banno, dhanno and teja in bumm-bumm-bhole-land

prabhu ki kripa

Prabhu is 10. He is standing with his shoe-polish box, in a corner at Connaught Place. He says: Can I polish your slippers? I say: You won’t spoil the sole, … Continue reading

April 14, 2015 · 6 Comments

ramesh and bhima smile reluctantly

Ramesh and Bhima were begging outside a South Indian cafe. They are dressed as faux-sadhus, and carry thick ropes around their shoulders, with which they offer to whip themselves for … Continue reading

September 29, 2012 · 14 Comments

on making Urmila and Sheela smile

They walked up to the taxi at the signal. I was ready with my camera. I rolled down the window and said, “I’m going to take a photo of you.” … Continue reading

September 23, 2012 · 26 Comments

this elephant is saying sorry

In the last week of my stay here, Mukhtar has been re-assigned to the first floor. So now my friends Nam and Fake Nagraj have elephants and dogs in their … Continue reading

November 3, 2011 · 25 Comments


They do not try to please. They are wary, almost hostile. Sukhbai has learned from her elders to keep her face impassive while she performs. They tell me her name … Continue reading

October 22, 2011 · 17 Comments

afternoon goods

The goods compartment smells a little fishy. But that’s compensated for by the expanses of space available in comparison to the other compartments, and the breeze racing through the open … Continue reading

September 30, 2010 · 10 Comments

an encounter with some angels in hell

Rukhsaar glared at us and said: “Why are you here? To make fun of us?” I said: “No.” Dhanno, already devastated by her first 30 minutes there, said apologetically: “I … Continue reading

July 2, 2010 · 13 Comments

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