On Inglish

Stalking Rice

Stalking Rice

Rice 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 winnow the carbohydrate from the protein. Shunning rice on this new diet, I adopted...
Under The Peepal Tree

Under The Peepal Tree

Peepal 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 was only when I went to Bodhgaya in Bihar, however, that I discovered how little I knew about this medicinal tree. The peepal...
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....