Stories From My Home – 7: Appa and Thomas the Tank Engine


We don’t always have to travel to seek stories; they are right there in our homes too. In “Stories From My Home“, I examine the many objects surrounding me at home and attempt to document and share the memories associated with them, one story at a time.


What do you want from London, Appa?

Can you get me Thomas the Tank Engine? A model, a book, anything to do with him.

I wasn’t surprised at what my Appa wanted. He was crazy about the railways, trains, engines and everything associated with them. He loved watching the animated series on Thomas the Tank Engine and I used to love watching him watch the series on TV and giggle away.

So that’s what I got for Appa when I returned from London in 2009 after a year-long stay — a small model of Thomas and a book with illustrations of all the engines and characters in the series. I got him other things too, but once he saw Thomas, nothing else mattered. The look of delight on Appa’s face when I gave it to him is something that I will never forget.

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Assam, Northeast India, Travel, Ahom

Dear Assam

When I visited you the February 2017, it was a trip of many firsts — the first time I was travelling to the Northeast region of India, the first time I visited Assam, the first time I visited a wildlife sanctuary (as an adult), the first time I brought back fresh produce from the Uzanbazaar market in Guwahati for my Amma, much to her surprise and great delight, and many more firsts.

The trip materialised out of the blue with an invitation to be a part of journalists and travel writers from the organisers of the Rongali Assam, a cultural festival to be held in Guwahati in the first week of February 2017. Even, as I sent in my acceptance mail to the organisers of Rongali, I was already planning how I could do some independent travel on my own in Assam.

Some research later, I zeroed in on visiting Kaziranga, Sivasagar, and Hoollongapar for a three-day independent trip before I joined the rest of the group for the Rongali Festival. It has been more than two years since that trip, but I can still remember the wide-eyed excitement and thrill I felt when I landed in Guwahati, and which lasted me all through the trip. When I boarded my return flight to Mumbai 6 days later, it was with a suitcase full of souvenirs and brochures, a heart filled with happiness and also memories and experiences of a trip like no other.

Let me give you a glimpse into what my Assam trip was like.

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Art Deco, Modern Art Deco, Mumbai Art Deco

Mumbai Lens: The art deco of Palladium Mall

This post has its beginnings on a hot summer afternoon in Mumbai, when I reluctantly accompanied a friend who was visiting the city to Palladium Mall in the Lower Parel. I’m not particularly fond of malls and do my best to avoid visit them; the visit to Palladium Mall was probably my second or third. If not for the fact that this was a dear and very close friend, I would not have agreed to visit the mall.

As my friend explored the various the various stores spread over four floors of Palladium Mall — Mumbai’s “first luxury and premium retail…destination” — I dutifully followed her around. At one of the stores in the uppermost level, as she made some purchases and paid for them, I decided to wait outside the store and look around.

As I leaned over the banisters into the atrium,  beautiful floor patterns created from different types of polished stone looked back at me.

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