Never go anywhere without a sketchbook!
My travelogues from travels here and there in India during 2015.
The year began beautifully.
I had applied as a volunteer for The Story of Light, an art and science festival which took place in Goa.
The Story of Light Festival aimed to explore the intersection of science, philosophy, and culture through art and design.
The festival was preceded by a month long artist residency where all the artists, scientists, organisers and volunteers stayed together to conceptualise and create the exhibits. I spent a lovely month in Goa working and playing with the wonderful team.
The residency was dotted with workshops and talks for the entire team. We worked hard and had a lot of fun too!
Chirstmas and New year, was ofcourse, spent at the goan beaches.
Dolphin spotting at Nivti beach, on the Goa-Maharashtra border.
Swam about half a kilometre into the cool blue waters, the farthest I have ever swam in open waters!
My family owns an estate on the Goa- Maharashtra border and I went to see it for the first time!
A lovely jeep ride through the vast expanse.
Rubber, pepper, cashew, mahogany, plantin and lots more to come!
Wintery, numb handed sketches of the Tijara fort palace at Alwar, Rajasthan
I spent two weeks in September in Sikkim. I went hiking with my father to the Goecha la Pass.
 
Day 01 was sheer exhaustion. I was really not prepared the 8 hours and 8-10 kms of a solid uphill struggle from Yuksom to Bakhim.
I huffed and I puffed and I nearly blew a lung out.
We reached Bakhim, campsite for the night after sundown and it was ...umm. well. leech infested.
We heard shouts and screams till the wee hours of the mornings. A lot of leeches were dissected and cut open with little knives that night. Amen.
Day 02 was delightfully short and easy.
Just 3-4 kilometres. We reached in broad daylight, blue skies and swirly clouds.
We spent the evening on a little hill overlooking our campsite, I sat here and prayed for flying yaks to fly me through the coming day’s trek.
Tsoka to Dzongri was really not a struggle. We easily walked for about 10 kms, but it was oh-so-gorgeous,
and I guess our bodies were oriented to the landscape and the hours now.
That night, we woke up at 3 am to hike up to the Dzongri top bundled in all of our layers. We walked in the moonlight. huffed and puffed. sniffled and ignored our runny noses and achy limbs. We were a little trail of torches, climbing up a winding hill.
A streak of orange grading into the fading blue. Stars in the sky.The sun and the moon. The first glimmer of sunlight on the Kanchendzonga.
Ah.
 So, we hiked up and down from Dzongri top back to Dzongri and then headed toward Thansing the same day.
Heart rate solid, oxygen levels good, we started onto the next 10 kms. 
My attempts at capturing this beauty were thwarted by a series of horses.
As I lay, sprawled in the green mountains, lost in my thoughts and my sketchbook,
I failed to notice the alarmingly large number of horses that were approaching.
Only when they were about 4 feet away did I hear their bells and got so startled that I left everything and rannnn.
Result, an authentic hoof stamp on my sketchbook, a crack in my phone’s tempered glass
and possibly some horsy saliva in my camel paints.
Elegant.
Heaven on Earth.
Trekkers starting their day at Thansing.
Lamuney 
I didn’t draw because I was too busy fiddling with the camera and pretty soon the weather went from blue and sunny to misty, foggy and brrrrr.... chilly!
I retreated into the depths of my sleeping bag.
The Goecha La Pass
After 14,000ft, the landscapes were surreal, hues of whites and creams, ochres and browns and greys and blue skies. Clouds swallowing the mountains. Their shadows moving on the vast white grains of stone that crunched under our feet.. I really felt like I was on a different planet.

 
Rushed breakfast sketch over yak cheese and butter.
Recently, I spent 3 weeks in Kochin, Kerala.
I went for my room mate's wedding and also had a nice lazy time exploring the city.
We spent an entire day lounging in a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala.
Sitting on the edge of a huge boat, staring at the land, the skies, the water moving slowly is so calming and therapeutic.
Lazy lunches, infinite ripples, warm sunshine and a cool breeze.
Such an idyllic day.
Everybody who visits Fort Kochi definitely goes to Kashi, a reallllly reallly happy cafe with simple, yum food and
just, a lovely place to chill after a long day in the sun.
Ice teas to chill the soul, rich lasagne to delight the tastebuds and comfort the tummy, Chocolate cake to lose ourselves in :)
Neha's misdirection led us to this gem of a place.
Nestled between the sea, huge ships and huge palms dotted with lovely red lamps, 
we stumbled in Hotel Forthouse and couldn't resist sitting here.
Stood awkwardly, in ready to run position and painted super fast till the very last minute before the skies started pouring :)
The smell of ethers and spices, the rich colour of pigments, the sound of the sea, the cool of the shade, walking strange routes huddled together with rao, while getting soaked in the rain...
I have some happy moments for all my senses stored in my mind and some in my sketchbook.
I lost my heart to this place.
Pepper house, a heart elating space...a small cafe, a design shop, a lovely library full of design books and some gorgeous godowns being used as a space for artist residencies. Nestled in deep greenery and lost in what seems like another time,
I fell in love with dusty rooms, with their crumbly textures and peeling paint.
Large windows overlooking trees and trees, wild grasses, the faint smell of paint and clay,
the joy of knowing that a roomful of beautiful books is waiting patiently to be scoured.
Ah. such mystery and romance in this place.
Last day in Kochi
Read and see all the sketches at

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