Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Notes from a trip to Shaker Heritage Craft Fair

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Local crafts people are your best bet there is when thinking of gifts for your loved ones. We tootled down to the craft’s fair looking for this reason and also just to have fun with the kids on a warm and sunny Albany Sunday. Needless to stay it was a very good time had by all and the children enjoyed themselves immensely, looking at the turkeys and drinking delicious lemonade.

It was also amazing to see that all the small crafts people have easily integrated technology into their way of life. I remember a time not so long ago when one had to go to these kinds of places with cash in hand because no one had credit card machines. In this fair, I saw everyone was armed with Square . We were able to pay with our credit card easily and seamlessly. I wonder what the shaker community would say to it if all of them had come alive today!

There were a lot of people who were selling clothes, baskets as well as foods and spices. Let me show you some pictures and some websites. You can go to check out the products that we saw. Yes, everyone had a web presence and I was tickled pink by that!

Pure Pottery: This father and daughter duo had wonderful pottery pieces for decoration as well as home utility. To see more of their work please go to this site.
Pure Pottery

Mr. Jackson of Kirby Mountain Wood had some stunning wooden pieces of art. This is the first time I have seen actual wood used in a lampshade.

Ms. Sandy Salada had some wonderful woven baskets with beautiful and intricate designs too.

There were also a few artists who were willing to teach their craft. Check out Patty Keelen of “As The Wheel Turns” and Nina Zanetti with her Mountain Dulcimer. I was rather intrigued by the equipment. It looks so lovely and so much like a Sitar, almost.

So that was an interesting trip to a crafts fair. The experience was made richer by the welcoming attitude of these craftspeople and their willingness to engage with the visitors. This summer, I am going to try and make all such events as I am told that “Winter is coming!”


Three fabulous travel writers

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

Today, I will give you three authors who have written really great books on travel. These authors all have a common approach. They don’t judge;they include lots of anecdotes and personal interactions with locals; they use dollops of humor very judiciously.

Paul Theroux

One of the originals in travel writing. Very few people have invested so much effort in knowing and empathizing with people and places they have visited. Two recommendations for you.

Micheal Palin

Monty Python maybe his more famous work but his travelogues are some of the best in recent times. Rich in wry humor, very english! i would recommend that you listen to him in the following books.

Bill Bryson

An American who writes like an Englishman. Great humor! Some of his books read really well as Audio books while you are traveling. I will give you a couple that you will really enjoy.

Driving for pleasure through the plains

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

I have driven several hundreds of miles along empty yet beautifully paved roads. In the wilds of Utah, where visibility on a good day is 235 miles; through the pacific coast towards San Francisco where the road and the ocean play tag with each other and the sunsets are glorious. However, the one thing I desperately wanted to do was to drive at home through the Doab plains. Taking the opportunity to spend a couple of days during this sabbatical of mine, I took a little sojourn to Aligarh. A small and insignificant trip to be sure, but filled with delirious joy for me.
yamuna expressway

The Yamuna Expressway and I, we had long conversations all the way to Agra on another sad trip but this time we could only converse like old pals in a hurry, for 44 wonderful Kms. This road is nothing I have experienced in India before (It is true that I know little of this country so no offense to other roads). There is no way I can be less than parochial in this post so I am going to go the whole hog and say that there is nothing so lovely as watching the countryside flash by.  The sugarcane stands and mustard fields in the distance are a joy to behold from a freshly tarred and well maintained road.


By the way, no picture taken at any resolution can ever do justice to the pure joy upon beholding a field of mustard flowers in bloom. This picture is blurry but I cannot describe in words or even in any emotional cadence, a field of mustard lightly rustled by a breeze. Perhaps poets can do justice to this or great painters, but the eye is completely arrested and the mind captivated by this scene.


I sat here maudlin for a whole half hour.  Very reluctantly did I turn my audio book back on and move towards Aligarh.

india is complicated….

Friday, June 17th, 2011

It has been two weeks since I migrated back to India. They have been very interesting and quite eye-opening is some cases.

1. The first thing you notice is how much cleaner the big cities have become. New Delhi air is nowhere as noxious as it was a few years ago. CNG operated buses, taxis and autos have had a huge influence there.

2. Everything is quite expensive. You can’t really live a middling, middle-class existence in $1k. People are making and spending a lot of money. There is every kind of booze available too.


3. Medical care is available for a price. At Artemis hospital in Gurgaon, I saw a lot of foreigners; middle-easterners as well as Europeans.

4. You also have lots of family and so that makes the transition to the heat and more heat a lot more bearable.

5. Internet connections are also available at very high speeds. Quite higher than what I had anticipated. However, you need a backup for every connection. Preferably a backup of a backup as well.

More, anon…

So where are you going again? I know “India”, but where in India?

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Often times my friends ask me where I am going to be “hanging out” as it were. This map will allay your suspicions that I might be involved in anything other than worldly, venal ambition.



Google Maps is a good thing, eh?

Point A : New Delhi, where we will be landing and where my brother lives.

Point E: Aligarh, a town in Uttar Pradesh known for the AMU.

Point C : Gorakhpur, where my father’s farm is located. I will try my hand at farming too. God help us all!

Point D: Banda, my mother’s town. We have a house and a small patch of scrubby land there. This is mostly a place of memories and lost loves….I will be going there to visit as often as possible too.

So that is the start of the story….let us see where the plot takes us now.