27 August 2015 – Lucky Peach
If you go to Versova Beach in Mumbai at around 8:30 in the morning, you won’t find people sunbathing or surfing or swimming as you might on other urban beaches around the world.
At the shore, you’ll see residents of the hundred-odd huts thrown up along the high-tide line taking their morning constitutionals. Behind you, between the huts and the trees separating the filthy gray-brown Arabian Sea from the swish suburb of Versova, you’ll see bare-chested men and women in damp saris pulling rapidly at a carpet of chia-pet green growing in patches from the sand.
This Lilliputian crop is choti methi, or baby fenugreek. (more…)
31 August 2015 – Travel+Leisure
In a country as large as India, it’s somewhat counter-intuitive to position a weekend itinerary anywhere within it. But even if you can only spare a few days in Delhi, there’s plenty to pack in. Long known as a city of ancient ruins and obsequious bureaucrats, Delhi has, in the last several years, experienced a cultural efflorescence that is nothing short of spectacular.
Affordable spaces and a rich, intellectual heritage have meant a steady influx of artists, musicians, writers, designers, and entrepreneurs—many of them defectors from Mumbai—who have brought new life into this imperial city’s ancient bones. Delhi may not beat out the competition for India’s most beautiful, most navigable, or even most welcoming city—but at this particular moment, it may be its most exciting. (more…)
Lucky Peach – August 2015, The Fantasy Issue
I first heard about the Shidi valley from my friend Max over drinks one evening in my living room in Mumbai. He said it was the most remote place in India. The people who live there still have to carry anything they want from outside into the valley on their backs. Except for the salt, sugar, powdered milk, and oil, people here eat only what they can grow, raise, or hunt in the forest. There’s no phone and no electricity. Despite the promises of the government, and despite the fact that the valley has been part of India since 1961 when the army marched in and planted the tricolor, there is still no road.
Before Shidi even becomes a glimmer, you’ll travel for two days on two flights and two rickety tin-can buses to reach Miao (pronounced “meow”), a charmless frontier town in the tribal hill state of Arunachal Pradesh, which wraps like a mountainous stole around the floodplain of the Brahmaputra River, where China breaths cold and hard down India’s neck. Miao is where the last dusty road in India ends. From here it’s barely forty-five miles southeast to Shidi as the crow flies, and if you have the means and the patience to wait out the intermittent chopper service connecting Miao to the military outpost of Vijaynagar at the far eastern end of the valley, it will only take you another five hours once the helicopter lands to walk down to Shidi.
Read the full essay in the Summer 2015 issue of Lucky Peach: The Fantasy Issue