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In Deep Freeze

It’s not just the blog that is in deep freeze.  This was how the weather here looked the other day: Frustrating at so many levels.  This is not unprecedented cold, mind you, just too cold for early December.  We do get this kind of weather in mid-January and February.  But to start winter with this…

Mumbai protests against the gang-rape. Pic courtesy: The New Indian Express

Getting away with rape and murder

It seems one cannot open an Indian newspaper without reading about at least one rape happening somewhere every day.  This time it is a gang rape of a journalist in Mumbai.  The bastion of the last city supposedly safe for women has also fallen.  Mumbai continues to be much safer for women than many other…

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Banana Nut Muffins

A lot of muffins are being baked (and devoured even before they cool) in the Lekhni household recently.  There were the oatmeal cookies I baked a few weeks ago (mostly for the neighbors) but otherwise, it has been muffins all the way.  A big reason for this is that they are so easy to make.…

Army personnel rescuing pilgrims by a washed off road. Pic courtesy: PTI/ The Hindu

Why are there landslides in Uttarakhand?

This is a very moving survivor’s account of  the flooding at the Kedarnath shrine.  It is hard to imagine the scale of destruction and the suddenness of it, even reading news reports. To actually live through that is horrific beyond words. I keep reading reports about how the Government is not doing its job, evacuating…

A woman cycles through the streets with her children, looking for drinking water. (Pic : M. Vedhan/ The Hindu)

Why do we still have water scarcity in Indian cities?

It is a cycle almost as predictable as the boom and bust of economic cycles – every few years, the monsoon fails and suddenly, there is water scarcity in the cities. People suffer and try everything they can to tide over the shortage. Then, the next year the rains are better and everyone forgets about…

Grouse in my backyard

The hibernation is over

You know it’s time to blog more often (or shut down the blog) when the frequency of wordpress updates far exceeds that of your posts. Not that there haven’t been topics I’ve wanted to blog about.  But typing on your phone (as I am doing now) or on a tablet can be really frustrating. Maybe…

A Bharti Walmart store in Amritsar. (Pic courtesy : PTI/ The Hindu)

7 reasons why FDI in retail is good for India

Now that the government has approved FDI in multi-brand retail, it has paved the way for the likes of Walmart and Amazon to set up shop in India. Predictably, there have been protests from shopkeepers and Bharat Bandhs from political parties.  Street vendors are saying the government is ignoring the working class, while others are…

S (at 6 months) "reading" an ebook

Sleepless in this metropolis

You know you are in trouble when WordPress has software upgrades more frequently than you have published posts.  In fact, every time  have opened my blog this year, there has been a new upgrade, which is not a reassuring thought at all. I may be an extreme case, but apparently, I am not alone.  It…

Hospice care and in-home nursing in India

My grandmother died last week.   When I heard the news I was profoundly relieved.  Sad, yes, but mostly relieved.  Let me tell you why. She had spent the last month or more in the hospital, mainly in the ICU at a big name hospital.  A great team of doctors was taking care of her round…

Pic : Flickr/ S_W_Ellis

Corruption in the RTO

Long years ago, I went to the Regional Transport Office twice – the first time to get my two-wheeler driving license, and the second, to get my car driving license.  Both are still valid, which means, in theory, that I can drive a car anytime I go to India, if I am feeling particularly brave,…

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Hockey on the pond

Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog got  it badly wrong when he looked at his shadow this week.  Six more weeks of winter? We are still in winter? Yes, I know it is February and normally the peak of winter, but this year winter seems to have made a guest appearance. There is practically no snow on…

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Book Review: Growing Up Amish

If you are like me, the only time you have ever met an Amish person is when you have stopped off to look at the sturdy furniture they make.  You are fascinated and mystified at their 1800s lifestyle (no electricity, cars or phones, or even indoor plumbing) but don’t know a whole lot more about…

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Blank excuses

The other day, I sat down with a lot of enthusiasm to blog.  I typed a few words in the WordPress editor, and they promptly disappeared.  I typed a few more, and they too, joined their companions into invisibility.  I could still see my words in preview mode, so they were clearly there somewhere, but…

pic courtesy Reuters

On marrying your rapist in the name of law

What is worse – being sentenced to twelve years in prison because you were the victim of a rape, or being “pardoned” by your country’s  President on the condition that you marry your rapist, thus entering a lifelong hell? Gulnaz’s story is horrific at multiple levels.  A system which charges rape victims with adultery is…

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Review: The Taliban Shuffle – strange journalism

If you wanted to know why the coverage of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the West is so shallow and uninformed, you should read this book.  The author, Kim Barker was the South Asia Bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune from 2004 to 2009.  But if you were looking for any insight on Afghanistan (where she…