Monthly Archives: June 2018

Kashmir On My Mind

Kashmir: Picture of Pradeepika and Dan.

Talking Kashmir over a wonderful dinner.

A few months ago, Katie and I met Pradeepika Saraswat while traveling in Hampi, southern India. We hit it off and she later invited us to visit her in Delhi, where we recorded this podcast. Pradeepika is a journalist who has spent much time living in Kashmir, a region over which India and Pakistan have fought multiple wars. I also visited Kashmir a few years back and became very interested in the region, so naturally, this was the main focus of our discussion.

You can listen to the audio here:

Download this Episode (right-click and choose “save as”)

Show Notes:

  • Pradeepika referenced Article 377, but she meant to reference Article 370.
  • Though Pradeepika currently writes for a Hindi publication, you can still find her older English-language stories on The Quint.
  • The dowry is a transfer of wealth from the bride's family to the groom's. It has a long history in India, as well as many other countries, and it was a topic of much fascination for us during our time in South Asia.
  • Violence broke out two years ago in Kashmir, after the death of activist Burhan Wani. Like most stories from this part of the world, it's hard to find unbiased information about Mr. Wani and his violent demise.
  • Cashmere wool comes from the cashmere goat, native to the Kashmir region of modern-day Pakistan and India. Here are a bunch more interesting facts about cashmere wool.
  • Pradeepika mentioned the book Dragon On Our Doorstep by Pravin Sawhney and Ghazala Wahab.
  • Pradeepika also mentioned the book Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer.
  • A few months after my first trip to India, the government suddenly (and without warning) decided to demonetize all 500- and 1000- rupee notes, causing widespread panic and shortages of cash throughout the country. Except, that is, for Kashmir.
  • China is currently trying to curb the building of strange buildings.

And here are a few of my photos from Kashmir:

Picture of Kashmir fruit vendors.

Fruit vendors in Srinagar.

Picture of Muslim men shopping.

Muslim men going shopping.

Picture of auto rickshaw.

Auto rickshaws are everywhere in India, including Srinagar.

Picture of man hanging out of a bus in Kashmir.

It's fun to hang out of moving buses.

Picture of road tar in India.

Tarring the road.

Picture of an old building in Srinagar.

An old building.

Picture of woodworker in Kashmir.

The woodworker.

Picture of Dal Lake.

Dal Lake in Srinagar.

You can find more of my photos from India here.

AtW #77: India Roundup

Picture of Katie hiking in India.

India has some excellent hiking.

With only a few days left in our ten-month trip, Katie and I recapped our time in India and discussed how travel has changed us. Lots of good philosophical advice in this one.

Download this Episode (right-click and choose “save as”)

Show Notes:

Here's a video I shot while walking around Varanasi. This doesn't begin to capture the true chaos of the moment. So much is missing: the sweltering heat, the festering cow dung, the pestering touts, and more. The only way to truly experience a place like this (absent lifelike VR) is to go there.

And here are a few photos from some of the places we discussed:

Picture of border crossing between India and Nepal.

Land border crossings can be quite interesting. You might need all day to get across, but I still highly recommend going over land when possible. You'll get a much better feel for the place from the moment you set foot into the new country. This is the border between India and Nepal, taken from the Indian side.

Picture of men with guns.

Your gun must be at least this long to take a photo with me.

Picture of Katie sweating in India.

The torrid heat was almost too much for us at times. On this day the mercury touched 46 Celsius (115 Fahrenheit). I know this is hard to believe, but some of the locals still looked comfortable wearing jeans and long sleeve shirts in the midday heat.

Picture of door frames in Lucknow, India.

A major siege occurred in Lucknow, India 150 years ago. You can still see the bullet holes today. Or maybe the cement is simply crumbling.

Picture of man pushing heavy load on his bike in India.

These guys work unbelievably hard, pushing heavy loads around the city.

Picture of market in Lucknow, India.

Lucknow was the most chaotic city we visited in India. Or maybe that was just our perception because we were staying in the heart of the main bazaar. This photo was taken from our hotel balcony.

Picture of bicycle rickshaw driver.

Bicycle rickshaws are very common in most Indian cities. This guy is relaxing while waiting for a fare.

Picture of Katie sneaking around a cow.

Skills you'll pick up if you travel long enough in India: how to sneak around a cow in a narrow alley.

Picture of bathing people in the Ganges River.

The locals come down to the holy Ganges at dawn to bathe.