I write an opinion blog for The Statesman  and select publications such as The Hindu where current social trends in India are examined through the Non Resident Indian lens. Nothing is sacred. No one is spared. 

Kashmiri Pandits - Old and New: And how a film created a broad tent of a pan-Hindu identity

Why did the influential Purana Kashmiris not think of the 1990s Kashmir Pandit exodus as a personal issue and raise their voice? Why did they take part in the conspiracy of silence that seems to have cloaked the issue for 30 odd years?

The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the valley that Vivek Agnihotri’s recent film The Kashmir Files depicts so graphically, did not start in the 1990s. It has been going on for over 300 years! I come from a Kashmiri Pandit family in which the migration happened s

North is north and the South is south

North is North and South is South. And never the twain shall meet. And for a long time, in modern India, they did not meet. The portion of India above the Vindhyas went about its kheti-badi and its caste-based politics, its dips in the Ganga and its blips in GDP growth.

The young embraced in startling yellow mustard fields and got married under colourful tents called shamianas almost always accompanied by Band, Baaja and Baraat. And of course, lots of good food and alcohol. They lived beyond th

New walls, new doors

The fact thats British parents could not travel from the United Kingdom to the United States to watch their daughter play, and win, the US Open final was more than just a bittersweet family story. It was one more stark reminder of how the Covid-impacted world has put up new walls and doors to curb international travel and how arbitrary they are.

Britons have simply not been allowed to travel to the US. This situation has persisted since the pandemic began in March 2020. In exceptional circumsta

No country for old folks

In the days when travel wasn’t so frequent and exposure to the western world was limited – there used to be two stories about the strange people who inhabited foreign lands that did the rounds on the Indian circuit.

They don’t bathe everyday was one and they leave their parents to die in old age homes was the other.

They were both uttered with the eyes screwed up with contempt, nostrils flaring with anger and disbelief and followed by the hands-cupped-to-the-ears gesture which begs divine forg

When small was meaningful

Our daughter got married in late 2020. Photos to share, congratulations to field, gifts to open, thank you cards to send, lots of feel good moments to savour yes, but something to write about? Not really. Except it was in the year of Covid-19. And we are Indian. The two just don’t go together. Any Indian astrologer looking at the charts of Wedding and Covid-19 would have frowned on the match and declared ‘Jodi nahin banti’.

Quite rightly so. We Indians are a sociable lot who love the following,

Diwali is Christmas come early

While I do visit India quite often, I have not been in India at Diwali-time for many years. In fact I was trying to remember when I was here last at this time of year and had this vision of helping hold a sparkler for my half-frightened, half-excited daughter who could today give a lecture on the air quality index to a room full of environmental experts – so clearly, it was a long, long time ago!

It has certainly been a Diwali like never before – subdued, solitary and silent. It has meant that

Holidays: Change of place or just change of pace?

It is September and Europe is on the move. To beaches, to sun-soaked islands, to the countryside – anywhere but home. Nothing seems to stop holiday seekers. Not the patchy flights along agreed air corridors, not the threat of the pandemic hanging in the air and not even the dire warnings of quarantine as they return home from countries which are seeing a second wave of the virus. Europeans (Brits included as of now), take their summer holidays very seriously indeed.

Every summer, journalists de

An ideological divide exposed

Ihave a confession to make. I have spent the weekend binge-watching the just released Netflix reality show on Indian arranged marriages. In summary, it is a reality show about a Mumbai- based matchmaker (the redoubtable Sima Aunty) and her roster of well-heeled clients in India and abroad. And yes, I said bingeing – not cringing.

Yet, cringe-worthy is the term most Indians seem to use when describing the 10th most viewed show on Netflix in India last weekend. I have very little patience with th

Fifty Shades of Black

As I write this, there are thousands of protestors right outside my work-from-home desk – in London’s Hyde Park. If I open the windows, I can probably hear them but it is a damp, grey day and I don’t want to feel cold, in addition to feeling gloomy. The crowds carry placards saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ and social distancing seems to have been sacrificed at the more sacred altar of solidarity.

London stands united with the American people in their grief and anger at the horrific killing of Georg

The parenting benefits of Generation Labelling

An article on how Gen Z is coping with the lockdown caught my eye in the papers recently: innovatively, by all accounts. Born between 1997 and 2010 – they have grown up with the grim reality of looming climate change and now the pandemic has made life even more uncertain.

However, unlike the Millennials before them, Gen Z does not complain or blame the earlier generations for creating a mess. They get on with things.

University plans upset? Never mind; I am going to be an entrepreneur. No scho

Is the Big Indian wedding missing a trick - or two?

Jalebis or gulabjamuns? Maybe the gulabjamuns, as the queue at the live jalebi counter is long and I really cannot manage both, as the second (and totally unnecessary) helping of biryaniin my stomach is saying ENOUGH. Aah! The gastronomic dilemmas of Indian weddings compounded by the NRI greed for Indian food make it a real pleasure for me to attend Indian weddings. Throw in the sentimentality of meeting old friends, the joy of seeing children grow up and get married and the whole social whirl

Before Digital

A selection of my work, when we only worked in print!

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