Other writing

Here is some writing that has appeared in various journals, newspapers, magazines and websites. Some are personal accounts, others are profiles and features on people, places and things, both ordinary and absurd. 


What object reminds you of home? For me, it's a little blue alarm clock that we grew up with, which one day went missing. This is the story of why I spent the better part of two decades looking for it. And how winding this alarm clock every morning brings me solace during a period of time when I don't know when I can visit home again. Click here to read the story I wrote for Home52. 


What does the modern world look like amidst a pandemic brought on by a potentially life-threatening virus? I got to capture a portrait of the city that I live in, Berlin, Germany, during the first month of lockdown brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. A city devoid of hustle and bustle, and an abundance of "the new normal". I wrote a piece about this for Forbes India's May 08, 2020 issue. Click here to read the full story. 


Berlin is a city that attracts people from all over the world, and with an influx of young people from the Levant (and thanks to pop culture - Seinfeld anyone?) the city is also seeing an increase in the popularity of Jewish food. I got to eat my way through the rich, vibrant, and diverse Jewish cuisine that Berlin has to offer for the March 13, 2020 issue of Forbes India. Click here to read the full story.



Of all the musicians to have wandered through Berlin, David Bowie is perhaps the most famous. He created three of his most iconic albums in the city, and the city remembers him. Retracing Bowie's steps through Berlin, and visiting all the memorials dedicated to him, was very special. I wrote about it for National Geographic Traveller India's July 2019 issue. Click here to read the piece!



Every year, for one week beginning the first Thursday of February, the otherwise quiet town of Jokkmokk in North Sweden comes alive for the annual Winter Market. It is a celebration of Sami culture, tradition, and craftsmanship, and is worth suffering through -35°C Arctic temperature. I wrote about my experience at the winter festival for National Geographic Traveller India's June 2019 issue. Click here to read the story!



Is there anything better than spending a summer holiday diving into pristine azure water? I think not! Italy's Lake Garda allowed us, weary city dwellers, the opportunity to forget that life existed beyond its waters. Wrote about the benefits of bobbing about on, and bathing in the lakef or National Geographic Traveller India's May 2019 issue. Click right here to read the online version of the story!



At a quite little coffee shop, one cold December day in Zurich, I got to speak to former NASA astronaut Charlie Duke about space exploration. Duke is one of only four men alive today, to have set foot on the moon, when back in 1972, he served as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 16. Wrote about it for the Land Rover OneLife Magazine's May 2019 issue. You can find the digital issue if you click right here



I love road-trips. And I often pick it over other, seemingly more convenient, forms of travel. After all, the more time I spent on the road, the more I found myself falling in love with the secret places, quiet moments, and hidden little surprises that road-trips brought with them. I wrote a column about this hold that the open road has over me for National Geographic Traveller India. Click here to read it.



Road trips through Europe have become something of a regular affair for my husband and I. And along the way we've picked up more than just a few handy tips and hacks that someone who isn't used to driving in Europe should know about. I wrote about this for National Geographic Traveller India's July 2018 issue. If you'd like to read it, this link right here will take you to it. 



The chance to wander through Madrid's Centro and La Latina neighbourhoods presented itself, and so wander I did. From markets to bars and posadas, and old-fashioned ham shops, there was something delightful around every corner. I wrote about just this for Forbes India's August 3 issue, but you can read it right here. 



I managed to spend a day walking through Budapest, which is a spectacular city on so many levels. And by a series of coincidences, I was introduced to the writings of Magda Szabo. Not only was I able to witness Budapest's many wonders first-hand, I was also able to see what the twin-city meant to a writer as accomplished as Szabo. I wrote a piece about this for Forbes India that appeared in their June 22 issue, which you can also read right here


A month spent in Mallorca led me in search of the very best that the island has to offer one's palate. From tiny fried anchovies, to green peppers slick with olive oil and coated with flakes of sea salt served in every restaurant in Mallorca, to Tapas Tuesday in the heart of Palma, there island is a gastronomic delight . I ate, and then I wrote about what I ate. Read the story that appeared in the February 02, 2018 issue of Forbes India right here. 



Loving Vincent, the world's first feature-length hand-painted film, is Dorota Kobiela's labour of love that took seven years from concept to completion. A team of 125 artists were enlisted to paint each one of the film's 65,000 frames. Two Indian artists, Hemali Vadalia and Shuchi Muley were part of the team, and spoke to me about how emotionally rewarding the process was. The story appears in the October 13, 2017 issue of Forbes India


Ah, Berlin, will I never tire of writing about you? This piece, written for Forbes India, is an exploration of the city's finest street food markets. From the indoor Markthalle Neuen, the very thought of which makes me immediately start salivating, to Streetfood auf Achse in the Kulturbrauerei, to the many delicacies from the South East that you can find at Thai Park, there's just so much on offer. And it extends beyond just the food.



Berlin is a terrific city, with so much to see and so much to do. You can take your pick of beer houses from which to enjoy some fine weissbier, you can stuff your face with currywurst, you can watch a movie in an open-air cinema and you can even fill your suitcases full of quirky Berlin souvenirs if you feel like it. All this and more can be accomplished in a brief two-day trip. Here's my piece on 48 Hours in Berlin written for Mans World India.



Found myself back in Arvidsjaur, up in North Sweden, once again. And while being merely 100km south of the Arctic Circle certainly does have its charms - the reindeer, the snow, the frosted winter wonderland - it also makes me miss the sun. And it makes me miss warmth. And it makes me miss summer. A proper Indian summer - those endless summers that Bombay got me used to. Here, then, is an Indian's take on the importance of sunlight in the Laplands, written for Mumbai Mirror



For me, this is the movie that began it all. I must have been 9 years old when I first saw Frank Sinatra, melancholy blue eyes and all, sing away his sorrows in Anchors Aweigh. While Gene Kelly tapped his way into the hearts of people all over the world. It's a movie that I can watch time and again, despite the fact that it's got a fairly simple story. Two sailors out on town on four days' leave. And the adventures that ensue. Not convinced? Here's my story on Film Companion to help change your mind.



Berlin is more than just the Fernsehturm and the Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. There are streetfood markets to visit, bookstores that serve up great conversation and weekly dinners, sunny days to be spent in parks with karaoke and flea markets, and old school cinemas at which to watch a few good movies. I wrote on what to keep a watch out for when you stray off the beaten path in Germany's capital, and I'm beginning to believe I ought to write a Part 2 to this piece. The link to the story in Mumbai Mirror is here. 



Dick Van Dyke and Debbie Reynolds' masterful portrayal of a couple stuck in a bad marriage really does make Divorce American Style worth a watch. It paints an accurate portrait of the frustrations of married life, the tedious and hurtful process of divorce, and the ultimate question that the couple must face - is this what they really want? A marked departure from Van Dyke and Reynolds' usual roles. Here's my review of the movie for Film Companion.



In 2014 I'd scribbled a little note to myself in one of my diaries. It said "Because Venice will sink soon, and we must ride the gondolas while we can." In 2016, fortunately, I was able to go and actually ride on one of those gondolas, helpfully seranaded by a friendly gondolier. Venice, though touristy, was everything I'd hoped it would be. It was beautiful, quaint, charming. But most of all it was unlike anything else I've ever experienced. Here's the piece I wrote for Forbes Life India on the feelings Venice evoked in me.



Many years ago, when I just moved to Bombay, I found that of the many things I missed about Bangalore, other than family and friends, homecooking topped the list. So, I wrote an ode to onion sambhar. A very specific sambhar that my Mum makes better than anyone else I know. Nine years later, Indian Express Foodie decided that they would publish it, and so you can read it right here. And I apologise that the photo on the left is a picture of bisi bele baath, not onion sambhar. But it will have to do for now!


Another piece for Film Companion. There are a few movies that I really yearn to watch when it's Christmas. But the one that stands out the most is Miracle on 34th Street. Because every now and then we need a little reminder that being optimistic, being hopeful, and believing in that little bit of magic is really no bad thing. Read all about the Maureen O'Hara and John Payne starrer in my second Classic Companion column right here.


I spent the first three months of the year very close to the Polar Circle. Just 100km south, to be precise, in snowy Arvidsjaur, where things are unlike any other place on earth. North Sweden is silent, it's snowy, it's full of endless expanses of frozen lakes, and it's got a peculiar atmosphere. In that the loneliness can shock the city dweller, but can also be rather peaceful at the same time. The people at Forbes Life allowed me to put these mixed feelings into a story for the Sept-Oct 2016 issue. Click here to read it.


The good folk over at Film Companion have taken me on board as their resident Classic Companion. Which means I get to take a trip down memory lane every month and pick out a Hollywood classic that you simply must watch. With election fever gripping the US, it seemed like a good time to watch Gore Vidal's political classic - The Best Man. Starring Henry Fonda and Cliff Robertson as sparring opponents, this film looks at what the candidates of a political party hide behind their smiles. Plenty more reasons to watch it right here.


When I first stopped by at Another Country, I didn't really know what to expect. But this lack of expectation worked out rather well for me. For, Another Country has a way of welcoming people in, messily, unapologetically, chaotically, inexplicably, and making book lovers from all over the world feel right at home. Read all about how Sophie Raphaeline built Berlin's best bookstore with a collection of her own books in the July-August issue of Forbes Life. Or just click here to read it online. 


Spending three months in icy Arvidsjaur, just 100km from the Polar Circle, seemed like a lovely idea. The Swedish town was quaint, the people friendly, and the food good. But when I chanced upon a photo of my colleagues in Mumbai devouring Anjappar Biryani, my quest to cook and consume a satisfying biryani far away from home began. Since I was in Sweden, with an abundance of elk meat, that's what I used. You can read all about it in on Express FoodIE right here.


Meet Zack Rock. Picture book illustrator. Writer. Cat lover. And champion of the anthropomorphic animal. Rock's work is detailed, beautifully illustrated, and tells stories that aren't just for children. In fact he's got a rather tricky way of using a highly cuddleable bulldog to get you to think about your own life. My story on how Rock manages exactly this can be read in the March-April issue of Forbes Life, or find it online here



The Free Syria flag that I spotted at a refugee camp in Berlin really says it all. It was Christmas time. And when nearly all of Berlin appeared to be celebrating, there were people who were fighting memories. Of bombs dropped, homes destroyed, escapes made and loved ones, scarily enough, left behind perhaps forever. Some of these stories made it to Forbes India's January 22nd issue. Read it online right here. 


It's hard to ignore Berlin's Big Heads. Why, they're quite simply all over the city. But I started to wonder who the person was who'd so persistently painted all over the city and why he did it. Fortunately for me, the intriguing Thierry Noir still lives in Berlin. And he was more than happy to tell me how he came to be an artist, and how his style was born on the Berlin Wall. You can read about his life and times in a city divided during the height of the Cold War in the November 27th issue of Forbes India or just click right here.


Life has a way of maintaining a balance. I've found that for every twenty perfectly normal days, I find myself accosted with a bizzare twenty-first day. Well, give or take a few. This particularly strange day happened to come by the very morning after my wedding. Instead of a lazy day with good food and wine and plenty of pampering, I found myself dragged to an abandoned amusement park, don oodles of green makeup, and play the part of a zombie in a German-language children's movie. How it happened, and just how unamused I was, can be read in the October 2015 issue of Mans World India. You can also find it online right here.

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© Vaishali Dinakaran - Writer & Journalist