Noontime Dumplings in Beijing

A city in which everything real existed in the backstreets. Food was wok-tossed into the air and sesame, soy, and mustard hit the brain before making it to the belly.  People weary from their day jobs sat down on rickety stools to have the meal of their lives. Roasted duck: an addiction. Everything seemed likeContinue reading “Noontime Dumplings in Beijing”

The Sea Shell Collector of Baia: a Trip to an Underwater City

– dedicated to Vandana Lohia With her gaze fixed on the swirling shell of Tyrrhenian Sea, Mizu was confounded by the secrets of the old city that had crept into her ears without warning. What began as an underwater tour of a 2000 year old Roman party city, turned into an expose on the privateContinue reading “The Sea Shell Collector of Baia: a Trip to an Underwater City”

Barrow, the City of the 1:00 am Sun

– Dedicated to Kimberley Remedios Barrow is America’s northernmost city and also the boon of nature’s misery. Here, the sun doesn’t rise for two months in winter, and in summer, the sun inhabits the sky for 80 long days and nights. It confounds everything known about time, it suspends it into this vast eternity ofContinue reading “Barrow, the City of the 1:00 am Sun”

Wearing a Bamboo Hat around Hanoi, Vietnam

~dedicated to Prerna Mukherjee Mizu was getting used to Hanoi’s streets. It wasn’t long until she realized the lack of street-crossing rules. She had waited for a good fifteen minutes before she took a step, and then another, dodged a big Hanoi cyclo and scurried across the road. She didn’t dare look up to seeContinue reading “Wearing a Bamboo Hat around Hanoi, Vietnam”

Hot coffee in burning city – Centralia, Pennsylvania

Mizu is in the city of Centralia. Only five city dwellers live here because the place is literally on fire. It can perish anytime, even as you read this story. A realization of sorts had dawned upon Mizu. She was sipping on a cup of coffee, with a 77-year-old man, in a wooden cottage inContinue reading “Hot coffee in burning city – Centralia, Pennsylvania”

Barcelona – the City of Circles

Mizu had walked past seven Spanish Fruterias in Barcelona when she finally decided to enter one on La Rambla  street. The fruit shop was so tiny that she had to take care not to tip over the fruits that were stacked up on either side. An old Spanish vendor was squatting by the fruits tryingContinue reading “Barcelona – the City of Circles”

Less than a day in Adelaide

The train came to a screeching halt at the Adelaide Parklands Terminal and a few restless passengers got off in a hurry. They were instructed that they only had ten hours in Adelaide, at the end of which the train would take off to Perth. Mizu and the young man had got off too andContinue reading “Less than a day in Adelaide”

The Great Pacific Train Journey

Day 1 Mizu boarded the Indian Pacific at Sydney and navigated her suitcase through the narrow corridors of the train. She found her seat besides a square window inside a compact twin cabin. There, two vacant bunkers lay waiting to be occupied by two strangers. After placing her suitcase beneath the bunker and sitting byContinue reading “The Great Pacific Train Journey”

Mizu lands in the “city of bones”

Beneath the runway, a million bones lay waiting to stir. At touch down, a bony rattle struck the entire airplane and the man beside Mizu almost jumped off his seat. “You heard the bones then?”, asked Mizu, making sure she wasn’t hallucinating as she had in the past. “I think seat belts were only madeContinue reading “Mizu lands in the “city of bones””

Farewell Tokyo!

Mizu stood by the peculiar love-hotel and looked up at its two signs, “shukuhaku” and “kyukei” which meant stay and rest. She had received none of the two. This 2000 yen-per-hour hotel was her makeshift service apartment for a month. Now, she stood by it with her new compact suitcase and had resolutely given upContinue reading “Farewell Tokyo!”