Stalking Rice

Stalking Rice

Rice < a swamp grass that is widely cultivated as a source of food, especially in Asia. > Early last year, I was watching everything that made its way from inside my kitchen cabinets, to my stovetop, to my plate, and to my mouth. At the age of 54, I’d forced myself to...
Under The Peepal Tree

Under The Peepal Tree

Peepal < fig tree of India noted for great size and longevity; lacks the prop roots of the banyan; regarded as sacred by Buddhists > I knew that the word peepal originated in Hindi and that it referred to the species of sacred fig native to the Indian subcontinent. It...
Langur Around the Bend

Langur Around the Bend

When I consulted a dictionary on the Internet, I found out that the langur monkey lived on “grain, fruit, pods of leguminous trees and young buds and leaves” available in the forest. Based on my observations, however, I held another theory despite what I read. In the...

On a Reunion Dinghy

“I see we don’t have life-jackets,” my friend Bernie said, grimacing. We were high school classmates from Tanzania on a summer holiday and we had been planning our reunion, with husbands in tow, for about eight months—Bernie from Canada, Meenakshi from...
All That Tamasha

All That Tamasha

tamasha noun. a grand show, performance, or celebration, especially one involving dance; a fuss or confusion. I had been reading Ramachandra Guha’s India After Gandhi, a riveting account of India in the years following Independence and the word “tamasha” leapt out at...
A Thug Among Us

A Thug Among Us

Thug noun. a violent person, especially a criminal. a member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s....