Nostalgia in a Glass of Boza

A slightly modified version of this article originally appeared in The Hindu Sunday Magazine, which can be viewed here.

The setting sun casts a golden glow over the otherwise nondescript street in the residential neighbourhood of Vefa, Istanbul. Not far from Sultanahmet, which is famous for its numerous historic attractions including the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, Vefa is quieter and calmer, but its weary streets are steeped in a different kind of history. During Ottoman times, this quarter was home to scholars and aristocrats, and it remains the home of a 142-year old boza shop, Vefa Bozacısı. Continue reading “Nostalgia in a Glass of Boza”

Visiting the Galleria Borghese on a ‘Free Sunday’

(2019 Update: This scheme was brought to an end last year, but has been reinstated this year by the newly formed government.)

I was out the door by 8 o’clock, so I could be at the Galleria Borghese when it opened its doors in exactly an hour. It was the first Sunday of the month; I hoped to beat the crowd and spend all day taking in the works at one of Rome’s finest art galleries.

Clearly I hadn’t done my research, because little did I know:

a. You need a reservation in order to enter the museum in the first place.

b. The Galleria Borghese is relatively small when compared with the likes of the Prado, Louvre or Uffizi Gallery, and doesn’t actually require all day to soak in every inch of the two-floor space. Continue reading “Visiting the Galleria Borghese on a ‘Free Sunday’”

When in Rome

I’m nearing the end of my time in Rome, where I’ve been living and working on various projects for the past month.

Two months of continuous travelling and eleven cities later, I came to the realization that I needed to stay put in one spot for a little while if I were to get any real work done. And what better place than Rome to halt for inspiration? Continue reading “When in Rome”

Strawberries from Palestine

This article was originally published on The Hindu thREAD.

I shuffle through the songs on my playlist restlessly while the bus remains firmly lodged in traffic. I was supposed to meet Zahra at 11 a.m., and I’m already half an hour late. Zahra sounds calm as she replies to my apologetic text, assuring me that she understands and would wait for me. Continue reading “Strawberries from Palestine”

The Balkans, Mashrou’ Leila & Being on the Road

I have finally bid goodbye to Münster, the quiet little German city that everybody constantly raved about but I just couldn’t warm up to. Since the start of April, I’ve been travelling across the Balkans, soaking in the diverse culture, cuisine, hospitality and unpretentiousness of the region. I’ve finally checked Sarajevo off my bucket list and discovered several other interesting places in the process: Tuzla & Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Split (Croatia), Skopje & Ohrid (Macedonia), Prishtina (Kosovo) and Tirana (Albania).

Continue reading “The Balkans, Mashrou’ Leila & Being on the Road”