Handmade in Pondicherry

I appreciate a well crafted handcraft, but I never choose fanciness over comfort. To me, a plain pair of flip-flops is always better than the leather-bound slippers with meticulous design. I wouldn’t even spare a second glance at the glittery, stone-studded stuff.

Having said that, when I saw these in Pondicherry, I couldn’t help but lose my composure. Not only did they catch my eye, but I almost considered buying a pair of these slippers. Now that’s unusual. Pondicherry is full of little shops like these where specialised cobblers custom-make footwear for customers. They measure the foot size and get it done within an hour. I was impressed by how soon they could deliver, and the fine finish in these footwear. They weren’t too cheap, but not over the top pricey either.

handmade footwear in Pondicherry

Baker’s goodness

The best thing about travelling is travelling. The next best thing is the food. On a trip to Pondicherry, my friend and I stopped at Baker’s Street. As fun as that sounds without context, to add context, Baker’s Street is the name of a local bakery full of French delicacies and goodness. It was one of those mornings after a night of splurging, and the last thing on my mind was more food. However, after looking at the display, I couldn’t resist. I didn’t eat much, but I made up for the lack of eating with an overflow of photographing. I had so many that I decided to put them all together. Well, what can you do when you’re so overwhelmed by sandwiches?

Baker's Street

Connecting cuisines

Nothing brings people together like good food and great conversations. I took this picture when I was out with friends who’ve lived in Korea for a while. While we exchanged stories about our cultures and mused about our distinct social practices, they also introduced me to sushi. It was my first experience with everything sushi—chopsticks, pickled ginger, soy sauce, wasabi (wow!), even rice balled up. Though I grew up in a rice-based household, sushi showed me a side to rice that I hadn’t known before. Not only was the flavour rich but it was also a blend of the familiar with the unfamiliar.

That day, that sushi became the bridge that connected me with the rest of Asia’s delectable cuisine.


Moving on

When we think about change and moving from one place to another, we often think of shifting homes or shifting jobs—or laying off while in between jobs. In any case, moving from one place to another is always difficult. It’s tough to uproot yourself from a home—a place—you’re used to, a place you’re comfortable in, to relocate to a different place altogether.

With these thoughts running through my head, I stood on the edge of a street that overlooked the Rangpo river. Located in the Rangpo town of Sikkim, India, this river forms the border between the two states of Sikkim and West Bengal. The river flows downstream to meet with the Teesta river just past the town. Looking at the pristine river flowing without a ruffle, the water gushing through tiny rock beds, I mused at how effortless it is to cross the river and walk into the next state. Nature has made transitioning easy for us, and yet it’s us humans who’ve become accustomed to world pleasures that tie us to one place. That’s why we find change hard to accept; because we are too attached, and don’t flow as the river does. If only we do, perhaps our lives would be as active as the river.

Rangpo river

Gone too soon

The funny thing about nature is that although it’s everlasting, most of it’s phenomena aren’t. Take the sun, for instance. It rises each morning and sets each evening, and yet no two sunrises or sunsets are the same. Every day, every moment is all new. If that’s not transient what is?

The sun and its momentary reflections.