Poe’s Pigeon: “Poop Galore”

My son asks how my satire of The Raven is coming along. It’s stalled, I say, and explain the problem. The first seven stanzas, more than a third of the poem, have nothing to do with the bird. Yet the inspiration to write this satire flaps all around me, every day, unavoidable reminders of their own absurdity: … Continue reading Poe’s Pigeon: “Poop Galore”

Lost

Nothing in 2020 was immune to the pandemic. Even my hard drive crashed by June, shelved for months before a fix could be found. Vista along the Mahuli Fort trek, Thane Well before my laptop's demise, the year had already presented its share of challenges. Travel to Bhopal in January to support American blues performers … Continue reading Lost

Lockdown Countdown

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night announced a nationwide lockdown, freezing 1.3 billion citizens in place starting at midnight tonight (coinciding with Ugadi, the first day of the New Year on the Hindu calendar). What a relief! For weeks I’ve been grappling with the lack of an end to coronavirus anxiety. Now we know. … Continue reading Lockdown Countdown

The United States Department of State

Referred to as the State Department, State, and DOS, the U.S. Department of State has recently been called by an unfitting new label. I don’t care about the insult. Hearing it called “deep state department” glances off as a meaningless jab. I’ve long inured myself against the public bluster. What concerns me more is the … Continue reading The United States Department of State

Swipe-N-Wipe?

The Internet can solve a lot of problems, but not this one. Spotted this sign in heavy traffic on the stretch between Navi Mumbai and Mumbai proper. Never did spot the facility itself as promised, 100 meters on. Or was that the place where all the cyborgs were lined up, that most human of all … Continue reading Swipe-N-Wipe?

Fly America, Call the Philippines (pt II)

When your official government itinerary on U.S.-flag contract carrier United Airlines is thrown into disarray because of concerns about flying over Iranian air space... ...and the United agents can't confirm the final leg of your trip (which includes traveling on Air Canada, Germany's Lufthansa, and Air India) for 24 hours... ...so that after two hours on … Continue reading Fly America, Call the Philippines (pt II)

Operation Sheltering Sky

Rajasthan is desert country, 70% of the state---India's largest---an arid mix of scrub and sand. We trekked by camel into the Thar Desert about 50 km outside Jaisalmer. Abdullah led our beasts on foot, their names Simon, Paulos, and---inexplicably---Johnny No. 1. Toward sunset we reached the Sam Dunes. The wind died down and we made … Continue reading Operation Sheltering Sky

Lucky Encounters in Serendib

We greeted the New Year from a treehouse in old Ceylon. We rode the waves at Midigama and Weligama in Southern Serendib. We climbed to Buddha's retreat at Pidurangula and looked out over forests surrounding the ancient ruins of Sigiriya. In Kandy, we spied the room housing the casket that holds the dagobas  wherein rests … Continue reading Lucky Encounters in Serendib

Cricket

Travels around India don’t have to include the Taj Mahal, the Gateway of India, or a dip in the Ganges to be special. Our four-day journey to Karnataka state included stops at Chamundi Hills, the ancestral village for which my father-in-law takes his name—Kuppahalli, and half a click from where we stayed, the Mysore Palace. … Continue reading Cricket

The Sunday Straphanger

We hopped a train at Bandra Junction toward the old Victoria Station, now called Shivaji Terminus, ten stops away. The tidy compartment carried just a handful of passengers scattered about on a few padded benches. Overhead the silver handles shook as the train departed. I offered the window seat to my boys. Turns out it … Continue reading The Sunday Straphanger