I want to raise a toast to the joys of mobility! There’s such a thing as the right to mobility, part of a larger right to freedom of movement. Tied to the right to mobility is also the question of being able to move in the first place.

In the last few years, I’ve had to contend with several challenges to both my ability to move and my right to mobility. Both physical and mental health have at times made it acutely difficult to move, and this reality predates the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the pandemic and lockdowns set in, the right to mobility was overshadowed by the duty not to move, so to speak.

Imagine then a travel opportunity when you can take a morning walk without aches and undertake long road journeys with few traffic snarls. As an added treat, you also get to eat stuff that may or may not be Mastercheffy but is deeply satisfying, whether in the company of friends and colleagues or on your own. Even a bout of retching out something that didn’t agree with you can’t take away the satisfaction; neither can the masks, sanitizers, and sterile flights on either end of the travel.

I write this almost a week since I completed a weeklong work trip to different places in Karnataka. There could be much to write, but I’d rather share through photographs. Sample some here, and do think about sharing your photo-stories with Varta.

Scenes from a 12-hour road trip from Raichur city in north-eastern Karnataka to state capital Bangalore on February 16, 2022. Raichur district is known for its rich history since the medieval period, the Raichur Fort, and gold reserves. What I had time for in a rushed visit though was to admire the region’s amazing topography from the car window – when I wasn’t dozing off or losing myself in memories of past journeys.

Part of the journey from Raichur to Bangalore is through Andhra Pradesh. Lunch was at a small eatery in a place called Alur. Where else will you experience a spicy riot of colours for lunch but in Andhra Pradesh?

On February 17, I was on the road to Hassan city in southern Karnataka, comparably much closer to Bangalore than Raichur. Hassan is named after goddess Hassanamba. This journey was through a much more verdant countryside. The scenes above and to the left are from the return trip to Bangalore.

The photo panel above doesn’t even begin to sum up the diversity of food experiences Karnataka has to offer. But it’ll have to do because, well, I have only one (already very pampered) stomach and I couldn’t have been eating all the time. The Kadamba outlet (on the left) en route from Hassan to Bangalore served some good coffee and cookies. Credit goes to Shridhar, the car driver, who insisted I should stop by at Kadamba and nowhere else for a break.

On February 19, I revisited the iconic Koshy’s restaurant in Bangalore after nearly 17-18 years (photo on the right). Sandwiches, noodles and beer with friends and colleagues helped hit just the right note after a packed week. Dinner, the same evening was with more friends at Salt, UB City in Bangalore. Dessert was an intricate chocolate creation and water melon sorbet to balance out the sweetness – yes, very Mastercheffy (see inset in the panel above).

About a day later, I was back on Kolkata soil – thankful to have had the opportunity to travel again and take in a bit more of the unending experience that India is; also ready to tuck into some home food.

About the main illustration: Upper panel: Road journey from Hassan to Bangalore (February 17). Lower panel: Spinach-infused neer dosas at Go Native restaurant in Bangalore (February 20). All photo credits: Pawan Dhall