Category Archives: Subcontinent

Learn from these villagers how to live long happy lives

By Sushmita Bose

I recently read a newspaper feature on a hamlet called Dhingakhedi, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It’s been nicknamed ‘centenarian village’, and the story follows the life trails of a handful of men and women in the 100-plus age bracket, who are absolutely unfazed by the fact that they have achieved something the rest of the “material world” is desperately trying to live up to: age is just a number, and you can be happy and healthy despite being well past your (alleged) “sell by date”. (Also, loved how beyond a “certain age” — in this case, 100 — nobody is unceremoniously dumped into silos: a 100-year-old and a 110-year-old, never mind the decade-long gap, are comrades-in-arms.)

Continue reading Learn from these villagers how to live long happy lives

Remember when a dirham would fetch three rupees?

By Suresh Pattali

The rupee! The thought that life is all about the nickel was thrust upon me by circumstances, watching how my parents had struggled in different roles to bring us up.  Every morning when I was about to go to the school, my dad pretended to be busy tending to the plants. He had two leather bags — stuffed with memories but no cash — that he had brought from Colombo. One was full of suits, all white.The other was smaller and full of papers, including his expired British Empire passports. Whenever I stretched my hand for money, he would routinely pull out the smaller one from underneath his bed and rummage around. By the time he lifted his face from the pile of papers, with misery writ large, I would have left the scene. So I decided to temp as a tuition teacher when I was in high school. My first earnings — Rs25 from five girls, a year or two younger than me — were customarily handed to my dad. The day the rupee made me proud. Since then the rupee and I had maintained a love-hate relationship. It was elusive whenever I chased, and I didn’t care a damn when it finally came knocking.

Continue reading Remember when a dirham would fetch three rupees?

Yes, Priyanka Chopra is 11 years older than Nick Jonas. So?

By Sushmita Bose

Straight off the bat, I’m really annoyed at the mindless jokes doing the rounds on Priyanka Chopra’s engagement to Nick Jonas. As you must have been informed, over and over again, with not one single media report eschewing the brandishing of numbers, she’s 36 and he’s 25 — and that’s evidently enough to trigger a barrage of concocted humour. There was one pictorial forward headlined: ‘Indian celebrities who have adopted kids’, with a photo gallery of Sushmita Sen and Raveena Tandon with their two girls (apiece), and then a photo of PC with NJ. One other claimed that when Nick was an “innocent” 8-year-old, PC was already (a grown-up) Miss World. A lot of members in a WhatsApp college group were tittering over one that said (roughly): “When we were young, pretty actresses were marrying older men… now that we are older, pretty actresses are marrying young men — how unfair is that?”

Continue reading Yes, Priyanka Chopra is 11 years older than Nick Jonas. So?

Proud to be a southerner, and not just because of one man

By Allan Jacob

Are you from the South? Yes. Madras? That’s what they asked me when I visited the North of India some years ago. There’s so much happening in the South… damn…these folks don’t get it, I thought. Up North, they preferred to call the lower half of the peninsula, Madras, for many decades after Independence till the city had enough and changed its name to Chennai in the nineties.

Continue reading Proud to be a southerner, and not just because of one man

How a series of odd jobs primed Hanan for stardom — and flak

By Suresh Pattali

Dear Hanan Hamid,

In the name of 35 million Malayalis, I offer you my sincerest apologies and hang my head in shame. Hanan, while you are recuperating in hospital from the trauma of virtual mauling by a pack of ferocious social media bulldogs, I am unable to promise this wouldn’t happen to another daughter of Kerala. Because we live in a dark, dark digital age where some believe they can make or break this world if they have a smartphone with WiFi. Where an army of radicals is on the prowl looking to prey on unsuspecting people in the name of God. Where social media has blurred the line between real news and fake news. Where communism, gender equality and women empowerment are debated in tea shops but never let into hearts.

Continue reading How a series of odd jobs primed Hanan for stardom — and flak