Month: July 2014

Why You Should Live Here: Bombay

July 2014 – Unmapped

That I love Bombay as unreservedly as I do is a fact that’s often met with some combination of incredulity, disbelief and bemused condescension, particularly by people born and raised here.

One close friend has warned me not to “get stuck in India.” The wife of an extremely wealthy developer and self-proclaimed “proud Indian” (emphasis very much hers) once told me that, if asked to come up with a list of great things about Bombay, she would have trouble naming even ten. New acquaintances from Bombay, when they find out that I’ve been here voluntarily for the last 30-odd months and that I have no intention of leaving any time soon, will often introduce me to the next person entering the conversation (especially, for some reason, when that other person is old), by saying ‘This is Michael. He really loves Bombay!’ as though explaining that I have an extra appendage or a deep academic interest in higher math. One friend and colleague, a well-known chronicler of the city, responded, when I told him (maybe a touch too effusively?) that I really like it here, with the simple question: “Why?”

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An Elegant New Boutique in French Colonial Pondicherry

23 July 2014 – T Magazine

India’s sliver of the Francophonie occupies a grid of tree-lined boulevards just south of city of Chennai along the Coromandel Coast, facing east toward the Bay of Bengal. Streets bear names like Rue de la Compagnie and Rue Labourdonnais. Buildings in the White Town (also called the French Quarter) are still graced with long verandahs and elegant compound walls, a genteel French-colonial vision straight out of Indochina, inflected with the pastel calm of India’s palm-fringed south. Since 2006 the town has officially been known as Puducherry, but most people here and across India still call it by its original name, Pondicherry, or its loving diminutive, Pondy. (more…)