Nestled in my grandmother’s housing complex (usually called “the colony”), smack-dab in the center of town, was a tree. It wasn’t the typical banyan or coconut tree that one would expect in the warm climate. It was a Douglas Fir. It had been unusually hot and muggy this December, but the tree was ready for Christmas, dressed in tinsel, ornaments, more than 7,000 dancing lights, and a giant star.
TRAPPED BETWEEN CULTURAL TOLERANCE AND FEMINISM – featured on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls
My mother had once mentioned to me an old tradition in South Indian villages where women were supposed to refrain from housework during their period. Apparently, the practice had started during ancient times, when women performed labor-intensive tasks. They were expected to fetch water from the well, cook meals for large, extended families and perform a battery of household chores that required a great deal of physical exertion. So, when their “chums” time came, this blanket ban on work was supposed to give them a few days’ rest. I figured this was literally ancient news, though. There was Midol now! And heating pads!
THE PIPELINE PROBLEM: WHERE DO THE WOMEN GO? – featured on Upworthy
THE TIMES OF INDIA
IN HIGH SPIRITS – 19102013_TNMYLP_MP_02_1_COL_R1.qxd
Mylapore locals are mobilising to close down TASMAC “wine shops”. Their efforts might be futile…
DIVERSE DIWALI – 01112013_TOICH_SPB_02_1_COL_R1.qxd
Despite the presence of wildly disparate communities in the city, people come together during the festive season to celebrate
CHENNAI ON WHEELS – 01112013_TNVL_MP_03_1_COL_R1.qxd
Fifteen-year-old Tejeshwar Ashok is on a roll. He was first, and youngest, inline speed skater to be chosen to participate in India’s world championship team. The sky is the limit for this ambitious teen.
Combine the activist acumen of Occupy Wall Street and the focus and fervor behind the Trayvon Martin rallies and we’ve hit the sweet spot. But OWS has lost its way. As I write this on Wednesday night, 300 NYPD officers, including second in command to Commissioner Ray Kelly are preparing to arrest protesters. And the good energy surrounding the Trayvon Martin rally has all but evaporated.
WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS
People wonder why voter turnout is low in this country. They wonder why the electorate is apathetic, why young people don’t participate in their democracy. Silly questions, all of them. Even I, a relatively political young person, sometimes see the whole thing as futile. My vote will be a grain of sand on a beach of votes. Yet not all votes are equal. The votes of the rich and the votes of those who live in certain districts are more valuable and powerful. Why should I bother fighting to make my voice heard when it’s so difficult to do so, and my relative influence is so minute?
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, JOURNALISM OF EMPATHY
Vanessa and I are standing under a tree in the heart of Harlem. I hold my phone awkwardly between us to record the improvised interview. The men playing chess across the street look at us, perplexed.
“I started with Literacy Partners at the age of 21. I’m now 31,” she says. “It’s a struggle, it’s stressful. I cry. I feel like I’m not a good enough mother. I feel like maybe if I was more educated, I would be even a better mother. I’m 31 years old and I read like a fourth grader. My son reads better than me.”
Reading street signs is a struggle. So is the mail…
I think this is what Sharma means to say when he brings up this new-fangled “Hindutva”, which he asserts, is the dominant face of the religion today. Under the guise of unification, leaders have created a convenient definition of this religion to ensure that people toe the line and feel guilty when they don’t. The trick, I suppose, is to think critically, to test every belief we hold and identify contradictions between them. If we do not question constantly, we will wake up one day in a cold sweat wondering, whose way of life is this?