Darkness in Delhi

As Delhi’s lives are looted again, the architecture of the city too shifts beneath our feet ♦ A version of this op-ed was originally published on The Quint, during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India. It is possible to miss a city while still living in it. Delhi in particular is subject …

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Provisioning During a Pandemic

Gourmet ingredient delivery around India ♦ Originally published in India Today. Not too long ago, “gourmet” was synonymous with imported. Foreign products occupied the shelves of our loftier kirana dukaans, bearing unheard-of brand names and amusing MRPs. Still, with international shipping curtailed through the lockdown, India’s gourmands might have felt their absence. (But maybe not; …

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Poet Verses Delhi

Akhil Katyal chronicles Delhi’s many moods in his new poetry collection ♦ Originally published in India Today. The last line of Agha Shahid Ali’s poem “Chandni Chowk, Delhi” gives Akhil Katyal’s new book its title, but the entire collection seems impelled by the poem’s opening command—“Swallow this summer street…” In these Delhi poems, Katyal imbibes …

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How a 1.5-Generation Immigrant Came to Love the Strip Malls of America

“The Trip That Changed the Way I Travel” for National Geographic Traveller India. ♦ Washington DC, USA “Welcome to the Valley of Death,” said my dance classmate grimly. We stood on the stoop of our Kuchipudi teacher’s cookie-cutter clapboard house, contemplating the uniformity of the landscape around us. Once farmland, this developed acreage in Maryland, …

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Eight Women: Shanti Devi

Shanti Devi works alongside her husband in the no woman’s land of Delhi’s largest truck stop. ♦ It’s unclear exactly how the Internet originally discovered Shanti Devi, a 50-something who works alongside her husband, repairing truck tires in the Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, a sprawling truck yard stuffed with mechanics, about 16 km away from …

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Watching it burn

Marking an anniversary and the National Museum of Natural History ♦ I believe it was for Time Out Delhi‘s first “Beat the Heat” issue, in May 2007, that Samar went off to rattle the dusty bones of the National Museum of Natural History. And I have a vague memory of Radhika, on a city-wide hunt …

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Mini Music Videos

Phoneography.   A video posted by toutress (@toutress) on Mar 1, 2016 at 12:34pm PST A video posted by toutress (@toutress) on Feb 28, 2016 at 3:34am PST A video posted by toutress (@toutress) on Feb 8, 2016 at 4:03am PST A video posted by toutress (@toutress) on Feb 25, 2016 at 2:44am PST Posted …

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Looking for home at the National Museum’s Cosmology to Cartography: A Cultural Journey of Indian Maps exhibition.