International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldforChange

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been highlighting an interesting, lesser-known woman on this particular day. Why? Mostly for the same reason that we mark this particular day: to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women. The 2017 theme for IWD is #BeBoldForChange. So, this year, I’d like to share the story of Noor Inayat Khan — a bold, badass woman I read about last year. She was also featured on Public Radio International earlier this year as the “Indian spy princess who died fighting the Nazis.” She was a Muslim. A refugee. A princess. A guerrilla fighter, trained in bomb-making, sabotage and secret communications. But above all, she was a war hero. Continue reading International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldforChange

Booknotes: Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of Women from the Ganglands

In Indian culture and society, a lot of the talk/news related to Mumbai mafia and gang violence/crime is mostly about the men–the ganglords, their aides, and their henchmen. Often, the only women we read of (or see in Bollywood movie versions) tend to be the virtuous, long-suffering wives or mothers, or the glamorous arm candy or objects of desire. Though Mumbai’s mafia men, the underworld, and organized crime have all been portrayed in movies over the decades, the cultural fascination truly took hold of the collective imagination with the 1998 movie, Satya, which was about a turf war between two Mumbai ganglords. So a book about the far lesser-known mafia women is irresistible for the primary reason that the authors offer in their introduction: “They are fascinating women because they push the boundaries of our dominant moral codes.” Continue reading Booknotes: Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of Women from the Ganglands

#Bornonthisday: Susan B Anthony (and her ‘Homes of Single Women’ speech)

Susan B Anthony, women’s rights activist, slavery abolition activist, and educational reformer, was born today in 1820. If it wasn’t for her and her many cohorts, we women today, across the world, would not be enjoying the many freedoms we take for granted. Having grown up in a patriarchal world, I constantly remind myself of these words of hers: “. . .many young people think that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past.” Continue reading #Bornonthisday: Susan B Anthony (and her ‘Homes of Single Women’ speech)

a room of one's own

Published: Your Most Formative Literary Passages (The Atlantic)

This is not exactly a story or even a longform essay. But, I am still very proud of having The Atlantic feature my thoughts on the book/passage that had a life-changing effect on me.

I have written about Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’ before. It continues to be my guiding beacon in every major life decision. Continue reading Published: Your Most Formative Literary Passages (The Atlantic)

Booknotes: A Room of One’s Own

I first encountered this book at the British Council Library in Bombay when I was eighteen years old and studying for my A-Levels. A reader had left it on one of the tables as I sat down with my books of Mathematics and Mechanics and I couldn’t resist picking it up. I read it all the way through in a day, not even stopping for lunch. And, when I left that evening, I couldn’t resist checking it out. Continue reading Booknotes: A Room of One’s Own