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Shashi Tharoor's 'An Era of Darkness' Illustrates the Rapacity of the British Raj in India

It was August 15, 2016, I was having lunch with someone. Gazing at the news on the television screen behind me, she asked, "It's India's Independence Day today! Independence from whom?" Independence from the British, I answered, shocked. Shocked, because this someone in question was British and she had not a clue about the crimes of her country's colonial past.  Like millions of Indians and non-Indians, I was left aghast and despondent when I heard the viral Shashi Tharoor Oxford Union debate (if you haven't seen it yet, you've been living under a HUGE rock, and I suggest you watch it before you proceed to read the remainder of this blog). Tharoor in all his articulate and intellectual glory spoke in motion for Britain owing reparations to her former colonies. Tharoor's well-researched facts on the brutality of British rule in India for over two centuries left me astounded, and a sense of shame dawned on me - I knew so little about my country's p…
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Just Me Traveling with Myself

"Solo travel is overrated" I once said, even tweeted No, I was never a fan Until one day, I landed in Italy Alone, no friend, no man
So what if travel plans with friends get derailed Do you mope over why they failed? Or consider the travel opportunity too good to pass by... You pick up your bags, and solitary, you fly
What was the charm in spending the holidays at home alone? None, so I landed in Rome alone Around Italy, I lost and found my way Relying on myself, exploring night and day
Traveling alone turned out to be sacred The self-absorbed conveniences I found new, alluring No, there was none of that cinematic soul-searching Just one lifetime experience worth cherishing
Here's from me to you...beat the blues the isolation may bring Embrace the 'you', take her under your wing This travel was no romantic quest for self-discovery It was just me enjoying my own company!
-------- I am thrilled to share this is the 100th post on my blog...what a journey it's been!

Tips You'll Need If You're Planning A Trip To Italy

No matter how much prior research you do before you venture out on your trip, there are always things you learn on the road. I just got back from Italy and I couldn't wait to pen down some real handy tips that you could make use of while planning your trip to this gorgeous country (you're welcome!). There's nothing like hearing about someone else's experience first hand traveling around a city and take back those tips to plan yours. And my hope is that these tips will make your journey planning and experience a tad smoother. 
Easy commute Trains are such an easy way to commute between different cities in Italy. The cities are very well connected and the routes easy to figure out. The good news is you don't have to wait in long queues at the train station to buy your ticket; simply visit Trainline.eu and book your seat online. Also note, you don't need to print your train ticket; simply show it on your phone and the QR code will be scanned. Within cities, buses …

5 Reasons to Travel to Georgia

Tell someone you're going to Georgia, and chances are they're thinking of the south-eastern U.S. state with its coastal plains. Well, that's not where I went. I visited the Eastern European country Georgia; a country that waits patiently for the world to take notice of it. And it sits a mere three hours away by a direct flight from Dubai. I round up some reasons you too should put this on your getaway list. 
1. Mountains and Monasteries Georgia is blessed with astounding mountain scenery. The Lesser Caucus mountain ranges span across Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Mount Kazbegi is one of the highest peaks of the ranges. The drive cutting through towering lush green, snow-capped mountains are memorable. There is never a dull moment when you have fields with hues of green and yellow that go as far as your eyes can see, dotted with patches of tiny yellow and red flowers - makes you want to run singing 'the hills are alive with the sound of music...'  Nature lovers oft…

Uncovering Denmark's Reasons for Happiness from 'The Year of Living Danishly'

Who knew I'd learn about the Danes while vacationing in Zanzibar! I chanced upon the book 'The Year of Living Danishly' while scanning through the bookshelf at the resort during my African vacation. I traded my unread Paulo Coehlo 'The Winner Stands Alone' (no regrets there) for this book with its attractive blue color. Cover aside, I was curious to know what makes Denmark the world's happiest country. Scandinavian countries have always harbored my wanderlust-heavy fancy and this book held insights into what made one of these countries known for its happiness levels and living standards. 
What's the deal with this book anyway?  'The Year of Living Danishly' is written by Helen Russell who used to write for Marie Clare UK, a job that was adding to the conundrum of her rat-race infused meaningless London life. A job offer from Lego for her husband signaled a move to Billund in Denmark, spiraling Helen into a Danish expedition, an exciting yet nerve-wr…

Zanzibar: 10 Tips to Help You Plan Your Trip

Contemplating a short trip somewhere? Might I recommend Zanzibar, an island with crystal clear blue beaches, a town which is a UNESCO heritage site, people with a heart of gold and nature in abundance. I was so impressed with the hospitality I received from the local island folk as well as their rich history and culture, that yours truly wrote a poem about my experience - read it here. So assuming that you've read my poem which would (hopefully) have enticed you to add Zanzibar to your travel bucket list, you may proceed to read the below tips that can help you plan and prepare for your the trip to this paradise island...
VISA  The visa information or the lack of it online can leave you confused, so you can thank me for this firsthand information. If you're an Indian national, you will require a visa (no surprise). There's a $50 fee for visa on arrival that you can pay via your debit/credit card once you disembark the flight at the Zanzibar International Airport. Be nice to …

The Soul of Zanzibar

A 20,000 year old home to humans The Persians, Arabs and Indians Ah 'karibu' to Zanzibar The Africa you've only heard of from afar
The Arabs of Oman the locals liked Imperial Europeans the brave-hearts despised A history of slave trade surmised Pride in Masa'ai culture has since survived
Here flourishes the sacred Jozani forest Where green mambas, antelopes and red monkeys rest 'Hakuna matata' sings our guide He regales us with tales of mangroves as we ride
On a boat over choppy waters to Prison Island Sold to a British Lord by an Omani Sultan Never as a prison, but used as a quarantine The turquoise sea views from here are mighty pristine
Adorning Stone Town are carved Indian doors Coral walls, Arabesque interiors - all treasure troves The markets aromatic with peppers and cloves Just where once were auctioned slaves in droves
Birthplace of Freddie, Queen's front man Strange few locals know of his jam Africa, the keeper of Dr. Livingstone's heart It was here, in abolishing s…

5 Podcasts You Must Listen To

I first began listening to podcasts in late 2015 and I must say I was rather late to join the club. There's a whole world of unique and interesting content there that is available to consume. From a marketing perspective, podcasts are becoming attractive platforms - brands are either choosing to sponsor podcasts and advertise on them, or then are launching podcasts as a natural extension of their value proposition. 
Have you jumped in on the podcast wagon yet? Or would you rather Netflix and chill? Then let me try changing your mind. Podcasts are a great way to expand your mind, broaden your knowledge or seek inspiration. Podcasts have rekindled an age-old love for listening to stories in a medium relevant to today's generation. You can listen on the go, while exercising, commuting, working and before bedtime. Here are my recommendations just perfect to set you off on your podcast journey. 
1. SERIAL This was the show that began my addiction to podcasts. I never expected to be so…