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  • A culinary journey through Chettinad and Kerala

    A story of two women who hate to travel, but journey 1300 kilometres over 8 days, holding strong only by a shared love of food.

    Yahoo Editor Anisha Oommen and photographer Saina Jayapal travel through Chettinad, Madurai, Thekkady and Cochin in South India, on a culinary tour hosted by Easy Tours of India, a travel company that designs custom tours of India. Follow the story of two women who hate to travel, but journey 1300 kilometres over 8 days together, holding strong only by a shared love of food.

    Traditional spice box from a Chettiar kitchenTraditional spice box from a Chettiar kitchen

    Auspicious Beginnings

    All travels must begin with prayer, like your grandmother insisted. We paid obeisance to the Food Gods with a bucket of button idlis soaked in pumpkin sambar. A steaming hot meal at 5 am, with a spicy portion of carbs and veggies (pumpkins count as veggies) has the added benefit of being healthy to boot. If you’re flying through the Bangalore airport, definitely make a pit stop at Malgudi for a dish that most of South India considers holy.


    Button idlis in a bucket at MalgudiButton idlis in a bucket at Malgudi

    In the home of the Chettiars
    Eight hours later, we were welcomed into an old Chettiyar mansion with a glass of restorative nannari sarbath. Made from the

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  • Feeling in love? Go hug a tree

    This Valentine's Day I'm going to say 'I love you' to a tree. Marry us off, Hindu Mahasabha. My wife won't mind

    The Hindu Mahasabha’s publicity stunts notwithstanding, we take the phrase ‘love is all around’ too lightly, Valentine's Day or no Valentine's Day. Look around, you’ll see that the greatest dispensers of unrequited love are trees. Their sagacious shade, their poetry-inspiring beauty, their bounty of fruit and, most of all, their silent catalysis of love. Where would that old Bollywood chestnut of running around trees be if not for… trees?

    A glimpse of the festivities from NERALU 2014. Photo: Bhargav ShandilyaA glimpse of the festivities from NERALU 2014. Photo: Bhargav Shandilya

    Last year the city of Bangalore, which has over the decades been making a mockery of its sobriquet of Garden City, revisited its sylvan heritage with a festival to celebrate trees. NERALU — Kannada for ‘shade’ or ’shadow’ — was held over a February weekend at Bal Bhavan in Bangalore’s Cubbon Park and other venues and drew an enthusiastic crowd of adults and children alike. This year, the festival has expanded its canvas to encompass a diverse array of subjects.

    ALSO READ

    Bound by a common love for trees, naturalists, ecologists,

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  • By

    Photo: Ballerini Cooley Studios/IMDB

    Everybody’s favorite ’90s sitcom Friends is back, thanks to Netflix, and so are two of its most memorable stars: the adorable twins — yes, twins — who played baby Emma.


    "Emma" on set in 2003. Photo: Facebook/Emma Geller Green

    Photos of Noelle and Cali Sheldon were first posted to Reddit on Monday and show the now 13-year-old sisters as cute as they were in 2003. And the girls – who shared the role of newborn daughter to Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel Green and David Schwimmer’s Ross (a la Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as Michelle Tanner on Full House) for five episodes – are still acting.

    STORY: Should Jennifer Aniston Be Called Selfish for Not Having Kids?

    MTV News confirmed that the tweens have a manager and recent gigs on their resumes. Both girls acted in the 2012 short Agorable and Noelle appeared in the 2013 short flick Maxwell. Seems fitting then, that we joke about the girls’ renewed fame in true Friends style: ‘The One Where We

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  • Balancing Act: Mother or wife?

    34-year-old Rajiv Shekhar (name changed) had been contemplating suicide for two months. Shekhar who had been married for less than a year, lives with parents and a younger sister and is caught between his wife and mother. Each time, he found himself forced to take sides and ended up offending the other.

    Things had turned into worse with his wife threatening to leave him if he doesn’t move out of the house and his mother siting old age and asking him to take care of his aged parents. As a result, he started slipping into depression and stayed out of the house as long as he could.

    His work suffered and he missed the promotion he was working hard for the last two years. Unable to carry the burden of worries anymore, Shekhar decided to end his life and confided in his best friend who directed him to the SamaritansMumbai helpline, an offshoot of Samaritans UK, and now a part of Befrienders India. Samaritans is a suicide prevention helpline.

    Sonal Panda, counselor at

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  • Looking beyond leopards in Bera

    Bera in Rajasthan is oversold by tour operators as one of the best places to observe leopards, but that is ignoring the wealth of wildlife otherwise found here

    By Swayamsiddha Mohapatra and Nihit S Mhatre

    Touted as one of the best places in India to see a leopard in the wild, Bera – a small village in Pali district of Rajasthan – has always been in the news for its not-so-elusive cats. However, the faunal diversity of Bera and the Jawai Bandh area far exceeds this marketing gimmick. Accompanied by two wildlife enthusiasts, I set upon planning a trip to the village to look for wildlife other than the leopard.

    Bera - a small hamlet in Pali district of RajasthanBera - a small hamlet in Pali district of Rajasthan
    A nightjar photographed before sunrise in Bera, RajasthanA nightjar photographed before sunrise in Bera, Rajasthan

    We booked a heritage resort at Bera in early February. We would get up before sunrise and spend a good two hours searching for nightjars. We succeeded in spotting many.

    Our joy wouldn’t end there. Even something as routine as a sunrise was nothing sort of spectacular at the village. The dust would scatter the morning light, bathing the land in a golden hue.

    The morning hours post sunrise was spent birding at the Jawai Bandh area or looking for mammals in the scrub forests nearby. Jawai Bandh area is home to a plethora of birds. The most

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