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Vidya Balachander  Traveller, journalist, glutton | Closet fashion fiend | Colombo, Sri Lanka


It's been ages, but a Sri Lankan breakfast is still perhaps my favourite way to start the day. There's just enough starch, creaminess and heat in that one meal to keep you afloat - as if on a happy cloud.

"We make the world significant by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers." Curiosity is a necessary and important tool of our trade as journalists - and I couldn't think of anyone who could make such an elegant, compelling case for asking questions and sparking conversations as my beautiful, brilliant friend, Smriti. I was hopelessly emotional to see her take on the vast canvas of curiosity with poise and elegance. So glad you and I were once curious about what it would be like to be friends, @smritten. I am always grateful. #tedxcolombo

I love this little interactive installation at TEDx Colombo. You take different spools of coloured thread (based on your age group), and sort of chart a map of how you arrived at this moment in your life - and the emotional and physical milestones you have crossed to get here. It's an interesting way to reflect on one's journey thus far - I, for instance, found education, love, experience, companionship and marriage, which in turn led me to migrate in search of a home to call ours. And that's how I landed up at TEDx today, to hear @smritten, among my dearest friends and a huge piece of my heart, talk about journalism. There is a real beauty in the patterns of our lives - it's good to be reminded of that beauty and magic from time to time.

If Yan can cook, so can you! | when a childhood fan meets Chef Martin Yan, and he turns out to be a fan of Cathay Pacific, it is the best of both worlds.

Paati, my maternal grandmother, was a fascinating blend of contradictions: she could be as soft and thoughtful as a cloud, yet steely and acerbic when you least expected it. Having spent my early childhood in her home, I had the sort of instinctive bond with her that I only fully realised when I was grown up, and she had shrivelled with age. Last year, @partcat asked me to contribute to an anthology of stories about grandparents, and it was a unique opportunity to explore all the feelings I never knew I felt towards Paati. While I'll be thrilled to finally see the essay in print, it makes me really, really happy to be in such fine company, with many friends and writers I admire. Will share the pre-order link when it's available!
#Repost @partcat (@get_repost)
Last year, I went through a phase when I thought a lot about grandparents - wishing I had written down more of their stories, the things they said, the things they did, the things they meant to us, the things I wish I had said to them. I wanted a book that would be a sort of pickle of grandparent stories, featuring grandparents of as many kinds as possible, with their huge grandparent hearts and laughs. I reached out to my universe and asked them if they could share stories of their grandparents and I am so so grateful for the overwhelming responses and generosity of spirit. I wanted one book, but now I have two. This is the first one, and the illustrations by @spink_bottle and the cover by @niloufer.artist have just taken it to a really happy place. A place I'm sure our grandparents would love hanging out in and laughing and sharing stories together.
Volume 1 features @andaleebwajid @anjali_nayar @oventikka @jungletalkies @bijalvv @aryamankhandelwal @janedsouza_ @mahimkajerry @snaggletooth_00 @vidya83 @zainabsulaiman1 @comfortablymom @skoranne @maegan.sippy @pranitart and Arundhathi Subramaniam

Kaleidoscope of Kanjivarams. I could spend hours browsing.

The three of us met way back in 1998, as awkward, sartorially-challenged young adults, in the very first week of St Xavier's College. I remember wearing hand-me-down platform heels and shiny kurtas (*shudder*), in a hopeless attempt to be as hipster-cool as all the ethnic pants-wearing seniors I had seen in the 'quad', 'foyer' and 'woods'. (If you went to Xavier's, all those terms would have special resonance). Over the next two decades, we have thankfully outgrown our dubious fashion choices. I'm equally thankful that we have not outgrown our easy, effortless, special friendship - through years of dating angst, job challenges, marriage and kids. We may not see each other as often as we like, but when we do, it's like being back in that classroom all over again.

I had to threaten her with tickle torture for this goofy selfie. (Maya is so grown up; I almost cannot deal).

What does travel mean to you? To me, it is a temporary shifting of perspectives, a momentary slowing down of time, full-hearted laughter, a scoop of strawberry ice cream, cherished slowly as it melts, and the ease of friendships that need no explanations.

Postcard from Pondicherry.

The eternal diva.

A long-awaited holiday with my soul sisters.

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