October 9, 2019

Everything octopus in Akashi

There is a town in Japan that is famous for octopus snacks. You can never escape the octopus here.

everything taco

everything taco

everything taco

everything taco

Travel Japan
October 1, 2019

The precious

A few weeks back, as I waited for some gyoza at a Japanese cafe, I looked around only to stop at a girl sitting on the far stool by the counter, talking to the owner. It looked like an interview. The owner was often distracted by the customers, but the girl maintained her poise. She would glance across, trying to absorb the place. I could detect half a smile aimed in no particular direction on her elegant face, only to return to seriousness when the owner came back to talk to her. It was an interesting face. I started to sketch.

I wanted to draw her like a princess, a bold but kind princess, sitting on a high throne dressed in jewels and golds. I figured that I need not draw such adornments. Her composure was more precious than any gold or diamond.

Last weekend, a couple of alleys away from that cafe, I was looking for dinner. A boy at an Izakaya called out to me. He tried to explain the food. I heard a voice in English. I turned around to see another member of their staff. She calmly explained the menu. I recognised her the girl in my sketch. I pulled out my phone and showed her the sketch, expecting her to kick me for my amateur depiction of her charm. Turned out she was pleased with it. You can travel half the world. But there is no point if you can’t make a stranger smile.

travel Vietnam
August 22, 2019

The child of all nations

I recalled the phrase Anak semua bangsa” when I heard Mita speak Bahasa Indonesia. Mita is the adopted Indonesian name of a young Vietnamese person I met in a small alley in Saigon. I remarked to her that I rarely hear a Vietnamese speak such fluent Indonesian. Mita replied that her curiosity about cultures and religions led her to explore Indonesia. She lived in Surabaya for a year and fell in love with Indonesia.

Most South-East Asian teenagers are keen on Korean or Japanese popular culture. But often in Vietnam, I meet young people who are interested in Indonesia, India or Myanmar. They are the true Anak semua bangsa” - the child of all nations (the phrase is the title of a novel that is set in Surabaya). I miss another Saigon friend who loves Indonesia. We sometimes used to go to the Indonesian/Malaysian enclave to eat Mee Goreng. And I miss Indonesia. What time is the next flight to Jakarta?

Mita, a child of all nations

Vietnam Indonesia People
August 22, 2019

A fair explainer on the Kashmir issue


From the Seen and the unseen” podcast

India Kashmir Pakistan
August 14, 2019

The warmest summer

The summer keeps getting warmer. Makes me wish for the autumn. But wait!! Let us just wait for a bit for these colourful yukata.




Japan Travel
August 11, 2019

China has started a grand experiment in AI education. It could reshape how the world learns. - MIT Technology Review

Experts agree AI will be important in 21st-century education—but how? While academics have puzzled over best practices, China hasn’t waited around. In the last few years, the country’s investment in AI-enabled teaching and learning has exploded. Tech giants, startups, and education incumbents have all jumped in. Tens of millions of students now use some form of AI to learn—whether through extracurricular tutoring programs like Squirrel’s, through digital learning platforms like 17ZuoYe, or even in their main classrooms. It’s the world’s biggest experiment on AI in education, and no one can predict the outcome.

Link: China has started a grand experiment in AI education. It could reshape how the world learns. - MIT Technology Review