“No food,” says the ticket collector, shaking his head for emphasis, “You’re not going to get anything to eat until your destination.” Seeing the astonishment on my face, he then mumbles, “Try at Koraput”. So, here we are, three adults and two children, on a 7-hr train journey covering 200km of beautiful terrain – some … Continue reading Train to the heart of India
My earliest childhood memory has to do with food. It is fitting that this flashback, which I can recreate as if it happened yesterday, has nothing to do with flavors, textures, smells – the usual associations with food. I have a deeply political moment. I am five years old, probably six, and am in Calcutta … Continue reading Why hatred is cooking in India
By Imlifactory A Delhi businessman negotiated over many tense months to sell a large residential plot in West Delhi. Finally, the deal was struck. As is the norm in many parts of India, part of the proceeds was to be delivered in cash. So, the buyer deposited Rs 10 crore ($1.5m) to a house in … Continue reading The Sinister Edge Behind Notebandi
India Inc's answer to Royal Ascot is the big business awards night. Fronted by the country's largest-selling pink paper, the Economic Times, it is our business icons' Oscar moment. As page after page of cloying coverage in the ET today reveal, it's an impressive gathering of big business and politicians. But do these much-vaunted awards … Continue reading Don’t map the economy by business award nights
A lifetime ago, one hot and dusty May evening in 1991, I kick-started my green Bajaj scooter and headed out to a friend's place in Delhi's Moti Bagh, a residential area for government officials. The plan was simple: knock back a few rums and watch (on a video cassette recorder) a movie that the local … Continue reading Let’s not hide behind TINA
Should India strive to be a superpower, after all? Or are we getting it all wrong with the idea of India? These provocative questions were posed by Mark Tully, the veteran former BBC man in India, at the Indian Express Adda in Delhi on September 24. As an old friend of India, Tully is not … Continue reading Who wants to be a superpower? India?
It's that dreaded Delhi question. Where do you stay? The query comes in many forms. It could be that horrible 'Where are you putting up?' which the scion of a prominent business family, hand outstretched, blurted out to me at the birthday party of his four-year-old daughter. Smarter people try to couch it. "Terrible traffic. … Continue reading So, where are you putting up?
In the Fall of 2008, bang in the middle of those crazy days that are now dubbed as the global economic crisis, I interviewed British historian Niall Ferguson. When I asked him whether the global economic crisis marked the end of the "American Century", the counter-factual historian was dismissive. "I wouldn’t really believe in the … Continue reading Beyond Doklam, it’s really Digital India vs China
Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chair Niti Aayog. Pic: Livemint The new boss at NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar has set the swadeshi cats among the pigeons. Days after taking charge after the choreographed exit of economist Arvind Panagariya, Kumar hit out at the proverbial "foreign hand". He said the days of foreign-trained economists driving Indian policy were numbered, … Continue reading NITI Aayog new chief’s smooth U-turn on IMF
Geoffrey Bawa is Sri Lanka's most well known architect. Public buildings and private homes designed by Bawa (who passed away in 2003) dot the island. He is famous for subtlety, lines, and working with nature. I have never stayed in a Bawa hotel, but have previously visited his brother Bevis Baba's home "Brief" (which is … Continue reading How I was seduced by the fine lines of Bawa