Category Archives: Uncategorized


They are as different as chalk and cheese, my children. One is camera shy and a quintessential bookworm, in love with trivia, already geekily inclined. The other is a self-professed ‘Mondo’- half monkey, half dog (no space for human!). Sporty, wild, social, comfortable with considerable artistic expression. 

They are best friends and the worst of enemies, you never know which is when. They are in that stage when their personalities are beginning to emerge, take shape. And it’s fascinating to observe how much happens every passing day in their busy busy lives. 

A pic to illustrate the sheer joy of being a child. And the fun you can have when you can be whatever you are, whatever you want to be…..

Pic credits: my friend Maneesha and mom, Sita  

Learning to be unapologetic: My own brand of feminism

If there is anything I have learnt in my journey into feminism, it is the strength to be unapologetic. Let me explain.

The experience of being a woman in Indian society is hugely shaped by relationships to men. From the time of birth, a woman is defined as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother. While relationships bind men too, men are also encouraged to develop independent personalities. Cast in the role of bread winners and ‘heads of households’, developing an independent identity is seen as necessary and assertion is very much considered a masculine trait.

For many girls of my generation who were fortunate to be born into families where women were relatively emancipated, growing up was largely about finding an identity that detached itself slightly from the fetters of those relationships but we were expected to perform the balancing act and still hold on to them.

I am not cut out to be a non-conformist, so in my student years and and as a young mother, I struggled to maintain that balance. To meet my ideals of being a good daughter (excel is academics/work, be well-behaved), a good wife (supportive, a peaceable companion), a good mother (available, involved, loving, one who prioritizes her children over all else). Of course, the ideals themselves were reflective of a certain attitude to gender in our society, but that’s how it was and perhaps still is.

But somewhere along the way, it became very tiring to toe that line, to always be in the midst of that balancing act. I realized that being constantly up there on the balancing beam only diminished my chances of succeeding at those very self-expressed ideals. Each time I yelled at my kid, or over-reacted to something my husband said, I felt something was fundamentally off.

And then realization dawned. I realized I was constantly apologizing for myself in my head. I was being so hard on myself, holding myself to some golden standard and apologizing- to myself, to my family, my friends even. That was something I was determined to change.

At about the same time, I started to read feminist texts and blogs and interact with feminist thinkers. I was fascinated by the idea of sprouting wings that would help me detach myself from bounds. But the emphasis on freedom and emancipation puzzled me. Not only was it important for me to be unapologetic about what I did and how I behaved (within the bounds of humanism and reason), it also became vital for me to challenge those notions of feminism that urged me to feel ashamed of my dependence on my spouse, my sense of involvement with my children or my unwitting endorsement of patriarchal social rituals. I became truly unapologetic. I became a follower of my conscience. I began to hold a harsh mirror to myself, but with one big rule. To never feel sorry about myself. To do what I think is right. To never allow apology and shame to haunt me, but to learn from my errors and keep moving forward.

Happy International Women’s Day!thumb_DSCN0914_1024

My Christmas in 2015

Udai’s Christmas was very exciting this year! Check it out…


My Christmas this year was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. My family and I went to visit my mother’s friend’s house. Kimberly is my mama’s friend from work and she with her mother, Jean, and father, Wilson, invited us to their home in Mumbai to celebrate Christmas.

The Noronhas are Catholics and so began my experience of an actual Christmas. My previous Christmas experiences consisted of getting a tree inside the house, going to sleep jumpy on Christmas eve, then waking up on Christmas morning and opening my gifts. This, however was a different experience maybe not so much because of the things I did, but maybe because of the way I did the things and the mood of the event.

These were things we did-

  1. We set up the tree and put a lot of decorations on it. Unlike the tree back home this tree looked extremely good. We also…

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2015 in review, from WP

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Urban Design Collective

Film city tower_main graphic

archasm invites architects, students, engineers, designers, artists and philosophers to send in their entries for our competition.
Idea based competition
Single stage competition
Team of maximum three members
No professional qualification necessary for eligibility
Teams can be interdisciplinary

Mumbai, or erstwhile Bombay is the largest metropolis of India and an answer to the likes of Shanghai, London or New York. It is the financial capital and trade epicentre of the country, a city of lifestyles and narratives. The ‘Maximum City’ of Bombay is renowned all over the globe for the enormity and surrealism of BOLLYWOOD, which is the nickname given to the Hindi language Film Industry located in the city. The industry has come a long way and bloomed since its inception, to a multi-billion dollar industry, only second in capacity to its American cousin, Hollywood. Bollywood is a goliath in terms of revenue generation and employment, both direct and…

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FIELD URBANISM [a book review + recommendation]

Really interesting. We need newer ways to think about cities and this seems to be a good way to begin…

{FAVEL issues}

All (urban) fields are (urban) fabrics but not all (urban) fabrics are (urban) fields.

For this post I want to talk about a fascinating book that just came out, Changing Chinese Cities: The Potentials of Field Urbanism. The author, Renee Chow, is not only a Prof. of Architecture at UC Berkeley and Principle at StudioUrbis, but she was my supervisor while I did my graduate studies at Berkeley, and continues to be a mentor and friend. Aside from having a personal relationship with the author and the research done, I have to say, in the most objective way I can, that this book is full of thoughtful analysis, reflecting a new understanding of the potentials of urban fabrics, and more particularly of field urbanisms.

field urbanisms

The book offers case studies, essays, and design explorations (illustrations and diagrams) of Chinese cities to demonstrate how field urbanism can identify the…

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Karachi: The City That Was – 1

More inspiration for those who are still struggling to pen their thoughts for #TheCityasMuse contest! Nostalgia and Karachi….

TheSouthAsianIdea Weblog

By Ahmed Kamran

Yeh laash-e be-kafan Asad-e khasta jaan ki hai
Haq maghfarat kare ajab azad mard tha! (Ghalib)

If Karachi could be likened to a man, with a little liberty taken from Ghalib, this couplet could be a very appropriate epitaph for the tombstone of Karachi, the city that was! This is a series of some musings on the social and cultural aspects of the history of Karachi; how the city’s life was developed and transformed over time. It focuses on the period of 1960s and 1970s when I was young and had many dreams. What was the Karachi that my generation had inherited and what it is today? These writings have a clear ring of nostalgia. Paul Getty said, ‘Nostalgia often leads to idle speculation’. Indeed, nostalgia is distractive, breeds inaction, and, often, depression. But like some sweet-bitter memory of childhood or a sad song or a symphony…

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The life and times of a b**g*r

Of all Udai’s writings, I’ve enjoyed this the most. He really wanted to write about b**g*rs!!


I was born in somebody’s nostrils. A dark, damp place filled with our homes. When I slept I dreamt of light. I thought that my home was peaceful and I would live forever in this place.

But the next day I saw the monstrous thing. It picked up my brother. ‘It’s going to eat him up’, I thought. It flicked my brother on to the carpet. ‘How rude!’ I thought. I found that this monstrous thing or ‘the finger’ won’t leave us alone.

One day I woke up to find myself in the gutter. I stayed there for weeks and weeks. I was saved by water missiles that poured down from the skies. Next day ice and water missiles rained from the skies. I saw a massive strangely shaped giant running. Those missiles must be deadly for him to be in such a hurry.

After some months, the…

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My Ramzan food journey to Matiah Mahal, Jama Masjid

Udai pens down his recent gastronomical journey to Matia Mahal during Ramzan…. Enjoy and yes, your mouth will water!


Ramzan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. In this month, every able-bodied man, woman and teenager is supposed to fast. From dawn to sunset nothing is allowed to touch their tongues. After seeing the moon and doing Namaz they can eat whatever they want till sunrise.

A few weeks ago, I went to Old Delhi to try all the various delicacies made during Ramzan. I went by metro with my father’s friend Ruzeveh. The metro was very, very crowded. My father was waiting for me when I got to the Chowri Bazaar metro station. We walked till Jama Masjid and after some time entered Matiah Mahal.

We had seekh kebabs and beef boti at Lalu Kebabee; brain curry, tandoori roti and Nihari at Haji Shabrati; biryani at Tofiq Biryani; mango ice-cream, and kesar milk and Firni  at a shop opposite Karim’s. We drank lassi at Khabo Lassi too. I liked…

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The Story of Tommorowland (spoiler alert)

What started as a review but ended up more like a narration….


If you want to watch the movie, this gives away the story.

wordpress blog photo

The story starts with a young boy named Frank Walker, at a fair trying to win $50 by making a jet pack. The jet pack doesn’t work as well as he wants it to. There he meets a girl named Athena who gives him a pin and asks him to follow her, but to do it discreetly. He eventually reaches a futuristic place named Tommorowland. Here, his jetpack is fixed by a robot and he finds out that the receptionist at the fair is actually the leader of the future people. His name is David Nix or Governor Nix.

Fast-forward five decades and we meet Casey Newton, who is fond of space travel. She doesn’t want the launch center near her home to be destroyed. So every night she sabotages the destruction. She is caught by the police…

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