Essays & Commentaries


Vehicles driving along a road are seen through heat haze in Chandigarh, India, April 20, 2016. Credit: Ajay Verma/Reuters
I did a two-way (that’s a host-interview) with Marco on The World this week, talking about the water, heat, and fire situation here in India, sharing details of my visit to Uttarakhand in late April. I also wrote an essay (text on the page is different from the audio). You can read and listen online. This is a picture I took from the airplane at around 14:00 hours.

on India’s drought, heat, and forest fires for PRI’s The ...


Can a hashtag resolve decades of international rivalry? In India and Pakistan the social media campaign Profiles for Peace has at least shown that tens of thousands of thousands of people on both sides of the border are willing to put their names and faces to the declaration that they, personally, have nothing against each other.

#ProfileForPeace India vs Pakistan – DW’s WorldLink


Holding up Ammiji's sari
For Indian women, saris mark crucial points in our lives: Festivals, coming of age, weddings. We buy saris but, at least early on, we inherit them. The crux of this piece is a sari I inherited from Ammiji (my paternal grandmother) and how I want to hold on to it even though I don’t want to wear it *as is*. Enter Queen of Hearts and Deepa Mehta.

Not my grandmother’s sari – my piece on PRI’s The ...



Every year here in Mumbai, Ganesha, the elephant-headed god of new beginnings, gets an 11-day party. He comes home to those who invite him. It’s a happy, fun and noisy time of year in this part of the country. For a festival that started out as a single day on which patriots could subvert the colonial government’s ban on public gatherings, it’s taken on a life of its own. But, […]

On Ganeshotsav – colorful, noisy, insane: A web piece for ...


Life is very clearly defined in the typical Indian television commercial: Men earn the money, work very hard, drive the car, buy insurance and even decide which color to paint the walls at home. But one ad in particular caught my eye: It’s about sharing the load (of laundry) and is staunchly feminist amidst all the clutter about “ma ke haath ki jaisi safai,” so I decided to dive into the world of Indian advertising […]

The life of the ideal woman, as seen through the ...


Christmas in India is mainly celebrated by 25 million Christians – under 3 percent of the population. But in recent years, the festival has become very popular across India’s religious spectrum. For Earth Beat, here's an essay about how Christmas has changed in the last 30 years.

Tis the season and it’s changed – Earthbeat





A commentary I did for Radio Netherlands about dirt, germs, and our growing national obsession with hand sanitizer… you can listen to just my piece (click to hear, right click to download and save to your computer) or you can listen to the whole show online, including reactions to how I ‘exemplified the extremes of coming from hyper-clean germ-phobic to one of the vibrant …cultures’ 😀 Great research on how […]

the dirt on dirt – earthbeat



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We air our clean linen in public, talking about the right to dry our clothes outside. Some housing associations ban it, but forcing people to use dryers is expensive and bad for the planet. India is following in America's footsteps – but in a land where clothes drying seems to be in people’s genes, will the dryer ever replace the clothes line? Sonologue's commentary on line drying the laundry was featured on RNW's Earthbeat today. Download by right clicking here

Dry Fighting