In defence of Uber: Is the government passing the buck?

First published in Scroll.in on 10 December 2014.

2014 was the year of the app. Come to think of it, there is no major life activity that is not being overtaken by smartphone apps. Ordering food, going to the movies, calling a cab, dating, instant messaging and forwarding inane jokes, shopping, news, posting selfies, watching online videos ‒ all of it is now through your apps. The most popular apps for those activities are Zomato, BookMySHow, Uber, Tinder, Whatsapp, Flipkart, NDTV or Times of India, Instagram and YouTube. Apart from the obligatory Facebook and Twitter. If you are a young urban professional in a big Indian city, chances are you have most of these apps on your phone. Continue reading “In defence of Uber: Is the government passing the buck?”

Two years after Nirbhaya, an ode to Delhi

First published in Scroll.in on 16 December 2014.

Every December 16 in Delhi is a gruesome reminder of how the city, and the world at large, is an unsafe place for women. Newer cases of rape continue to shock us, even as most don’t get noticed even if they get reported. Every December 16 is an anniversary of dismay. But for me it is also the anniversary of hope. Two years ago, so enormous was the public outcry over what came to be known as the “Nirbhaya case”, that it lasted a full month.

One had never thought Delhi could care, certainly not in the coldest time of the year, in the holiday season. Christmas and New Year, day and night, Jantar Mantar and Saket malls, camera phones and placards in hand, we made sure the world heard us. Continue reading “Two years after Nirbhaya, an ode to Delhi”

In Delhi’s Defence: A reply to those who criticised the ‘Nirbhaya’ protests for being Delhi-centric

For Kafila.org on 14 September 2013:

The census counts ’urban agglomerations’, and the Census of India says that Mumbai is India’s largest urban agglomeration. This includes Mumbai’s suburbs. In counting Delhi, the suburbs are not added because They are separated by state boundaries. If you were to add suburbs of the ’National Capital Region’, Delhi’s population would be not 16 million but over 22 million, making it the world’s largest urban agglomeration after Tokyo. This bustling urban centre is made of its people. Today’s Delhi cannot be stereotyped as just the seat of power. There is more to Delhi than the endless roundabouts of Lutyens’ capital. Continue reading “In Delhi’s Defence: A reply to those who criticised the ‘Nirbhaya’ protests for being Delhi-centric”

Bhanwari Devi: A mighty heart

(First published in Tehelka, 13 October 2007.)

Jaipur/Bhateri: Kiran and Vinod have actually been married for a year and a half, today is their formal reception, making their marital status public. They hail from different parts of rural Rajasthan, and were studying in different colleges in Jaipur when they met. Vinod’s father is an agriculturist from the Mali caste. Kiran belongs to a Jat family, which owns four village schools. Therein lay the problem. Continue reading “Bhanwari Devi: A mighty heart”