Category Archives: TravellerStories

#TravellerStories-07- Of Free House-Boat Stays and Other Tales

This edition of the #TravellerStories features Athmanathan , who once took a one way ticket from Singapore to Nepal to take out 4 months to discover himself. Athma is a Banker who lives in Mumbai.

Why the need for such a series like TravellerStories? We hear so many travel stories, but we’d be able to appreciate the travel stories at a relative level, only when these same questions are put to people at different place, we’d probably have a sense of awe towards how geography and history places a bias on our thinking. So these are nice postcards that you want to quickly rummage through, over an evening snack. Yes, just meant over tea and biscuits.

A) Where are you from and what do you do for a living?

I am from a lot of places! I normally use Y = random (‘Pune’,’Trivandrum’,’Pondicherry’) to answer the question of where I am from. I work in a Bank. I know that seems old school in the world of startups and digital/tech companies. I convince myself to believe that ‘I build forward looking numbers for the most important banking institution in the world, the US FED’

B) What’s the most cliched thing that outsiders say or feel about your city/country?

‘India is curry country’. While I don’t disagree in total, I believe that people should travel once to form their own opinions . I never travel to any country with a bias.

C) What’s that one dish travellers should try out at your city and where?

Any South Indian dish at either ‘Madras Cafe’ or ‘Ram Ashray’ in Matunga in Bombay (Now called Mumbai).

D) Reg exploring places outside your city, which is your favourite place (and why)?

The Canadian Arctic. Solitude like nowhere else in the world (‘world’ refers to my limited understanding of the places where normal travelers can venture into). I have spent 2-3 days without meeting another human being – that has never happened anywhere else on my travels.

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E) Of all your travels on work, which city charmed you the most and why?

Montreal. Beautiful city, Warm hearted French Canadians who enjoy life to the fullest.

F) What is the craziest thing you have ever done while travelling?

Landed in Srinagar at 10PM with no accommodation, no plan and absolutely no research. I was chased by a few travel agents when I got down from the bus. I started walking randomly in some direction. After 15-20 mins, the road got dark. One of the travel agents was persistent – he chased me for almost a km despite my refusals all along. He caught my bluff – I was walking in a direction where there were no hotels. As it turns out, I ended up bunking in a spare bed in his house – a house boat ! I couldnt afford any of his house boat options – so, he just lent me a spare bed in his room. Ashfaq, a nice warm hearted guy, was once of the nicest people I have met in Kashmir.

#TravellerStories-06-Of Bare Hands in Snowfall and Other Stories.

This edition of the #TravellerStories features Pamit Anand , who heads Marketing for an estabilished dot com company, for a living.

Why the need for such a series like TravellerStories? We hear so many travel stories, but we’d be able to appreciate the travel stories at a relative level, only when these same questions are put to people at different place, we’d probably have a sense of awe towards how geography and history places a bias on our thinking. So these are nice postcards that you want to quickly rummage through, over an evening snack. Yes, just meant over tea and biscuits.

A) Where are you from and what do you do for a living?

I’m from Mumbai. and I work in Marketing.

Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh Castle

B) What’s the most cliched thing that outsiders say or feel about your city/country?

  • You are from Mumbai, you must have met Salman Khan
  • You are from India, and yet you speak fluent English

C) What’s that one dish travellers should try out at your city and where?

  • Keema Pav @ Stadium, Churchgate
  • NALLI Nihari @ Noor Mohammadi, Byculla
  • Butter Chicken/Dal Makhani @ SHIMLA DHABA, NH48  ( the place mainly caters to Truckers/Lorry Drivers. But should be checked out if you have the will)

D) Reg exploring places outside your city, which is your favourite place (and why)

  • Alibaug is a nice Beach area.
  • I also like hanging out near Colaba Causeway, Marine Drive and Chowpatty @ Night. Its full of life

E) Of all your travels on work, which city charmed you the most and why?

  • London –> Multiculturalism, Human values, and most importantly – its preservation of history/tradition while retaining modernity

Snowing and Braving it Snowing and Braving it

F) What is the craziest thing you have ever done while travelling.

  • Craziest thing I’ve done while travelling to Europe’s second largest peak was to go there without gloves and jumpers. I actually forgot them in the hotel. Just had 2 layers of clothing on me and the team had to go to Mt. Titlis at the very top. Was lucky not to get away with no frost-bites, thanks to my body-fat (for once)

#TravellerStories-05- Of Emptying the Arabian Sea and other stories

This edition of the #TravellerStories features Mandar Malshe, who builds software for a living for the oil and gas sector and being as gentle as he is, loves Kalariyapattu.

Why the need for such a series like TravellerStories? We hear so many travel stories, but we’d be able to appreciate the travel stories at a relative level, only when these same questions are put to people at different place, we’d probably have a sense of awe towards how geography and history places a bias on our thinking. So these are nice postcards that you want to quickly rummage through, over an evening snack. Yes, just meant over tea and biscuits.

A) Where are you from and what do you do for a living?

I am from the beloved, crowded, beautiful, bustling ‘Aamchi’ Mumbai. However, its been 7 years since I haven’t lived more than a week there; as I have moved around Chennai, Bangalore and now – London. I earn my livelihood working with an IT firm, managing large IT/Infrastructure projects for oil and gas giants

Mandar Malshe

B) What’s the most cliched thing that outsiders say or feel about your city/country?

All of my ‘phoren’ friends and colleagues feel that Indian food means spice! They think we have a template which we apply to all dishes that we prepare, and this is – Onion, Ginger-Garlic paste, Coriander powder, Cumin powder, Turmeric, Curry leaves and of course – Red Chili powder and Green chillies; and voila! – an Indian dish is ready. I have tried many times to steer folks towards a coconut rice or a ‘Puran poli’, but guess the votes have been already cast.

C) What’s that one dish travellers should try out at your city and where?

Since I have lived across multiple cities, I would say :

  • Pav Bhaji @ Sardar, Tardeo, Mumbai
  • Prawns @ Mahesh Lunch home, Juhu, Mumbai
  • A variety of seafood and meat platters @ Bon South, Bangalore
  • And of course – Vada pav and Misal – Anywhere in Mumbai !

D) Reg exploring places outside your city, which is your favourite place (and why)

I love to visit Kerala, whether it is Waynad, Munnar or any other place. It’s always a treat to enjoy the local cuisine and the lazy afternoon rains. This time, on my visit to Munnar, I enjoyed some cultural shows such as Kathakali and the oldest Martial arts form – Kalaripayattu

E) Of all your travels on work, which city charmed you the most and why?

I loved the small, but neat and elegant setting of Singapore. Its hard to fathom that the entire country is just around 700 sq kms! Due to unavailability of land, they have come up with ingenious ways to save space. Despite this constraint, it’s a paradise for tourists who wish to experience the grandeur of Universal studios, Underwater aquarium and Tussad’s museum, without spending the big bucks to travel to the US or the UK. Crime is very low – in fact I didn’t see a single policeman on my travel (except at the airport of course!); and barring 1-2 sections of the city, its spotless clean!

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F) What is the craziest thing you have ever done while travelling?

This is actually with a fellow college-mate– We had decided on a roadtrip over a weekend; but hadn’t decided where we would want to go. We just packed an overnight bag, got in the car and put in the GPS – ‘Places 200 kms from Bangalore’. We zeroed in on Sakleshpur, a nice hilly region near Hassan. We enjoyed the local cuisine and the next day decided – We want to go to a beach! On we drove towards Mangalore and directly landed on Ullal beach; but not before we emptied the Arabian sea of all the seafood it can produce

#TravellerStories-04-Of Binge Drinking and Missed Flights!

This edition of the #TravellerStories features Rohit Das, who teaches students on how to binge drink and miss flights. NO- I was joking! He is into discovering new ventures for his employer in the corporate world, and is a passionate traveller who documents scenery on his camera. Do hop over to his Facebook feed to see some sublime shots.

Why the need for such a series like TravellerStories? We hear so many travel stories, but we’d be able to appreciate the travel stories at a relative level, only when these same questions are put to people at different place, we’d probably have a sense of awe towards how geography and history places a bias on our thinking. So these are nice postcards that you want to quickly rummage through, over an evening snack. Yes, just meant over tea and biscuits.

A) Where are you from and what do you do for a living?

This is a question that has confused me at many levels for a long time! And here’s why. I am a Bengali who was born in Chennai (with strong roots there) and brought up in Delhi. Growing up, these three axially different elements made for an interesting concoction. The confusion put aside, I was very clear from an early stage that I wanted to get into the corporate world and focus on building new things. I am fortunate to be doing what I like for a living. I currently am the New Ventures Discovery Leader of a large multinational with presence in 120+ countries.  

B) What’s the most cliched thing that outsiders say or feel about your city/country?

Delhi is my home town. It is interesting to note that whenever outsiders refer to Delhi, they have one of two distinct views depending on what part of the world you’re in. The South Americans, for example, think of Delhi being a really hip and chic place with a splash of the more traditional India thrown in. The second, which is probably a wider view, considers Delhi to be a mix of fast moving madness where the rich and poor seamlessly coexist.

C) What’s that one dish travellers should try out at your city and where?

If you are a non vegetarian, then you have the try the ‘Mutton Korma‘ at Karim’s in Jama Masjid or the ‘Kosha Mangsho’ at the West Bengal stall in Dilli Haat. For vegetarians, my recommendation would be to try the ‘Chole Bhature’ at Evergreen restaurant in Green Park.

D) Reg exploring places outside your city, which is your favourite place (and why)?

There is a small pub in central London called Ye Olde Mitre that I absolutely love. I try to visit that place every time I am there. It is 400+ years old and still has a very traditional English charm to it. Their stout beer on tap is to die for. 

Ye Old Mitre Pub in London. Rohit Das is 2nd from right and 3rd from Left.
Ye Old Mitre Pub in London. Rohit Das is 2nd from right and 3rd from Left.

E) Of all your travels on work, which city charmed you the most and why?

My absolute favorite place in the world is a place just outside of Reykjavik in Iceland called Hafnarfjordur. It’s a small town of about 25,000 people but still one of the top three populated cities of that country! The place is really out of the world! I was so taken aback by the beauty of that place and its breathtaking landscapes that I decided to buy a serious camera after that.

Reykjavik by Rohit Das
Reykjavik by Rohit Das

F) What is the craziest thing you have ever done while travelling? 

Have an insane and totally out of control beer drinking competition with a bunch of Aussie rugby players, land up in a hospital ER and then miss my flight back home the following morning!

#TravellerStories-03-Of Happy Pizzas and Other Stories!

Let’s meet Nikhilesh Murthy who is third on this series called  #TravellerStories. He’s a traveller from Bangalore in India  who blogs at about lifestyle and culture in various places. He is a marketer for an IT company in Bangalore. In this episode, we throw a few questions at him and find out what he likes and doesn’t.

Why the need for such a series like TravellerStories? We hear so many travel stories, but we’d be able to appreciate the travel stories at a relative level, only when these same questions are put to people at different place, we’d probably have a sense of awe towards how geography and history places a bias on our thinking. So these are nice postcards that you want to quickly rummage through, over an evening snack. Yes, just meant over tea and biscuits.

Nikhilesh Murthy saying Cheers!
Nikhilesh Murthy saying Cheers!

A) Where are you from and what do you do for a living?

For all practical purposes, I am a “Bangalorean”. While my roots are in Tanjore in Tamil Nadu, I only go there once a year to visit the family deity. I work in the marketing department of an IT company and am responsible for one of their technology functions. When I’m not doing that, I’m busy attending music shows or trying out new food at places across the city. I make it a point to take a few weeks off every six months and go travelling, some times on my own, sometimes thanks to work.

B) What’s the most cliched thing that outsiders say or feel about your city/country?

Most folks I’ve met are always surprised as to how I can speak English so clearly (and many times better than them). They also get surprised when I talk about world politics, western music, etc and don’t know too much about fixing computers. Many folks also get a bit shocked when I talk about bands like Led Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Black Keys  and musicians like Miles Davis or Jack White because their assumption is that we all listen only to “Indian music”, which is either Punjabi music ( an opinion of folks from the UK and Canada) or Bollywood music. I also enjoy living in hostels and travelling solo. So many of the local folk find it odd that I’m not sticking to the general impression they have that Indians (like the Chinese) travel in large groups and are quite loud. I wouldn’t completely blame them for that stereotype.

C) What’s that one dish travellers should try out at your city and where?

I always encourage folks to try out the famous masala dosa in Bengaluru. I’ve taken a handful of foreign friends to the Airlines Hotel ( but CTR in Malleswaram is the best). And they love that along with the vada. They find “the savoury peppery donut” quite fascinating.

D) Reg exploring places outside your city, which is your favourite place (and why) ?

I don’t think there is a single place as such that comes to mind. So many options – Mysore, Mangalore, Coorg, Chikmaglur just to name a few. Each of these are very different from the urban jungle of Bengaluru. Less traffic, more polite folks, a lot of nature to discover. And not to forget, great food. Just try the pandi curry (pork curry) in the average Coorg household or the ghee roast in a Mangalorean house to know what an array of flavours we have to offer.

E) Of all your travels on work, which city charmed you the most and why?

I was in love with New York for the longest time, but a trip to New Orleans changed all that. The culture and vibe of the city is very unlike any other US city I’ve been to. There’s jazz and blues at every corner; come night time, the bands play on the streets and people dance away. Not to forget the cajun styled food which offers familiar Indian flavours yet is completely different. The architecture of the old French and Spanish styled streets make for beautiful pictures. I was fortunate to be in the city during the French Quarter music festival. It was an experience like no other and is now the benchmark for what a music festival should be.

F) What is the craziest thing you have ever done while travelling? 

Most of these stories are best shared over a cold brew. To name one,  I would have to say that during my recent trip to Cambodia, eating a pizza topped with some unmentionable organic elements, which led to some embarrassing situations once the good stuff kicked in, was not one of the brightest ideas I’ve had.

Nikhilesh Murthy in Cambodia, trying to cover a sunrise at Angkor VatNikhilesh Murthy in Cambodia, trying to cover a sunrise at Angkor Vat

If you would like to be featured and tell your stories that may be of interest to the traveller community, do write in to us at Kartik@katchutravels.com

#TravellerStories-02- Off Missed Sunrises and Other Stories!

Let’s meet Arnav Mathur who is second on this series called  #TravellerStories. He’s a traveller from New Delhi (who is passionate about going green and sustainability) who blogs at Eat,Travel,Live and Repeat. He works as aSocial Media Coordinator and Content Writer at JustWravel Pvt Ltd. In this episode, we throw a few questions at him and find out what he likes and doesn’t. Since this is an experiment, feel free to comment and help us out with interesting questions for the next set of travellers to be featured.

Arnav Mathur

 

Why the need for such a series like TravellerStoriesXX? We hear so many travel stories, but we’d be able to appreciate the travel stories at a relative level, only when these same questions are put to people at different place, we’d probably have a sense of awe towards how geography and history places a bias on our thinking. So these are nice postcards that you want to quickly rummage through, over an evening snack. Yes, just meant over tea and biscuits.

A) Where are you from and what do you do for a living?

I am from Delhi but have spent all my life in different towns of India as my father is in the army.I have stayed in places like Wellington and MHOW which are like alien cities to people living in metro cities. I am a Civil Engineer by profession passionate about Green Buildings and Sustainability. I have been freelancing for a travel company and travel blogging and am enjoying every bit of it.

B) What’s the most cliched thing that outsiders say or feel about your city/country?

Indian food is spicy and unhealthy.

Well not all Indian food items are spicy and unhealthy, their is a healthier less fat, sugarless option for all sweets available these days.Of course, some Indian food is spicy, but we never cook too spicy items at home and usually ask for a medium spicy alternative of a dish while ordering in restaurants. The street food of India is hygenic if taken from a decent looking populated vendor.

C) What’s that one dish travellers should try out at your city and where?

It would definitely have to be the Tandoori Momos and the Vodka Momos. I heard their names for the first time in my life when I moved to Delhi a year back, and have become a momo addict ever since.Tandoori Momos are available in Hunger Strike, Amar Colony and the Vodka Momos in Queens Boulevard, Amar Colony.Read more here

D) Reg exploring places outside your city, which is your favourite place (and why) and send us a photo with you in it

My favorite city till now would have to be McLoedganj, Himachal Pradesh without any doubt. It was my first trip after relocating to Delhi, India and it spearheaded the urge to travel and explore. It was the perfect catalyst for my Wanderlust. It was a weekend trip after 3 months of hectic job so all we did inMcLoedganj was Eat, Sleep, Relax and Repeat. The place is so welcoming to travelers with so many cafes offering cuisines from around the world and free wifi in all the cafes. I had my life’s best Pizza till now in Carpediem, McLoedganj, so yeah!  McLoedganj is my favorite place till now and will always hold a special place in my heart.

E) What is the craziest thing you have ever done while travelling?

During my trek to Chandrashila Summit in May 2016, it was made clear by our Team Leader the importance of time hence we started early morning at 3 AM for the final summit trek.After walking for nearly 2 hours we reached a spot, where we were told our destination was not that far.While others were still to resume the walking, I took some giant steps and took a good 500 m lead which eventually led to a 1 km lead.When I reached Tunganath Temple, I was crazy enough to halt for 20 min for no rhyme and reason.As a result I reached the summit at sharp 6 AM but missed the sunrise by a mere 15 min. That’s when I realized the importance of time on the hills.I definitely should have been crazier to not take a halt at all and instead just kept moving forward.

Arnav Mathur missing his sunrise
Arnav Mathur missing his sunrise

 

 

If you would like to be featured and tell your stories that may be of interest to the traveller community, do write in to us at Kartik@katchutravels.com

#TravellerStories-01- Of Camping at Wimbledon and Other Stories

Let’s meet Verushka Ramasami who inaugurates this series called #TravellerStoriesXX. She’s a traveller from Durban (which she thinks is the best place in South Africa) who blogs at SpiceGoddess. She works as a Travel and Tourism lecturer and is a lifestyle blogger when the sun sets over Kwazulu Natal. In this episode, we throw a few questions at her and find out what she likes and doesn’t. Since this is an experiment, feel free to comment and help us out with interesting questions.

Verushka Ramasami
Verushka Ramasami

 

Why the need for such a series like TravellerStoriesXX? We hear so many travel stories, but we’d be able to appreciate the travel stories at a relative level, only when these same questions are put to people at different place, we’d probably have a sense of awe towards how geography and history places a bias on our thinking. So these are nice postcards that you want to quickly rummage through, over an evening snack. Yes, just meant over tea and biscuits.

 

 

 

 

A) Where are you from and what do you do for a living?

I am from Durban ,South Africa. By day I am a Travel and Tourism Lecturer and by night a Lifestyle Blogger. My blog has a focus on Food , Travel and Culture.

B) What’s the most cliched thing that outsiders say or feel about your city/country?

” Do you live in a treehouse ?”
” Do you speak African ?”
” Do you have a Lion as a pet ?”

C) What’s that one dish travellers should try out at your city and where?

Definitely a Bunny Chow ! No there are no bunnies harmed in the making of this dish. The dish is a quarter loaf of unsliced bread that is hollowed out and filled with either a vegetable or meat curry. It is eaten by hand so no cutlery. The dish originated from the indentured Indian laborers who came to work on the sugar cane fields in South Africa and use this as a way to transport their food to work.

D) Reg exploring places outside your city, which is your favourite place (and why) and send us a photo with you in it

I love travelling and have travelled to some pretty amazing places around the world. For 2016 my favourite place is Kerala , which was my first trip to India.

E) What is the craziest thing you have ever done while travelling?

I think every trip has a crazy adventure. But one that sticks out is while I was in London and we camped on the road for tickets to Wimbledon. It was worth it though as we got centre court tickets.

If you would like to be featured and tell your stories that may be of interest to the traveller community, do write in to us at Kartik@katchutravels.com