All posts by bavitha

Black. White. And a little Gray.

Payyambalam Beach Road. Known to the early morning runners, bikers and walkers as a place of solace among kindred spirits finding peace in the morning chill; known to the evening “let’s go for a drive” crowd as the end of the busy road, only to loop back around before grabbing a bite to eat, and maybe even a ballon for their screaming 3 year old.

Payyalambalam Beach Road (looking south)

Between the black and the white; between the still haze of the early morning fog and the blur of the brightly lit evening bustle; between the 2 worlds that seem so starkly different; between the extremes lies the gray emptiness of the mid afternoon sun beating down without mercy on the lone runner’s neck.

Payyalambalam Beach Road (looking north)

More importantly, it’s the gray coloring the secret lovers trying to hide from society that doesn’t condone. It’s the gray of drivers with L stickers* on their cars, knowing that the road is spread wide in front of them with nothing to dodge other than the lovers who are intentionally hidden… and perhaps that one lone runner who really shouldn’t be there in the first place.

This gray doesn’t belong to the runner. The gray belongs to those that blur between the black and the white.

  • *In Kerala, drivers with learner’s permits generally have a big red L sticker on their car


“It doesn’t add up” she thought to herself, staring at the broken down piece of what looked like a faded red farm equipment.

“Why would someone have so much junk… just lying around…” her imagination ran wild as all of the reasons, and more, flew rampant in her mind.

But it wasn’t just the broken down piece of machinery in the front yard. It was also the hoard of OTHER things she found in the basement. There were polaroids and magazines of yesteryear, broken film projectors and old batteries. Now why would anyone save used double AAs from the 80s? The basement smelled musty and dank. There is a leak somewhere. There has to be. Old basements are never dry.

The basement; what a place of mystery and horror. All of those stories she’s woven in her head. What happened to the ones that she never committed to paper? They’re probably lying in the basement of her mind. Somewhere, all cobwebby and such. Just waiting to be picked up, dusted off and stared at in awe by some unsuspecting soul who will maybe see a reflection of themselves in what was once her story. Her story. Saved in the confines of the basement of HER mind.

That’s what basements are all about. You think it’s yours until it’s not.

But still… what exactly even is this particular piece of farming tool painted all red??

DeTech-tive Series – Part 1

Day 2 sitting out here staring at the wilderness. I’m learning about new plants and insects.

Two days back, during a work meeting, I felt something flying down with the weight of a heavy dead leaf and land on the brown adirondack chair right behind my neck. I jumped up, exclaiming loud, fully expecting whatever it was to have flown away already.

I was surprised to see 2 big eyes looking up at me from the back of a matte black insect that looked relatively harmless. It was the length of my thumb, but double in width. But I have small hands. So half whatever image you have in your head.

I tried to reason why it looked “harmless”. The lack of any protruding forcep like appendages from its head definitely helped. The body of the insect was matte black like I mentioned, but with a dusting of white splashes across its body. I got closer to it as I heard Luigi go “whoa what is it?” at the other end of the call. I’d turned the camera around so that he could see what I was looking at. My mind reaffirmed me that it was harmless.

Shiny/Glossy = Poisonous

Matte = Harmless

Now don’t ask me how my subconscious did that instant math. But that’s what my mind told me, and I trusted it. 

Isn’t that what the gut is meant to be? Nothing but a combined mental aggregate of your life’s experiences that will help you make decisions quicker than making instant coffee? I trusted my gut the same way I wish I’d trusted my gut the last time I complicated my life. 

But no, this story about the beetle isn’t about how it complicated my life. Because it didn’t. And it is likely something I should scratch off my “My Uncomplicated Story” book. But that is for the second draft. For now, I’m leaving it in my first draft, and you get to hear all about this matte black insect with big eyes. But I will also extract this and publish this as a blog post. There you go.

“Elongated black beetle with big eyes” I found myself typing in google as I heard Luigi in the distance talking about how this is why he doesn’t work from the backyard, and how I should get citronelli and maybe even a bug screen. 

“Eastern Eyed Click Beetle”, aka “Alaus Oculatus”. That’s what its name was and apparently it was harmless. But those big white spots on its back were apparently fake eyes. It’s in disguise!

I peered closer to it and tried to blow on it to see if it would move. It didn’t budge. It didn’t want to leave my chair. So I gave up and found the other adirondack chair and settled down to finish my call with Luigi, even as I tried to commit to my brain that a dusty looking matte rattlesnake is still poisonous. I hoped my gut would react appropriately the next time I see one.

This concludes this story in my de-tech-tive series, where you will learn about “mysteries” I solved using tech (basically google).

* this story is partly fiction, and names of humans have been changed

The Bucket List

26 year old F from Argentina plans to go to Australia towards the end of the year. He’s been in Mexico for 9 months, and wants to go back to his hometown for 2 months before embarking on his next adventure in the land down under. He wants to pursue his masters in Physical Therapy while working in Australia.

When he found out that I’m from NY, he told me he’s worked as a lifeguard in Hunter, NY at a summer camp. While working there, he got 1 day off each week, so him and his friends would get a bike and ride 30km each way and explore Hunter.

Hunter is another one of my dream towns. If you’ve been following me a while, you’ll remember I went plot hunting for fun around some remote mountains a couple of years ago. That was around Hunter. There’s limited cell service in Hunter; but the views make it worth the while.

F told me I should visit Argentina, specifically Patagonia. I shared that hiking the W in Patagonia continues to be one of the only 4 items on my bucket list.

This reminded me that I never think of my bucket list unless someone brings it up in conversation. Either my bucket list needs reprioritization, or my life needs reassessment (my project management tendencies kicking in).

Why am I prioritizing things that aren’t on my bucket list? Should I just throw out my bucket list altogether? Clearly they’re not important enough for me to do it today?

Or… do you intentionally delay getting to your bucket list so you have something to live for? Bucket lists are, after all, meant to last a lifetime. It won’t be fair to the bucket 🪣 if you run through them all in one year, surely.

Or… is the most efficient way to manage a bucket list by getting through the items quickly, and keep replenishing the bucket as you run out of items? That sounds exhausting.

I think I prefer the former strategy. I want to savor my bucket list. The items on it are special. And I don’t want to rush through those experiences.

Food for thought.

F and I looked out over the Channel, watching the storm rolling into the stillness of Cozumel.


I saw so many beautiful sights, I have no energy to find the perfect image for this post.

But it needs to be recorded that this Indian summer I saw many beautiful sights and experienced so many firsts; right here in Kannur. Mountains and beaches and trees and sand and sun and rocks and cliffs and fishes and what the Kunafa!

Who knew Kannur had so much to offer?

Mappila Bay, Kannur

Here is a picture of some people fishing at the Mappila Bay in Kannur. There were a ton of lone fishermen there, standing precariously on the giant rocks, teeming with red colored crabs.

One of them spoke in Hindi, directing some others on what to do. Maybe he had a small business setup going on over there on the rocky pier, and he was giving instructions to his staff. Maybe the staff had to meet a quota.

All of the men (there were no women there holding a line) were going through the same set of motions. 1) Grab a piece of fish tail/fish head/shrimp from the plastic bag sitting at their feet on the rocks, 2) hook the fishy bait at one end of the blue plastic fishing line, which emerged from a spool which was about 5 inches in diameter 3) hurl the bait end of the line into the bay as far as they can 4) slowly reel the line back in after five minutes – with or without fish 5) repeat steps 3 through 5.

I asked someone how long it generally takes to get a bite. He said with a smile that it depends on how long it takes for the fish to bite. I asked him how long he’d been waiting. He said half hour.

Meanwhile, one of the other guys caught a fish. He was older. He said the name of the fish was “Champeri”. Am I remembering the name wrong and getting it mixed up with the town I passed through on the way to Palakkayam Thattu? I could be. But for now, let’s call it Champeri.

Champeri rested flat at the bottom of a white cloth bag. Champeri looked about a foot long. He said he could sell Champeri for Rs 600 and that it’s fresh catch.

I left being thankful he used a cloth bag, but couldn’t help wonder if the cloth bag was reusable and how long it would take to wash the smell of dead fish off the white cotton threads.

Palakkayam Thattu

Palakkayam Thattu was beyond my expectations. I was expecting a Motta Kunnu (bare rocky hill). There was nothing bare about what I saw.

From the top as far as the eye could see, there were miles upon miles of rolling hills dotting what appeared to be flat ground at sea level, broken by houses, roads and churches. There were a lot of churches.

The windy curvy roads looked so small that I felt I could almost pick up the white Mahindra jeeps that kept noodling down the far away broken roads; one after the other; they kept coming; never ending.

The mountains of the Western Ghats that laced the skyline seemed to be tumbling over each other, but a few peaks stood out. The oddly shaped Paithalmala was unmistakably stark. Almost as stark and abrupt as the sentences that make up this post! Words don’t seem to be working for me today. So I’m not gonna try and get overly poetic.

Let me leave you with – I’d love to climb Paithalmala soon!

“Uxmal over chicken pizza”

I know what you’re gonna say. “Look! Chichen Itza!”. Well PLOT TWIST! This is Uxmal!

Before my trip, my friend Erika, who I met on Craigslist 12 years ago (long story for another day), sent me a cryptic message.

“Uxmal over Chicken Pizza any day”

I didn’t quite get what she meant at the time. I didn’t really prod either, because I was just trying to get through the vast amount of information she was sending me about all things Mexico.

Erika’s family is from Mexico. So. Yes. She had a lot of information to share, including the right way to say “Valladolit”.


“Uxmal over Chicken Pizza”

I honestly thought it was maybe Mexico’s version of the NYC Chicken over Rice 🍛

I really didn’t think much of it until I went to Uxmal.

And then I went to Chichen Itza the next day. 3 hours of pushing through crowds of tourists, and saying “no gracias” to  street vendors, I sat down exhausted at the base of El Castilo. I looked up at the mighty pyramid and found myself mumbling to myself “Uxmal over Chichen Itza. Someone get me out of here”

Chichen Itza

#uxmal #chichenitza #yucatan #mexico #mexicanroadtrip


This is the last pic taken of me in 2021. I hadn’t washed the salty sand from the day off my body yet, but the dinner was good and I loved learning about the Argentinian solo (I think?) traveller sitting at the dinner table next to me who trains polo horses for a living.

Not gonna write about how <insert adjective> 2021 was. It was no worse, or no better than the years prior. But as always, I’m thankful for my privilege.

But talking about 2021? I spent a total of 5 months out of a carry on suitcase, travelling and meeting people from various walks of life, while transplanting myself from Manhattan and building a haven for myself in South Jersey, and juggling a multitude of professional and personal projects. I’m thankful for new friendships; some for a reason, some for a season and some for a lifetime.

Every year will bring its own weight in terms of challenges. This year though – I built a ton of muscle! Maybe not a ton, but definitely a few pounds.

Bring it on 2022. Show me what you got. Because I’m gonna approach it with the same level of enthusiasm as I’m approaching that plate full of food in front of me.

Yes, life will always be tough. And I’m not expecting 2022 to be “better”. But I am excited about whatever it has in store for me.

Something Forgotten

I swiped the stray hair that was falling into my eyes. I felt dampness in spite of the chill temperature at the airport. My mind was running a million different ways. I wondered if I’d plugged in the light upstairs. If I hadn’t, Appan would have to go without light upstairs until the next time I returned. There was only so much that can be explained via a phone call. And who knows when the next time I’ll be coming back. Especially considering the circumstances. 

I blinked furiously as I felt the corners of my eyes sting with tears that were threatening to fall. I was not looking forward to going back to Delhi. 

I could hear soft music playing from somewhere. It must be an inconsiderate jerk who decided to forgoe headphones in a public place. The song was something that held a special place in my heart. In our hearts. Yet, I felt nothing. It came as no surprise to me. Music just didn’t feel right to me anymore. Music was just that these days. Words strung together in a tune and nothing more than that. 

I decided to go get some coffee. I never liked coffee unless I made it myself. But right now I didn’t care. My body was craving a jolt of caffeine. My body was craving a jolt of just about anything at that point. Anything to make me feel alive.

The coffee was hot enough to make the impact of the jolt twice as strong. I took a slow sip before I pulled out my wallet to make the payment. I could see someone looking at me from the corner of my eyes. I figured it was probably my disheveled appearance that was prompting the extra attention I was receiving. I forced myself not to look in that direction. 

I stood there and took a couple more sips of my coffee. By that point it had become awkward not to look at the person who was showing such intense interest in my coffee drinking ritual, because I could see the person pointing to me and saying something to the woman sitting beside him. He obviously wanted to make eye contact with me. I figured what gives, and looked at him making sure that I had the best version of my bitch face on. 

The person was looking at me with a knowing smile, gesturing towards me with his head to come over and sit beside him, as if he can explain everything to me. I stared at his face. His straight hair hung diagonally across his forehead, brushed carelessly to the side and tucked behind his ear. He definitely needed a haircut. His face was covered with a thick beard and mustache. But the smile behind all the hair felt intimately familiar. Like a long forgotten fragrance filling my lungs with its presence, while at the same time filing my mind with flashes of memories that I’d forgotten I still had access to.

“B-b-b..” I said. How could I not remember his name? Why is it that the brain does such a good job remembering how many packets of sugar your next door neighbor used in his morning tea vs his evening tea when you were 10 years old, but fails in remembering the name of the closet thing you had to a best friend at one point in life?

He was patting the chair next to him by this point, wanting me to sit next to him. “B-b-b” he repeated. “Don’t even remember my name?” he said, a half smile playing on lips not entirely hidden by the moustache. 

“This is.. how long has it been??” I blabbered.

“14 years at least?” he said, all trace smile gone from his face. I didn’t miss the pensive look in his eyes.

“Where are you heading?” I asked trying to move the conversation in a direction I was more comfortable handling.

“Back home. California” he said.

“You made it happen, huh” I said. 

“Sure did, princess ghee” he was looking into my eyes the way no one has in a really long while, his face still unsmiling. It was as if we were picking up a half finished conversation from a long time back. And perhaps we were. 

I wondered if he still wondered why? I shook the thought from my mind. Why would he. He probably has the perfect life in perfect California, with a perfect wife and a perfect dog and no children yet, but likely a couple of them within the next few years before hitting 35.


I don’t remember writing this. I don’t remember what prompted this writing either. I found this as I was clearing out untitled docs in the root of my Google Drive.

I normally create untitled documents in the root of my Google Drive when I want to take quick notes. I rarely leave them untitled though. I always title them before closing out the doc once I’m done writing. I make sure I at least title it with a “to be deleted” title so I know what to do with it when I get into my clean up mode, like the mode I’m in right now.

I checked my calendar to see where I was on Friday, February 15th, which is when I last edited the doc. My calendar revealed nothing. So I checked my inbox, which indicated that I made Venmo payments to a friend for the Polynesian in Hells Kitchen. The payment notes indicated I was there with two friends, one of whom I’d met while in India, and the other, who had introduced her to me while in India.

I’m not quite sure what my muse was when I wrote this at 12.32pm on a Friday afternoon back in February 2019. It looks unedited. Not even proof read. It felt strange reading it, because to be honest, I really don’t recall writing this, which is very rare. But I do see certain patterns that indicate that I am the author.