Paris can be a good idea, yes.

In late September, I found myself struggling to operate a handheld digital weighing scale. I’m a hoarder; I hate packing; I loathe moving. Same old, same old. I had been packing to move to Paris — sounds magical, doesn’t it? But the truth is that I was terrified about leaving Berlin and uprooting my life. Sure, I hadn’t had a permanent address in the longest time to sob over, but anyone could tell that I was attached in an oh-my-gosh-this-is-all-I-want-to-write-about way. Three months in Paris, easy. I had it in my head that I would see and absorb as much…


Nothing gets thrown out in Berlin.

In the summer of 2019, I struggled to pack my entire existence into two pieces of luggage: 23 kilograms each. I did what I had to in order to carry on; that’s additional. I’m a hoarder, and so my heart was more set on packing a souvenir ukulele than it cared for warm sweaters and jackets. Living in the heat of Chennai pierced through my skin leaving behind a thermal tattoo on my body. I hate the cold, but I don’t mind the winter clothes. They’re cute.

It was still summer and so, my tattoo lived on my skin cheekily…


As a child, I appreciated the variety but hated cinnamon.

I cannot be the only one. I distinctly remember hating these chunks of bark and dried up leaves in my food. My tongue could do sweet, salty, spicy, and candy. I couldn’t appreciate the complexity of cardamom, but I could tell the difference between tap and bottled water. I was thinking of how you don’t really start cooking until you’ve left home. My mother would always give me a nudge to whip something up for myself. And then, she’d secretly supervise me but give me all the credit for whatever little dish that ended up on the table.

It was…


Berlin is a small city with a big personality. Much like the city, every neighbourhood is an adjective.

It’s tacky to begin an essay with a dictionary definition, but hear me out. Google Translate defines pfand as a “pledge.” Every time you pay for a bottle in Germany, you pay a small deposit that you can claim if you bring the bottle back. So, you’re pledging to return the bottles. This is one of the many things that I have come to learn here in Berlin.

Here’s another: I’m bad with keys — the most annoying gap in my skillset. When you live with a roommate, you don’t have to remember to take your key. When you’re all…


Sounds like the set-up for a grand joke, but this is just me exploring what I found to be the least gentrified Indian space in Berlin.

Stuck in what was a balancing act to keep all my glass bottles and plastic bottles from overflowing out of my large tattered grocery bag, I thought about how I had stopped going to the store that I had initially bought the bag from. I wondered if I should replace it with another bag (freshly taken from my bag full of bags). When I was waiting in line for my turn to chuck the bottles into the deposit machine, I wondered about the time that had passed me by.

Used things have an odd effect: they remind you of their…


If it doesn’t fit in your palm, maybe it’s not lucky.

I don’t believe in luck, or at least I try not to. Of course, I give in and look for a new source of hope but not without putting up a fight. It’s the last resort. You know how it goes; you know it like the back of your hands. If you give in now and believe that luck is driving anything at all, that little ominous chitter will pull you in. (I don’t always realise when I’m being too cryptic.) It’s that voice that says: You got lucky.


Meteorology and geography — I mean, it’s all related, right?

We lock our windows before we go to bed. Is it possible that you feel cold because there’s a gust of memories pricking at your skin, urging you to go back?

Yeeeeeesh. I’m not so sure I should’ve said that. But, it’s out there, and I’m going to brave the wind and find the crux.

It’s cold right now. It’s always cold away from home. I don’t feel comfortable with the ceiling fan on, so naturally, I often ticked off some very hot people. Unless you cough to mask the…


A year ago, I left what had been home for more than a decade to move to Berlin.

A snapshot of the road leading to Alexanderplatz (Berlin) with the famous TV Tower standing tall in the background.
A snapshot of the road leading to Alexanderplatz (Berlin) with the famous TV Tower standing tall in the background.
Bis später, alligator.

I remember the sprint from the international terminal to the domestic one. I was so, so terrified of missing my connecting flight. The sun had been out, but the fear had kept me cold. It wasn’t until I had boarded the flight to Berlin had I been able to breathe. The simple fact that my entire row was empty had made me feel in control of the situation. …

Shruthi Subramanian

I write and eat my feelings. Hi, I’m Shruthi.

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