Visual Diary: Once Upon an Afternoon in Sofia

“To me it is the melancholic beauty, abandon, and loneliness of Sofia’s backyards, with the narrow, often dilapidated balconies hanging above. And the trees, the lindens above all. In early summer there are whole streets lined with them, and the smell of linden blossom can make your head spin. Then, there is also Mount Vitosha, with parts of the city creeping up its slopes. Of course, a mountain can hardly go unnoticed, but I remember that as a child I used to believe that every city had a mountain, so natural it seemed to have one so close.”

— Bulgarian writer Elena Alexieva, when asked to name an extraordinary detail about Sofia

Continue reading “Visual Diary: Once Upon an Afternoon in Sofia”

Visual Diary: Visiting the Markets in Split, Croatia

Every morning, from 6.30 am, the old quarter in the Croatian city of Split is abuzz with activity. In an age where supermarkets dot nearly every street corner and stock everything from food to toiletries and cleaning supplies, it’s refreshing to see that Split’s morning markets offering fresh produce and fish remain popular among locals. The markets are located in the heart of the city, round the corner from Diocletian’s Palace.

I spent some time in Split during my travels across the Balkans last summer. At the vibrant Green Market (Pazar), vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as an assortment of other products–nuts, cheeses and eggs, flowers, clothes, inexpensive souvenirs–and call out to passersby to slow down and take a look. Continue reading “Visual Diary: Visiting the Markets in Split, Croatia”

Visual Diary: Dusty Delhi Days

Back in September, I moved to New Delhi. Over these past six months, the weather has gone from sweltering to frigid to—presently—clear skies and a gentle breeze. And with that, the air quality has dramatically improved (in Delhi, that means it’s no longer hazardous like in the winter months, just plain unhealthy). My own feelings towards the city have oscillated between fascination and exasperation—in addition to the absence of fresh air, there’s the relentless honking, the inexplicably high prices, the general brusqueness—and yet, it’s been good to be here. Delhi is steeped in history, and the chaos fuels my writing somehow. Continue reading “Visual Diary: Dusty Delhi Days”

Visual Diary: A Winter’s Night on Shimla’s Mall Road

Earlier this month, I ran for the hills – quite literally – fleeing Delhi (and its toxic Diwali smog) for Shimla. The crisp winter air was invigorating as I walked along Mall Road and the Ridge, taking in the surroundings. People gathered outside popular local eateries, busied themselves with shopping, gazed at watercolour paintings displayed at the Gaiety and enjoyed late-night strolls around Christ Church. Continue reading “Visual Diary: A Winter’s Night on Shimla’s Mall Road”