Siliguri-based independent journalist, I have previously worked with The Telegraph and The Economic Times. I write on politics, culture, media and social justice, among other things. I chase stories in India and also in neighbouring Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. My bylines have appeared in Scroll.in, Mint Lounge, Forbes India, The HinduHimal Southasian, The Fountain Ink, Yahoo!Originals, Nikkei Asian Review, The New York Times (India Ink blog), The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, World Politics Review, and The Diplomat, among others.

I was a Reuters Fellow at University of Oxford, 2012-2013, International Journalists’ Programme fellow to Germany in 2010 and Rotary Group Study Exchange fellow to Brazil in 2010.

Mother. Wife. Sister.

Recent Stories

Did Zaira Wasim succumb to religious Fundamentalists and Trolls?

Many years ago, I vaguely remember watching on Doordarshan a TV programme in which the sleuth, alerted by some noises inside a house, rings the doorbell pretending to be a postman. When the lady of the house appears, he slips a hand-written note to her in which he asks her if everything is fine. She…

Read more Did Zaira Wasim succumb to religious Fundamentalists and Trolls?

Silent shades of the tea leaf

The posters show the women smiling, with the picker’s basket behind them. In truth, they are maximally exploited minimally paid by the tea industry. A group of men huddles by the side of the tea bushes in the shade at Dheklapara Tea Estate in the Dooars. Close by in the sun, about 30 or so…

Read more Silent shades of the tea leaf

A replica of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in England could be a lesson in conservation for India

It was a pleasant summer day – bright sun, blue sky, puffy cumulus clouds and an occasional gentle breeze. There was a flurry of activity at the station as the coal-fired locomotive of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway huffed and puffed. Its murky smoke mingled freely with the chai, samosas and sel rotis, amid occasional cries…

Read more A replica of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in England could be a lesson in conservation for India

In Darjeeling, the BJP is silent on Gorkhaland demand – but most Gorkha parties are supporting it

At Pussimbing tea estate in the Darjeeling Hills, any talk of the Lok Sabha election is unwelcome. “Sorry, please don’t ask us anything about politics,” said a man in his twenties. Another asked: “Is there any democracy here? We say something to you today and tomorrow they may come to arrest us.” The immediate provocation…

Read more In Darjeeling, the BJP is silent on Gorkhaland demand – but most Gorkha parties are supporting it

How a 50-year-old Nepali song about cats and dogs spread to India and other parts of the world

When Deepti D’Cunha was on her maiden visit to Sikkim in 2011, she found herself being chased by a song everywhere. The “immensely hummable” tune put her in “a skippy, joyous mood” every time, even though all she could catch was the refrain Resham Firiri, Resham Firiri. “It was such a catchy tune, and it…

Read more How a 50-year-old Nepali song about cats and dogs spread to India and other parts of the world

‘They Like Our Music, Not Us’: Nepali Dalits Unite to Fight Prejudice

Khukuri has historically been the symbol of Gorkha valour and pride. Now, the makers of the machete-like knife with an inwardly-curved blade seek pride for themselves. Ambedkar on the lips, Nepali Dalits of the Indian subcontinent have joined forces to launch their first ever united, cross-border fight against prejudice and to work towards building pride…

Read more ‘They Like Our Music, Not Us’: Nepali Dalits Unite to Fight Prejudice

Featured

Silent shades of the tea leaf

The posters show the women smiling, with the picker’s basket behind them. In truth, they are maximally exploited minimally paid by the tea industry. A group of men huddles by the side of the tea bushes in the shade at Dheklapara Tea Estate in the Dooars. Close by in the sun, about 30 or so…

Read more Silent shades of the tea leaf

Neither here nor there in chhit mahal

On 6 June, Bangladesh and India signed the historic Land Boundary Agreement. Originally conceived in 1974, it was aimed at settling long-standing territorial issues between the two countries. The deal includes swapping 200 enclaves – patches of island territories surrounded on all sides by another nation. The residents now have the right to stay where they…

Read more Neither here nor there in chhit mahal

‘Are we also not Gorkhas?’ Trinamool supporters who fled Darjeeling hills want to return home

On a damp monsoon afternoon in July, a clutch of children were playing cricket in a lane in a residential area in Siliguri. Usually fond of football, which is more popular in the Darjeeling hills from where they had come, they had just discovered the joys of gully cricket – one of the ways in…

Read more ‘Are we also not Gorkhas?’ Trinamool supporters who fled Darjeeling hills want to return home