Posted in Feature Writing, Memoir, Travel Writing

Mornings in Chennai

When Anand is excited he speaks very quickly. His English is about 50% to begin with, and when he gets animated, each word leads into the next with an exotic cadence and I can no longer follow. I have to ask him to slow down and repeat himself before I can finally decipher his words, only to then declare them like mini-epiphanies.

“OH! Motorbike! I’m sorry, I thought you were saying ‘modernite!’”

“I don’t know ‘modernite’ .”

“I don’t either!”

And we laugh, because laughter, apart from tears, is one of the only sounds that transcends language. When we laugh together, it doesn’t really matter why. It matters that we are sharing something with one another. Something that we both understand to be positive, to be safe, to be indulged in collectively, like the juice of a coconut from a shady roadside stand on a blazing afternoon. Continue reading “Mornings in Chennai”

Posted in Travel Tips, Travel Writing

TAMIL NA-DO’S AND DONT’S:

15 Lessons Learned the Hard Way by a Single White Female in Chennai

1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T:

Make a habit of removing your shoes outside every holy site or temple you visit. Some places will insist that women cover their heads or don a bindi, out of respect, depending on the customs of the holy site. Don’t question these rules. You are there to observe and to learn, so be respectful by keeping your voice down and discretely doing as you’re told by your guide or the locals escorting you. Like Islam, Hinduism has “prime-times” for prayer that occur at dawn and dusk. Keep this in mind when planning your visits. Continue reading “TAMIL NA-DO’S AND DONT’S:”