• Friend's request and tests

    Friend's request and tests

    From time to time, I am perplexed by an apparent dramatic declaration I see play out on Facebook

  • Heroes and villains

    Heroes and villains

    As we know, all traditions are subject to change on the basis of funding. Hence, this year, Agra's oldest Ramlila considered some changes

  • Keeping our words

    Keeping our words

    Two weeks ago, I lost my cousin. He was from the Sikh part of my family so the prayer service was a kirtan in the Gurudwara

  • How about a new tune?

    How about a new tune?

    When I fleetingly saw a mention of “Shiv Sena protests Ghulam Ali concert”, followed by “Taslima Nasreen expresses dismay”, you can understand that I thought Twitter and I had jointly travelled back to 1998 when the Sena barged into and stopped another Ghulam Ali concert

  • Remake in India

    Remake in India

    People say India is chaotic. Yet, what looks like chaos to some, is also an incredible diversity genuinely trying to accommodate different needs, journeys, approaches, contradictions

  • Speaking in tongues

    Speaking in tongues

    The Sri Ram Sene, denizens of some phantasmagoric video game called Aspirational Taliban, declared last week that they would cut off the tongue of any writer who dared criticise Hinduism.

  • Longing for belonging

    Longing for belonging

    What does it mean to belong to something?

  • United by rain

    United by rain

    Cities are like big dance halls. In them, stratification and unification, public and private, nature and culture, rural and urban, slum and skyscraper, the past and the future wind in and out by each other.

  • The new junk food: TV news

    The new junk food: TV news

    We seem to be in a mutually abusive relationship, never leaving each other’s side, then pouncing on each other’s faults. Yaniki, television news and us.

  • My kind of murder mystery

    My kind of murder mystery

    Murder mysteries are everyone’s guilty pleasure. The human preoccupation with a life and death makes these stories perpetually fascinating.

  • Cops take class

    Cops take class

    When I was in the Class 11, my school arranged a movie excursion for students. But not all — only science students

  • Dastaan-e-lipstick


    Moving to Delhi as a teen, I discovered the figure of the “crass Punjabi”. Those who considered themselves refined shuddered at the thought of crass

  • Let's (not) talk about sex, maybe

    Let's (not) talk about sex, maybe

    The ongoing discussions around pornography have raised some really useful questions, especially as people try to articulate why they oppose porn while claiming they are neither moralistic, nor in support of bans

  • Lasting songs and lost people

    Lasting songs and lost people

    There are some artistes to whose work people respond to with all their emotional selves, but for some reason these artistes remain unsung, near-forgotten

  • Telling stories

    Telling stories

    Many of us know the story of Ahalya, beautiful and virtuous, wife of Gautama rishi, from the Ramayana. Indra, driven by lust for her, impersonates Gautama to seduce her

  • Rights and copyrights

    Rights and copyrights

    Recently singer Sona Mohapatra, along with India’s Raw Star Rituraj Mohanty, performed the iconic Sambalpuri song Rangabati on MTV Coke Studio. The song, beloved in Orissa, got over a million hits online.

  • To sleep, perchance to dream

    To sleep, perchance to dream

    As a young one, I never understood this grown-up business of troubled sleep.

  • Despitable me

    Despitable me

    In 2005, shooting for Q2P, a film on toilets, I asked a group of men what will happen if women pee on the road just like men? They giggled

  • Anarkali apne disco chali

    Anarkali apne disco chali

    Like many who work in films, I often get emails or messages from aspiring actors

  • The FTII strike and the future of education

    The FTII strike and the future of education

    As a middle-class kid, I received that lecture surely familiar to many readers: look, we can't afford to give you fancy stuff, but we can give you a good education. Use it well (yaniki fail mat hona)