Food and travel are usually interlinked, and this is an issue for people who love both. Beloved travel writer Pico Iyer—who is in Bengaluru for the Bangalore Literature Festival—tells Lounge that technology hasn’t made the world any smaller and “the differences and the distances between us are, in fact, greater than ever before”. His contemplation on travel, globalisation, immersion and finding home, sits neatly with a few food trails that our writers have followed in the past few weeks.
We start in Varanasi, a city usually known for its spirituality but we wander more materialistically through its bazaars, streets and into the newer quarter to sample everything from tamatar ki chaat to gol kachori to apple pie. We then travel to Switzerland, a favourite holiday destination for Bollywood-loving Indians—except for the food, which is heavy on meat and cheese. All that is changing now with restaurants recognising the carbon footprint of an all-meat menu. Regional, vegetarian and vegan produce shines through on restaurant menus that are trying to earn the Swiss government’s “Swisstainable” tag.
Among our other big stories this week is an exploration of Hindi horror film. Horror as a genre is often scorned as trashy and thrilling, capitalising on our disgust, but as our writers point out this week, it can address complex ideas creatively, and serve as metaphors for social issues. Newer films in the Hindi horror genre use the age-old daayans and chudails to explore ideas of changing gender relations, abuse, sexuality and patriarchy.
We view through a different lens the old-school “moral monsters” of Hindi films—the horrific creatures who are driven by injustice to frightening people into doing the right thing—and find they are fighting a battle of their own. These films, too, are a comment on the tension between traditional mores and contemporary ideas. I’ve never enjoyed horror as a genre—real life sometimes seems frightful enough without adding badly made-up monsters to it—but I have made a list of films to watch, after editing the stories we have on new Hindi horror cinema. And don’t worry, we do have more cheerful recommendations, too, for what to watch, eat, buy and read this weekend.
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