• In sickness and in wealth

    In sickness and in wealth

    It seems fitting that Christmas is jostling for presence with the newly-devised Good Governance Day. I don’t make this remark in the light of the (rather improverished) debate on communalism

  • Holiday homework

    Holiday homework

    I’m one of those kids who did not do too well in essay writing competitions. I did not win a year’s subscription to Children’s World where my prize-winning photo with Shankar was printed with my prize winning essay on ‘Children are the Future of the Nation’ (never mind if you’re under 30, you don’t have to get every reference in the world).

  • Something like a war

    Something like a war

    When there are wars, rapes are common. The foot soldiers of conquering armies, brutalised by war, rape women in the wake of conquest, and burn the houses of villagers

  • Ms Vohra to you

    Ms Vohra to you

    Nowadays, when your land line rings then you know it can only be an older relative who retains suspicion of mobile phones. Or, more likely, a sales call

  • Give us a good laugh, not a stupid one

    Give us a good laugh, not a stupid one

    I'm sure it's just me, and Comedy Nights with Kapil is a good show but though I’ve often tried to watch it, I've found it hard to get into

  • In a complicated relationship with a book

    In a complicated relationship with a book

    In my college years — the 1980s — a folk art object was very popular amongt all us young girls

  • That number game

    That number game

    What is a human being in the world except a body? Given to us with birth, its senses help us make sense of the world; once it is done with, we are no longer in the world

  • Waiter, there's a machhar in my Feng Shui

    Waiter, there's a machhar in my Feng Shui

    See it’s okay if you get your flat ka legalities checked out by lawyers and loan-giving bank and all

  • One of the boys

    One of the boys

    There are some women that men will say this about complimentarily: She’s just like one of the boys

  • That lamp called my heart

    That lamp called my heart

    As children, festivals were an oasis of indulgence in the dreary journey of normal. A time of excess, especially thrilling for us pre-liberalisation kids

  • Stars from another sky

    Stars from another sky

    Last week Saif Ali Khan wrote in a national daily about his family’s history of love marriages across community, the open-ended religious upbringing of his children, the need to respect choices and diversity

  • Ministry of the interior

    Ministry of the interior

    The American writer Eudora Welty, in a famous essay, Place in Fiction, wrote: “Fiction is a lie. Never in its inside thoughts, always in its outside dress

  • Ethnic cleansing

    Ethnic cleansing

    Let’s start with some frequently used words in families, perhaps used everyday, like, susu, potty, shit and pee

  • Dostana, karela and social change

    Dostana, karela and social change

    When everywhere people are talking about feminism and women’s issues, can there be anything to worry about?

  • Let them eat cake

    Let them eat cake

    There is this cliche about how people with less money have bigger hearts. Having lived in a working-class neighbourhood I've found this cliché was often true

  • Speak, for your lips are free

    Speak, for your lips are free

    Why does language exist? For functional communication? Or is there some daily worth in its beauty? Is it ‘best’ when most correct? Or it is language, as the linguistic historian Ganesh Devy has said “most beautiful when it is wrong, which is why poets work to break language.”

  • Taking the devi's name in vain

    Taking the devi's name in vain

    Problems are so much easier to solve when you understand what causes them

  • A blameless life

    A blameless life

    In 1988, three sisters, Poonam 22, Kamini, 20 and Alka Sahu, 18 committed suicide by hanging themselves in their house in Coolie Bazar, Kanpur, while their parents were away at a wedding

  • Chhodo kal ki baatein

    Chhodo kal ki baatein

    As you know, we all have to pull together to make this a shiny, new country, by shirking off old attitudes

  • Forwarding friends

    Forwarding friends

    When domestic Internet connections first became common, it used to be possible to search for contacts on Hotmail