Antarctic Adventure: Sir Ernest Shackleton and the ‘Endurance’ Expedition (1914 – 1916)

A few days ago I finished reading Alfred Lansing’s ‘Endurance’, a book that retells the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic from 1914 – 1916 on the eponymous ship. Their initial goal was to cross the entire continent starting from Vahsel Bay in Coats Land and finishing at a base established at McMurdo Sound. However, when the Endurance got stuck and eventually crushed by large packs of ice in the Weddell Sea, their goal quickly became something more primal – to simply survive. Continue reading “Antarctic Adventure: Sir Ernest Shackleton and the ‘Endurance’ Expedition (1914 – 1916)”

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Early Morning At The Tiger Cave Temple

It was still dark on the temple grounds, as I drove through the arched gate and onto the parking space. Only the faint outlines of the sunrise could be seen on the distant horizon. It was 5:50 in the morning and I arrived alone at the Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Sua) near Krabi Town. The initial idea was to go there with my friend Andy, but troubles at his K-Bunk Hostel that involved two irresponsibly drunk and aggressive guests of his, the police, and a terribly long night prevented him from joining me. As I was leaving my guest house, he was going home and to bed. Continue reading “Early Morning At The Tiger Cave Temple”

Indiana Jones and The Foundation of My Youth

I cannot recall a chapter or moment in my life, in which art has not been a vital part. Ever since I read the first Lord of the Rings book, watched Aladdin in theaters, and played The Legend of Zelda on my Gameboy for the first time, it continues to play a tremendous role in my life. So much so that I’m hesitant to trivialize these mediums as simple escapist fantasies. Without a doubt, that’s what they can be, a refuge or safe haven for people like me who sometimes struggle to find their place in this mad, mad world.
However, some of the books I’ve read, movies I’ve watched, and games I’ve played go beyond this label. They have helped me cope with the bad times as well as given me the strength and confidence to do what I felt was necessary to lead the life of my choice. Continue reading “Indiana Jones and The Foundation of My Youth”

The Lost Magic of Childhood [Poem]

I may have lost some of my magic.
The wild imagination of a child,
the curiosity and creativity
of someone with bright, open eyes.
A time of innocence and naiveté,
of optimism and heroism,
of fellowships and houses.
Much of it lost on the path towards adulthood. Continue reading “The Lost Magic of Childhood [Poem]”

Ao Nang – Why Do I Keep Coming Back?

What is it about this place that makes me return again and again and again? One could easily explain my decision by stating the usual reasons such as beaches, mountains, jungles, a fascinating culture and history, a delicious cuisine and so forth. Those are the things that appear on every “must-see” and “to-do” list. However to me, that merely covers the reasons why one should come here, but it doesn’t answer the question of why one should stay here. Thailand is not the only country that ticks off all the items on this list; there are plenty of others with perhaps even more pristine beaches or higher mountains. So, what is it then? Continue reading “Ao Nang – Why Do I Keep Coming Back?”

My New Life As An Explorer: A Declaration

I had the most profound revelation during a long train ride from Goa up to Mumbai. It was late in the evening and all six berths in our section – three on each side – were already folded out and occupied by tired passengers. I, however, could not sleep as I was lying in the bottom bunk with my flashlight still on and the pages of Charles Allen’s book ‘A Mountain in Tibet’ still open. It’s a book that chronicles the exploration of the revered Mount Kailas and the discovery of the sources of the four great rivers – the Indus, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, and the Sutlej. Every person depicted in this book had their own reasons for venturing into these uncharted and dangerous areas. It was either for the sake of spiritual enlightenment, geographical exploration, and discovery or for more selfish reasons such as fame, admiration, and recognition. Whatever it was, in the end, they all had one thing in common: they possessed the heart of an explorer. And on that fateful train ride to Mumbai, I realized that I, too, was in possession of it. Clear as day, then and there it dawned on me just as sudden, that I now had a purpose. Continue reading “My New Life As An Explorer: A Declaration”

Tales from Nepal #1: The Prayers of Kathmandu and The Veiled Mountains in the Distance

Prayer flags, much like humans, are not meant to remain still. They need to fly and flutter freely through the air and space spreading peace, compassion, and goodwill as the wind lets them dance in every direction and the colors – red, white, green, blue, yellow – fade in the sunlight. From pole to pole, house to house, the ground to the top of a stupa, I would go so far as to say that no other country is more closely associated with flags than Nepal. Continue reading “Tales from Nepal #1: The Prayers of Kathmandu and The Veiled Mountains in the Distance”