India stories: It’s a mad mad mad mad Madurai

The day I left for Madurai I went to a beauty salon to get mehndi on my feet. The salon ladies were fascinated by my tattoos and they were admiring them when the owner walked in. She was a big woman wearing a beautiful hot pink sari and heavy with gold jewelry — her personality…

Gandhi: the movie

For those of you who loved the movie Gandhi — or those of you who have never seen it — there is a 25th anniversary special edition DVD. it came out in 2007 but I just found out about it! the 2-disc set has interviews about filming in India, about finding the right actors, along…

"you are all Gandhis"

Pongal festivities were in full swing when I arrived in Madurai in January. India has thousands of festivals and Pongal is an important one in Tamil Nadu. it is a harvest festival and I had read in the paper that it is similar to the American Thanksgiving because it is a time to give thanks…

om muruga, goodbye madurai

The last stop on the Madurai tour was the Thirupparamkunram Murugan temple, about five miles outside of Madurai. Unfortunately this was much later at night when everyone was tired, hungry, and complaining. Most of the people did not even get off the bus to walk to the temple. The temple would have been the highlight…

last day in Madurai

My last day in Madurai was uneventful and actually a bit relaxing. I spent the last day on a city tour, going from an old palace to some small temples and a return visit to the Gandhi museum. The bus picked me up and stopped at other hotels along the way picking up other passengers….

it’s a mad, mad, mad, mad Madurai

I arrived in Madurai and was instantly accosted by rickshaw drivers, so much so a train station security guard told them to leave me alone. After a 9 hour train ride, sweaty and hungry, I was not about to put up with any crap. I chose one driver and as we walked toward his rickshaw,…

all aboard, Madurai

March, 2006 I left last night on the 9:30 Pandian Express, and contrary to what I was told, the train left right on time. I was sitting alone in my 2A/C berth when two young guys came in to be my berth mates. They looked to be in their 20s. When they saw me, the…