Category: Blog

  • The woman’s vote

    The woman’s vote

      Women want in: my piece for The Guardian on what the steadily climbing voting turnout among Indian women says about their unmet expectations from Indian politics and politicians. Read it here: In 1952, a decade after the Indian independence activist Aruna Asaf Ali hoisted the flag of the Indian National Congress at the Gowalia […]

  • Free speech primer: a user’s guide

    Free speech primer: a user’s guide

    Prem Panicker and Nisha Susan asked me to do this for Yahoo! India; it’s a compilation of the work done by many other people, writers, lawyers and activists, on free speech issues in India over the years. Read the primer here: How to Fight Censorship and Remain Free One of the earliest references to the […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Romila Thapar-the memory keeper

    Speaking Volumes: Romila Thapar-the memory keeper

      (Published in the Business Standard,  April 15, 2014) In 2003, a study asked 569 college students what their memories of 9/11 were. 73 per cent “remembered” seeing television footage the first plane crash into the north tower of the World Trade Center; so did the neuroscientist Karim Nader, who was in New York at […]

  • Book review: Filomena’s Journeys, Maria Aurora Couto

    Book review: Filomena’s Journeys, Maria Aurora Couto

    (Published in the Business Standard, March 2013) Filomena’s Journeys: A portrait of a marriage, a family & a culture Maria Aurora Couto Aleph Book Company, Rs 495, 290 pages In the introduction to her book, The Liar’s Club, Mary Karr writes about the time her mother’s kitchen was retiled. Redoing a panel, the tile man […]

  • The Jungle Trees of Central India, Pradip Krishen

    (Published in the Business Standard, March 2013; this is the long-playing version.) So many of the world’s best books happen on foot; far more writers are walking animals than sedentary ones, returning to the desk to set down an account of where their travels took them.   Very rarely, the walking doesn’t just enable the […]

  • Khushwant Singh, RIP

    (Khushwant Singh died at the age of 99, just before his 100th summer. An old profile, in tribute.)   What do smart sardars and UFOs have in common?You hear a lot about them but no one’s actually met one.(Politically incorrect joke found on the Internet.) I don’t know where you’d go to meet a UFO, […]

  • Journal: All of love’s freedoms

    Journal: All of love’s freedoms

    Last week, my husband I celebrated the anniversary of our almost two-decade old marriage. We had a lot of trouble with that “marriage” business, and the term “husband” and “wife” when we decided to live together all those years ago. He and I didn’t like the fact that husband was a verb, while wife wasn’t: […]

  • Speaking Volumes: This Outsized Reality

    (Published in the Business Standard, February 4th, 2014) In 1997, Granta 57 turned its entire issue over to India, commemorating the 50th year since Independence. The Golden Jubilee edition was greeted with cautious praise and what would become a trademark suspicion of any book that attempted to cover all of this vast, noisy republic. 17 […]

  • Speaking Volumes: Stoner and the tyranny of now

    Speaking Volumes: Stoner and the tyranny of now

     (Published in the Business Standard, January 7, 2013) Towards the end of 2013, I found an old interview with Mahmood Farooqui, the historian and story-teller. Many things that year had reminded me of his words: “We’re living with a loss of our sense of history… We live in a contemporary present where what happened two […]

  • Run, Lola, Run

    Run, Lola, Run

    Update: (Previously: Lola Kitty comes home.)