have a love-hate relationship with the great Indian railway. It can be the best mode of travel through India and sometimes the worst and in some cases both at the same time.

  • Safety

Haha!! There is no such thing! You decide to take an overnight train? Kid you’re on your own! Unless you travel in first class, having your luggage safe, unattended is a myth. You better have your luggage chained up at all times. Yes! Literally! You can buy these thick metal chains that I’ve never seen in any other country I’ve traveled to, from the train station to serve as your safety companion. You’ll find hooks at the bottom of your seat through which you can run these chains to fasten your luggage. Keep your valuables like your passport very close to you, Fanny packs are ideal for this.

I’m not trying to inflict fear in you but it is what it is! Not just when you’re on the train, but you should be mindful even when you’re on the platform. You will not know from where or when someone would come and take what is yours! You lose concentration for a minute or two and your belongings are gone.

  • Food

Food on trains are surprisingly good! As long as you have a strong digestive system that is!  Bread-omelet for breakfast with chai, Wada and Kur-kure for snacks and railway biryani for dinner is the way to go. Depending on what part of the country you are traveling through the taste of food will change drastically! But the basics will be the same- In the morning you’ll be woken up to a train attendant shrieking “Breeeead Omleeett” and “Chaaaaaaiii” and for lunch and dinner an attendant will come and get your orders a few hours before lunch/dinner time and deliver them to your seat. Paani bottles are ever-present and so are local snacks, including counter fit Lays.

Go vegetarian as much as possible because you don’t want to have an upset stomach given the washroom situation.

  • Getting your ticket

Indian trains are an experience even before you step on them. You have two ways to get your tickets- one through the ticket counter, other through a sketchy guy from an outside agency. Don’t really know how the sketchy guy works but your name will be on the list, tried and tested (not recommended though). Yes there is a LIST especially on overnight trains, you’ll find this list pasted next to the door of the compartment.

Sketchy guy or not make sure your name is on the list and also check your name and gender on the ticket, because some ( I emphasize on some) ticket collectors may make a scene for the most random reasons specially when your identity proof is a passport. They know you are an easy target to shake a few bucks out of your pocket- yes bribery is a thing on trains too. So best option book in advance, way advance!.

Also make sure you reach the station a while before the departure time, especially if you’re getting on from a major stations, because Indian stations can be confusing! Especially if you are not familiar with the language. They change the platform numbers like it’s no one’s business! So always make sure you check and keep checking your platform number. And if they do change it know that you will have to be ready for a mad dash over crowded connective bridges and through crazy crowds on platforms and also dodge coolies carrying ridiculous amounts of luggage. Also, you might get the chance to reenact the infamous DDLG scene, running alongside a moving train to get in, because being late for a train is not something you can entirely avoid when in India.

  • Bathrooms

A hole on the floor is all you’ve got!  You will also find a sink with the most difficult and complicated faucet you will ever have to use, especially on a moving train. You will need mad balancing skills to even wash your hands.

  • Hygiene

Say what now?

 Cleanliness for the most part is a concept that stands no meaning on these trains. It’s not dead right unbearable, but it’s definitely somewhere up there!

 But one thing I did notice is that certain trains that run through certain states are cleaner than others.

Now sitting here post(-ish) pandemic and with millions of hygiene practices drilled in to my brain, I genuinely can’t imagine how I survived.

  • Sleep

Hoping for a good night’s sleep? Yah keep hoping!! Especially if you get the top most berth. Getting some sleep with all the noise and making sure you don’t fall down, not the most comfortable place to fall asleep. But I surprisingly have the superpower to sleep well on Indian trains, and I prefer the top berth because it’s a little away from the chaos bellow and I even like the sounds and movement of the train.

  • Overcrowded

 Again, there is no such thing!!You reserved a seat and you’re under the impression that you’ll get to sit on the whole seat. Think again! You’ll get your average last minute ticket owners that wants a little space on your seat to beggars, floor sweepers to Hijras asking you for money( in some parts of the country) taking up a little bit of space. But they are all just a beautiful part of the experience.

  • Need a Last minute ticket?

 Hope you like sitting/ sleeping on the floor. I’ve done it a few times (not proud of it though, Okay, maybe a little for surviving). It comes handy when time means more than hygiene.

  • Make friends but keep an eye on anything fishy

Gruesomely long boring train rides can lead to some great lifelong friendships. I’ve had many such encounters and some were life altering. For instance a chance encounter with a Tibetan monk on a train from Agra to Jalpaiguri got me the chance to go to Bhutan back when tourism in Bhutan was not a thing.

But do keep in mind, everyone that is friendly is not your friend.

Yes there are certain trains that run along the great Indian railroad like the Royal Orient that offers its passengers a train ride of a life time with its fancy saloons and sleeping quarters and safe, over the top cuisine. And they are an experience of their own too. But I would choose the noisy second class and its bland vegetable biryani over and over again, because it’s an experience that will give you a taste of what India is really about. And trust me it’s a beautiful journey!

From the wardrobe of princess Kuweni to that of the boss ladies (and gentlemen of course) of today, the fashion scene of Sri Lanka has changed and evolved drastically throughout history.

This metamorphism happening in the fashion arena of this tiny paradise island is in some cases keeping up with the trends and shifts in the global fashion world and in some instances is in tune to her own beat.

The story of the emergence of clothing in Sri Lanka is unclear but undoubtable the art of dressing has gone through many transformations through time. From the occasional foreign involvement in history and the fashion influx that follows, to the exposure to globalization and mass media, the fashion industry of Sri Lanka today is a melting pot of many traditions and styles from all corners of the world.

With time the fashion movement of Sri Lanka is moving forward at a staggering pace and is starting to flourish as an industry with a cause.  

With the surge of new e-commerce platforms and the inflow of international retail experiences we islanders, are not so behind in playing catching up and embracing what’s “IN” in the global fashion domain.

But whatever trends and Fads that come and go, the Lankan fashion scene will always have a constant, her island culture and her roots.

By today the fashion capital of Sri Lanka is beaming with store fronts bearing the names of international and local high end fashion labels and is home to many fashion events spanned through the year. With exposure to such, the local consumers are getting increasingly conscious about the details of fashion which was not the case a few decades ago.

Not just the influx in to the country but many Lankan based designers and brands have started to make a name for themselves in the international arena, and  slowly but surely Sri Lanka is turning in to a fashion destination giving rise to opportunities for young creatives to blossom and thrive.

When considering the global domain, fashion is divided in to a few segments such as, Haute Couture and Couture, Ready-To-Wear/ Prêt-à-Porter, Diffusion, Bridge and Mass market –The one we know the best!

But when it comes to the Lankan scene these divisions are a little bit blurred. We are yet to embrace fully the concept of fashion brands and designer labels. We are so used to the concept of fast fashion or SMEs when it comes to our fashion needs that they have become what we know and adore.

We still have a long way to go, but here are a few key global trends that Sri Lankan brands should consider embracing: 

Sustainability the authentic way – even though the movement of sustainability and responsible fashion has become a trend of a sort, we islanders have had this concept as a part of our day to day lives throughout generations.( don’t trust me? Go Ask your grandma) but when it comes to everyday fashion and particularly the fast fashion movement we need to embrace sustainability more. Words such as recycling, up cycling and thrifting should be given more importance and should be accessible to people to embrace.

Tech meets Fashion- The global fashion movement in the future seems to be leaning towards increasing tech and fashion collaborations and producing something innovative.

Material revolution– circling back to the concept of sustainability we Lankans should venture in to the depths of the island and its history to find more sustainable and accessible novel materials that will help the local economy as well as the environment.

Bye Bye to fast fashion and hello to individuality- yes we do see a movement of people trying to go against the current of fast fashion and to establish an individuality now a days, but we still have a long way to go!

Metamorphic designs/ utilitarian fashion– By today, fashion is not just an object of beauty, it has much more to do than just the esthetic appeal. From cloths that have solar panels to outfits that can be worn in different ways, metamorphism is “in” folks, and we islanders need to pick up!

 Embracing minimalism- Gone are the days when people thought more was more!

Tradition + Modernity- Need to explore the possibility of merging traditional modern creativity.  We are an artistic bunch, aren’t we?

The fashion industry of this island has many more new and potential avenues that we need to tap into to bring it to a global scale. Also the local brands, designers and influencers need to watch out for the newest trends, movements and shifts that’s happening outside our little island and work on incorporating them in our design process in a way that it will be palatable for the local audience.

Fear of a Mediocre Life

Yesterday while on my way down the rabbit hole that is YouTube I came across a documentary about a man who was shipwrecked and survived for 76 days on a life raft.

76 days with only a life raft, a spear for fishing and a solar stilt to purify water. 76 days of fear, marginal hope and a drive to survive.

Through the 45 min documentary he talks about his journey, the events that happened between the ocean and him and everything in between. But what stood out for me the most is what he said about how he felt during those long and excruciating days alone in that life raft.

Other than his thoughts of survival he said that he kept having flash backs of his previous life. Flash backs of a life before the shipwreck, of things he did and didn’t do. And he kept saying that he had a gut wrenching feeling that he hadn’t “lived” enough. In his own words he had only lived an average live. Being in a situation where he had no idea if he would come out alive, he felt that he hadn’t done enough in his life to be at peace with him.

And that got me thinking, what would I feel if I was in that situation having similar flashbacks? Would I be at peace with my life?

Most of us (minus a few who truly have “lived”) have just had this mediocre existence. We are all caught up in this rat race we wrongly call life. Work, home, work, home-a routine that we are now addicted to. Life has turned out to be so monotonous that it truly doesn’t feel as if we are living anymore.

Every person has a different perspective on what life means to them, each interpretation is different from the other. And moments that make you feel alive are also different from one person to the other. They are all valid, you just need to find what your moments are.

Some might be holding on to a bucket list of things to do to reach that level of content while some may find that peace in life’s’ simple moments. And some like yours truly, a moderate in-between.

These moments can range from wanting to go on the EBC trek (Me!!), go skydiving to sleeping under the Northern lights. Or it can be as simple as opening up a conversation with someone you always wanted to connect with or reading a good book. It’s all your personal choice. The only question is are you at that point where you are content with yourself?

We never know when our “life raft” moment will come, when those flashbacks will come, when those questions of whether we truly lived or not will come, If that moment was right now do you think you will be at peace? You would be content with what you have done in your life?

If the answer is yes, good for you! You’ve truly lived. But if it’s a no, what would you do to change it in to a big fat yes?

“Makara”- The Sri Lankan Dragon

“’The makara has the trunk of an elephant, the feet of a lion, the ears of a pig, the body of a fish living in water, the teeth turned outwards, eyes like Hanuman’s, and a splendid tail’

-‘Mediaeval Sinhalese art’ by Ananda KCoomaraswamy (1908) (translated as found in the Rupavaliya)

A prominent figure from the mythical realm of Sri Lankan traditional art, Makara stand out as one of the most widely used motifs and one bearing great meaning in every line it’s made up of.

Described in dept in the Sri Lankan Sanskrit book Rupavaliya, a manifestation of the imagination of the artist, this majestic creature has roamed the Sri Lankan art scene for as long back as history goes. 

Each feature of this animal represents celebrated human qualities in a very subtle way which has made him take a center stage in Buddhist art in Sri Lanka. 

  •      The Elephants tusk- represents Dexterity
  •      Paws of a Lion- strength
  •      Ears of a Boar- acute hearing
  •     Body of a Fish- movement 
  •     Teeth and Jaws of a crocodile – Demand for respect
  •     Eyes of a monkey- Vision
  •     Tail of a bird- Splendid beauty 

The makara is found widely as a part of the “Makara thorana”, the arch way of the entry to Buddhist temples and as a decorative art piece around many of the Buddha statues found on this tiny island.

Korawakgala/makaragala(dragon Stone) an stone sculptured art piece that goes on ether sides of a staircase of an entry way ta a Buddhist building is another instance where this majestic creature makes its appearance.  

Aspects of this mystical creature finds it way in to more day to day objects as well, such as temple jewelry, door knobs and medieval traditional military equipment’s such as swords.

Hidden in the background behind a clash of shapes and color this mystic creature has made the Sri Lankan traditional art his home in very subtle ways that not many actually notice its presence, And therefor faces a great threat of extinction.

Until next time,

Safe travels.  


“Limits are the white boring lines on an otherwise colorful canvas”


Growing up as a girl,

I’ve been always told that there are limits.

Limits to my dreams, limits to my desires.

Some dreams would be too colorful and some beyond the conventional lines.

The voices keep screaming,

Some mountains are too high to climb.

Some rivers too wide to cross.

Some seas too deep to dive.

And some roads to long to walk.

Limits on this and limits on that.

Limits dictating, from dusk till the end.

Life becomes a butterfly wrapped in the deadly grip of a web.

Dream high but only so much!

Shoot for the stars but only the ones inside the invisible line!

These limits are the obscure glass ceiling that stops us from going beyond.

They tell you with cheering voices to go far and beyond, as your heart desires!

But they keep forgetting to tell you about the leash they have on you.

Summoned, whenever they think you are too much for them to handle.

With time the lines get blurred and more and more entangled.

Metamorphosing in to a choking hazard of a new kind.


Sometimes, just sometimes

There are the lucky butterflies.

The once who decide to spread their wings.

The once who decide it’s time to fly.

To break the limits, to shatter the glass.

The once who muster the courage to fly,

Fly to the distance,

Away from all the limits and lines,

Where flowers grow, and the meadows smell like dreams.


Yet the voices will still keep telling you that limits are there for a reason.

Little did they know, for this butterfly the reason was simply to “Defy”


Hidden in the outskirts of Anuradhapura, is the ancient Buddhist temple complex of Thanthirimale. Considered as one of the oldest settlements of Sri Lanka, this area is not just home to a temple complex but also acts as a window in to the glorious past, even beyond the written history of Sri Lanka.

Even though this location holds high significance both in terms of Buddhism and also the history of this island, not many are aware of its existence or whereabouts.

Getting there:- There are two well known routes to reach Thanthirimale

  1. Through Anuradhapura-Mahawilachchiya road.
  2. Through Madawachchiya- Mannar road.

Thanthirimale Rajamaha Vihara is thought to have been built in the third century BC. Following many years of neglect and countless invasions and changes in Kingdoms, it was hidden from the eye of man until the 19th century when archaeologist rediscovered this magnificent complex and the surrounding ruins.

When you enter the compound you will first come across the much modern temple and then a museum which is home to many of the artifacts that were found on site.


Once you pass the museum you will come to a wide opening with huge rock boulders and small natural ponds of many sizes scattered around the area, nature at its best.

From there onward there are five main points of interest that you should make sure to visit.

  • Ashta pala boo tree

Once you climb up a stone cut stairway you will come to the much worshiped “Ashtapala Boo tree”. Considered as one of the most important religious boo trees found in Sri Lanka, it is thought to have comes from one of the 8 saplings that grew from the original boo tree brought to Sri Lanka by Arhat Sangamitta Theri.


  • The next most important land mark would be the  Buddha statue carved in to a rock, located just off the Boo tree.


Following the great Buddha statue, the most noteworthy of  rock carvings are the two statues on ether side of the Buddha which has been only partly completed along with a half done section of the staircase. It is believed that due to a foreign invasion that happened on the Kingdom during the end of the Anuradhapura era the artist was not able to finish his masterpiece leaving it incomplete.


  • Towering the raised natural rock formation located at the end of the beautiful pond is a square shaped building which was used as the pothgula or a safe heaven for puskola poth (Religious script written on the leaf of Palmyrah).


At the base of this boulder a man made cave like structure, complete with Kataram can be found which is believed to have housed meditating monks.



  • Rock caves and prehistoric drawings


Once you pass the pothgula and walk along a trail going deep in to the forest you will come across two natural caves on whose wall you will be able to see many prehistoric drawings depicting animals, sun, moon and humans. According to the renown historian Prof. Senarath Paranawitharana these drawing may date back 4000 years.


Just across these caves you will find a few more natural ponds and a huge rock bolder which you can climb to see a 360 view of the area around.

  • The reclining Buddha stute

This Buddha state has many similarities to the world famous Polonnaruwa Buddha statue. Some parts of the statue has been damaged by time and treasure hunters



Thanthirimale temple complex has survived through invasions by Chola, Pandya and Magha dynasties and had been in ruins encroached by the jungle up till the 1960’s, when it was rediscovered and renovated to what it is today. Even thought many people are not familiar with the history and stories surrounding this masterpiece, it is one of the most important relics of the old world and should be preserved  for generations to come.

So if you do find yourself in Anuradhapura don’t forget to go off the much known touristy route and explore the wonders of this hidden historical site.

Until next time,

Safe travels



The Beauty in Chaos

It’s late at night! It’s later than I would like it to be, I’m sitting on my bed not knowing what to do, should I try to study for the exam tomorrow or should I try to sleep?

The noise is too loud!! I can’t even hear myself thinking! Finally it stops, or does it? It feels like the calm after a storm, but how long will it last? A minute or two?

The source of this chaotic noise is the Ganesh Madal in the ghalee next to my PG ka ghalee! Loud speakers blasting songs at the highest possible tone, people shouting, dancing and chanting, fire crackers going off every five seconds, all this and more, overcrowds my senses like nothing I have ever experienced.

The chaos is not just in my neighborhood, by now it has spread all over Pune, filling every corner of this usually calm city!

It starts again even louder this time! They start to play the latest Hindi songs on repeat again, so much loud that my windows rattle every time the beat hits base! It feels like the vibration is seeping in to my bones and deep in to my core! I can feel the drums beating within me. I wonder how long it will go on for this time! How long I’ll have to listen to Sonu Nigam or Shreya Ghoshal sing at the highest possible volume. Along with some well-known songs they play the unknown or the songs which are known as “chapree” songs by my Marati friends, the songs that you’re advised not to listen to unless you’re forced to, like tonight.

I look out the widow I see people dancing like there is no tomorrow, many can’t keep to the beat and many dance under the influence, chaos even on the “Dance floor”, the roadside. I see color lights being shot in to the night sky and fireworks lightening the sky. I see parades marching along the road shouting Ganpathi bappa morya.. Mangal Murthi moray.. Chaos.

A neighborhood that’s usually very silent, apart from the occasional cry of a child, bark of a dog, or PG ka aunty’s angry outbursts, is alive tonight. People gathered on the street, laughter floating around, houses decorated and alive with Ganpathi idols proudly displayed decorated and surrounded by color,  a new face to the all too familiar ghalee.


With nothing that could happen under the circumstances, I finally give in and decided to give chaos a chance. That’s when it hit me! Amidst all this, the at times unbearable chatter, how beautiful India is! In India even chaos has its own beauty.

Today, a few years later I’m sitting here going through the pictures my friends sent me of the Ganesh mandels at their homes, pictures of the food and of visarjan. The memories starts to creep back in to my head! The sounds, the smells and the feeling. It feels like a dam just gave in inside my head, an overwhelming feeling courses through me taking me by surprise.

I never in a million years thought I would miss Ganesh Chaturti in Pune!! But it seems that I’ve been proven wrong, and now there is nothing I wouldn’t do to go back in time, in to my shabby shoe closet of a room and look out in to the night to see the chaos unfold in front of me! There is nothing I wouldn’t do to listen to the chapriest of music and feel my bones vibrate to the beat, to see the people dance to their own beat, or to feel the divine taste of modak again.

How lucky and blessed I am to have seen, experienced and felt the beauty of the chaos that is Ganesh Chaturti.


Until next time,

Safe travels



Fabrics Made with Love

The tale of prince Vijay’s arrival in Sri Lanka then known as “Rathnadeepa”, not only marks the beginning of the written history of Sri Lanka and the birth of the “Sinhala” race, but also gives the very first account of the fabric industry that had already been established among the inhabitants of Rathnadeepa.

As mentioned in the “Mahavansa” When Prince Vijaya landed on the shores of Thambapanni he was greeted by the sight of Kuweni, The Yaksha princess of Lanka, working on her weaving wheel. – “Kapu Katimin siti Kuweniya

With a history of more than 2500 years, the hand weaving industry of Sri Lanka has come a long way from generation to generation, to where it is today. Due to modernization and the increase in demand, by today hand weaving has been mostly replaced by more modern mechanical methods and only a handful of places still use the age old technique.

A while ago while travelling to Anuradhapura we stopped at a roadside tea house and to my sheer luck, next door to this The kade was an artisan’s studio where a cheerful Nanda was hard at work on her weaving wheel. She was a kind soul who was more than exited to explain to me the process of hand weaving and everything involved. Her words told me how much she loved this process and how proud she was of her creations, rightfully so.


She also shared with us that by today she was the only one who knew how to weave by hand from the area she came from, where a while ago there were so many artisans that hand loom become the main source of income of that community. She told us how many had given up on this trade in order to find more stable jobs where-else. This was even more apparent from all the abandoned looms hovering in the background collecting dust forgotten, without anyone to use them.


The revival of hand loom fabrics have started to make a mark in the fashion scene of Sri Lanka lately, with many high end fashion brands taking an interest in incorporating these fabrics and techniques in to their collections. But will that be enough to save this age old art form from being engulfed by the modern methods and disappearing?