Tag Archives: Afterwords

“Afterwords” is an occasional back-page column I write for Time Out Delhi.

The company of strangers

In the neighbourhood ♦ I have never found Buddhist kitsch a particularly comforting form of interior decoration. But about two weeks ago, I found myself sitting in Hawker’s House, my neighbourhood’s beloved little sandwich shop, and something about the photo of a standing Buddha sculpture, its smooth, lean arm raised reassuringly in the abhaya mudra, […]


Published: 20. 06. 2014 | Comments: 0

Poster politics

Theatre of persuasion ♦ Last month, a strange plant took root in the hard soil of the Capital. Its season is rare – roughly once every five years; and its life cycle determined not by the laws of nature, but by those of the nation. Its steel stems and plastic foliage flourish in a hotbed […]


Published: 17. 05. 2014 | Comments: 0

Here’s looking at you

The eyes have it ♦ On the occasional morning, a tall, dark, handsome man and his short, dark, even more handsome Labrador visit the pocket-handkerchief of a park opposite my house. Once in awhile, the man happens to look up towards my balcony and, suddenly, the world is transformed. The scraggly park becomes a charbagh […]


Published: 12. 04. 2014 | Comments: 0

Scent of a season

Farewell to winter ♦ Winter ends as it began, its first and last trace a lingering scent, like the whiff of tobacco on a smoker’s shawl. All season, the city has mostly been a smudged landscape in indeterminate shades of grey, lifted from a palette of fog, smog, smoke, haze and mist. Hindi might have […]


Published: 31. 01. 2014 | Comments: 0

Burnt offerings

Seasonal rituals ♦ In the narrow confines of Eve’s tailoring shop in Greater Kailash, bunched up between the brocade-covered, sequin-strewn counters and the walls plastered with neckline patterns, a queue of ladies jostles surreptitiously, packed like the rack of blouses hanging behind the unflappable form and appraising eyes of owner Vineet Kumar. In the old […]


Published: 21. 12. 2013 | Comments: 0

Shelved selves

Unpacking literary baggage ♦ The first library I fell in love with was my great-grandfather’s study in Shimla. An angular room with thick glass windows, dark wood furniture and a scuffed, burnt orange carpet, it looked out over the misty tops of ragged pine trees and rounded hills. Like any good study, its architect knew […]


Published: 31. 10. 2013 | Comments: 0


Walking with a purpose ♦ “Every walk is a sort of crusade,” wrote Henry David Thoreau in his essay on “Walking”. His particular idea of a stroll had more to do with venturing into nature to reclaim one’s wildness than ambling through a city, but his words feel like a true characterization of walking in […]


Published: 01. 09. 2013 | Comments: 0

A room on the roof

Notes from the last barsati ♦ Delhi, early morning. The sun burns through the haze, like a lighthouse lamp growing brighter as the bustling port of waking life approaches, pulling the tides of thought out of the ocean of dreams and towards the shores of reality, where I find myself cast up, suddenly solid, embodied. […]


Published: 06. 07. 2013 | Comments: 0

Song of the open road

Street music ♦ Concerts go down in history for attracting record crowds, for the debut of a groundbreaking work, or the return of a long-absent musician to the gig circuit. Rarely are they remembered for being completely ignored. Yet a performance by American violin virtuoso Joshua Bell became legendary precisely for that reason – and […]


Published: 20. 05. 2013 | Comments: 0

Take notice

Resignedly yours ♦ Leave-taking has been on my mind lately, and my thoughts found their reflection in a photo currently making the social media rounds. The picture shows a resignation letter in edible form: a passion cake (prosaically: carrot cake) with white icing, over which is piped a letter by one Chris “Mr Cake” Holmes, […]


Published: 26. 04. 2013 | Comments: 0