Lockdown Diary. Day 5

29/03/2020 Day 5 If only the Earth could stop orbiting, that would have completed this grand pause that has been pressed on the world. Lockdown cities would have been so much material for Ray Bradbury to write stories on, I imagine. The non-fiction version of lockdown cities though is now emerging. Alternative systems to serve […]

Lockdown Diary: Day 2

26/03/2020 Day 2 The morning began with Roald Dahl’s short story ‘Galloping Foxley’. I delayed picking up on news. It has a flooding effect. Photos and videos from the first day of shutdown across India are disturbing. The country has normalized violence and brutality by the police. There are reports of migrant workers who were […]

Lockdown Diary: Day 1

March, 2020 Bengaluru 25/03/2020 Day 1  Looking out from the balcony there’s complete absence of the usual noise. The stillness at 6 AM is unusual in the neighbourhood. This is a typical residential area with the usual mix of people, places and performance. I recollect a distant memory – of a morning four days back.  […]

Public Policy in India: A discussion

Bangalore, 2020This evening the city had some of the best civil servants and policy thinkers to speak on reforms in India. The group was brought together to discuss Vijay Kelkar and Ajay Shah’s new book In Service of the Republic: The Art and Science of Economic Policy. There were the authors themselves, Govinda Rao (of […]

Notes from an Indian highway

Towns and villages along Indian highways that connect major cities are being transformed in ways that will have significant bearing on the growth trajectory of this country. It is in these locations that India is changing perhaps more rapidly. One tends to imagine the metropolis as a site of reading transformation in a society, which […]

Ringside view: Muay Thai

Lean bodies, torsos, tattoos, the heavy footsteps pacing before combat, deep drawn breaths, jaws moving with last minute adjustment of the guard inside their mouth, tugs and loosening of arms, furtive dance-like movement of legs as a warm up in the few minutes leading up to the bell strike and the gaze. Every single contestant […]

Mark a poem that hasn’t broken forth

The Map-Maker – This beautiful poem comes to mind during a conversation. Have grown up reading Daruwalla’s poems during schooldays, as a part of the curriculum. Pity that they didn’t include this gem of a poem about life, living, failures, adventure and setting out again. I have returned to it often. These lines, if one must select […]

How to Get Away with Any Kind of Reporting in India

What follows is a response, partly visceral, to NYT’s piece How To Get Away With Murder in Small-Town India by its India bureau chief Ellen Barry, this week. It isn’t a personal attack on Ellen Barry. The piece is very well written and would hold for me as a sample of impactful writing,  It is also […]