• 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

  • Foreigners in their own land

    Foreigners in their own land

    Can images change the way we look at the world? I believe so. Regular readers of this column know that I have a deep and abiding belief in art as a thing that makes us better people

  • Mayor sings the blues

    Mayor sings the blues

    A fountain has caused a bit of a splash in the town of Hayange, in northern France

  • Outsourcing kindness

    Outsourcing kindness

    Last Sunday, I found myself in a most intriguing situation

  • It's about the money, not the Mommy

    It's about the money, not the Mommy

    It’s doubtful anyone who reads English is not familiar with (and sick of) the details of Indra Nooyi’s interview at the Aspen Ideas Week

  • Irony-clad claws

    Irony-clad claws

    In 2002, I walked up the narrow stairs to the office of Shakti Shalini, a women’s organisation in Jungpura, New Delhi