Posted in Prose, Travel Writing

Unconventional Types of Loneliness: A List

You know that adage about how Inuits have 47 different words for ‘snow?’ I think about that sometimes when I come across a feeling that can’t be explained, or one that doesn’t seem to fit into an appropriate category. Maybe we just don’t have a word for it in my mother tongue. Or maybe the closest word just falls short? Such is the case with loneliness. Wouldn’t you agree?

It’s such an intricate feeling, it can encompass so many different experiences. Loneliness isn’t always a sad feeling, and it isn’t even always experienced in solitude. It’s possible to be lonely in the middle of a room full of people, or on the happiest day of your life. It transcends.

A few months ago I came across a post from Mari Andrew, one of my favorite writers on Instagram, where she outlines different types of loneliness (I’ve included her greatness at the bottom of this post). I loved it, like I do with most of her stuff. But one type of loneliness that she included just hit me right in the gut: “Loneliness of needing to verbally process with someone who is trapped in another time zone.” This! This.

Continue reading “Unconventional Types of Loneliness: A List”
Posted in Prose, Strangers, Travel Writing

Postcard from Dubai

Western feminist, American liberal
The weekend of Trump’s Inauguration

Violent stomach bug
and angry eyebrows

Wandering the streets of Dubai in her pajamas
Desperately seeking electrolytes and maternal warmth
A man in grey stops to leer, walks up to her Continue reading “Postcard from Dubai”

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:”