I'm a freelance journalist and editor based in Mumbai. I write on culture, books, gender, identity, cities, art, and interior design.
As Muslim writers, should we always talk about identity?
The well-documented fallouts of the lack of diversity have been major, and their impact far-reaching. But one implication that tends to fall off the radar is the undue pressure this puts on the few Muslim writers and journalists who may have managed to find their way into the newsroom.
As the only or one of the few Muslim writers around, there is pressure – sometimes self-anointed – to write about identity-related stories because you’re the only person there who should (and can) tell them.
5 unique polycarbonate roof designs for balconies of all kinds
Trendy, functional, and long-lasting – here are some inspiring polycarbonate roof designs
In bustling cities and sleepy towns alike, balconies often prove to be a haven that can offer comfort and relaxation, no matter what use you put them to. Occupying an in-between space that is both outside and inside your house, balcony design can be an interesting challenge when it comes to the interior design for home.
Whether you want to soak up in luxurious solitude in your balcony or prefer the space...
From bold to subtle: Choosing the perfect balcony paint design for your home
From being a crucial point of contact for star-crossed lovers in Shakespearean dramas and a platform for budding romances in Hindi movies to being a solid, socially acceptable space for quiet contemplation and “me-time” – the balcony or terrace area is loaded with significance. It’s both a pervasive presence in and an essential part of most Indian homes for its partial indoors–outdoors status and the openness it lends to a house’s interior design.
When the workplace is your respite
Discussing the future of work post-pandemic, moving to remote work, or some hybrid form of it, may be inevitable. But experts believe an inescapable fallout of the push towards remote work will be a disproportionate burden on women. This, we witnessed during the various stay-at-home mandates: Women found themselves taking on more of the care work when they worked from home.
What happens when women claim their time to do absolutely nothing
In a densely dark and quiet street, a young woman walk-dances as she heads home after work. Another lies on the ground in the middle of the day, taking a nap with a book over her face. A middle-aged woman leans leisurely on a pile of tall grass that she herself has cut.
Such are the glimpses of women’s leisure lives that Surabhi Yadav shares with us on her Instagram account, “Basanti: Women at Leisure”.
Laundry room ideas for your balcony design
Both creatively designed and functional, these utility balcony ideas are perfect for Indian homes
A ubiquitous sight in most Indian apartments, the dry balcony can do so much more than it is ever expected to. Woefully however, it is often turned into a nondescript area extension in which to dump unwanted knick-knacks and objects that have nowhere else to be. No matter! With just a bit of need-based planning, a fair amount of interior design knowledge (we’ve got a bit of that!), and a few utility balcony ideas, the dry balcony can be transformed into a utility balcony space.
Why can't writing be treated as ordinary profession? Unromanticising it just makes life easier for writers
The writing life’s glorification, often propelled by half-baked depictions of it on TV and films – and now, social media – tends to lend an elusive, abstract dreaminess around what is essential work, albeit of a certain kind.
Writing is creative work, and it comes with its own caveats and frustrations, but its unnecessary idealisation only gets in the way of ultimately bettering them.
A new book focuses on the South Asian experience of periods
Creative euphemisms for it notwithstanding, menstruation as a topic does not really need to be smoothened obliquely to attract readers. It is inherently interesting for roughly half of the population, even when—and also because—it is laced with taboo and shame. Conversations about and around menstruation, particularly about menstrual health, hygiene, management, and its politics in a capitalist society, are immanent.
‘Mindwandering Is Where Creative Thinking Happens’
ISRAELI COGNITIVE neuroscientist Moshe Bar’s book, "Mindwandering", couldn’t have been released at a more propitious time. There is a certain doomsdayness to the world in its present state. We’re slowly emerging from the pandemic into a world where some countries are at war and a climate crisis that is only worsening. Our minds go wandering along different alleys of thought, perhaps more so now than before; we can’t stop our minds from buzzing with all kinds of concerns and scenarios, even if we tried. And here is Bar championing mindwandering (with certain caveats, of course).
How artist duo Bohra Sisters bring alive childhood memories
A woman sits elegantly on a sofa with tea things around her, intermittently blinking at the viewer as a Hindi song plays in the backdrop. As it rains, an older couple and two children gather near a tea stall waiting for chai. Schoolgirls stop on their way home to shake a branch and collect the flowers that shower from it.
These are some of the moments of stillness that the Instagram handle Bohra Sisters capture in their animated artwork.
Could literary newsletters, and their influential creators, impact Indians' reading habits?
Literary newsletters have accomplished what many literary magazines and online publications have arguably been unable to: make poetry and literature a little more accessible. For a lot of these writers, newslettering is as much driven by a personal curiosity and need to express and experiment as it is out of love for poetry, art and literature itself.
The Magic of Mermaids
Sharanya Manivannan’s gorgeously illustrated, evocative novel Incantations over Water weaves a tapestry of lore, mythology, magic, and history featuring mermaids, those fantastical sea-based creatures we tend to assume sprang from European imagination alone. Except that in Manivannan’s rendition, they seem less fantastical, more victims of anthropocentricism taken to an extreme.
Unpacking the ‘big sister’ dynamic in South Asian cultures
Respect for those older than you is embedded in language itself. In several Indian languages, like Hindi for instance, the pronoun you is translated into tu for those who are the same age as you or younger. For those older than you, the pronoun used is tum or, more politely and often formally, aap. When you’re talking to friends, you always use tu. But when it’s someone you’re calling “older sister”, you’re going to use tum – it follows the logic of the epithet bestowed.
Mumbai's green space for ladies only
Shama Khan Aqeel is a blur of black as she zips past me in the garden. I am sitting on a bench under trees so high they give an illusion of vastness to an otherwise rather small park. A little later, I see her doing stretches; the burqa doesn’t seem to limit her. I look for a moment to ask her for a photograph. Flushed and flustered, she agrees.
What it means to travel the world as a Muslim woman
What does it mean to be a young, Muslim, desi woman walking the streets of Shanghai alone, sometimes in a hijab? What’s it like going off on your own to the mountains to teach children in a remote village in Kashmir when you have never travelled alone? And most importantly, what happens when you decide to be brave and do those things and, in a sense, “step off the edge”?
“You think you are going to fall, but you actually fly,” says Shubnum Khan, the South African writer of How I Accidentally ...