a letter to delhi

delhi, you are a ghost. I hear your voice — conversations I can’t tune out, the auto rickshaws’ whirring motor, songs on night time radio. and I feel your stare on my face, brazen, burning.

you see me, but I can’t see you.

your every turn is the same. you are strangers’ fingers on my shoulders, the push and pull of a tide of bodies driving me to the edge of myself. you are streets I can never know in the dark, where home is a hotel and an address I can’t remember.

your grey sky is oppressive, an ever-present hold against my throat. your heat is a slap in the face when I can only turn the other cheek, your constant scream of traffic a sound that never fades to the background.

the only you I grasp for is a you that no longer exists, stored away in the memory of a me that no longer exists. and as you go, you take parts of me with you.

the sleepy afternoons on the school bus home, the weekends spent riding my bicycle with training wheels on. the exhilaration of making the turn on the twisty slide at the playground, and the cool breeze in my face at the back of the auto rickshaw.

the only comfort remaining is the bitter trace you leave behind. while I can’t love you again, at least hatred is only a step away from the love I used to feel, back when you were my whole world.

with you, hate is as close as I’ll ever come to love.


Header image Aquib Akhter on Unsplash.

Lessons I Learned Over a Decade

As 2020 starts off a brand new decade, people are taking the opportunity to reflect on the previous one. The idea of ten years feels like eternity. But when I think about myself ten years ago compared to myself now, the distance seems even more vast. To map the journey from 13 to 23, here are some of the most formative lessons I learned over the last decade.


When I was 13 years old, I learned that some friendships don’t fade; they’re broken to pieces. At the same time, I realised at 14 that new bonds can quietly materialise when you’re unaware.

Ultimately, most people in life come and go. That’s just how it is. And at 15, I learned that walking long distances isn’t as difficult if you’re walking with the right people.

At 16 years, I learned what it’s like being alone despite being surrounded by people. Still, there’s hope. Old places can be imbued with new memories. At 17, the same paths I once walked in exhaustion later led to new adventures.

Continue reading “Lessons I Learned Over a Decade”

Should We Support Problematic Books & Authors?

“For some he was a war hero, a philanthropist and a profoundly altruistic man. For others he was a bully, a misogynist, and even an anti-Semite.”

Can you guess which author these words refer to? Here’s a hint: he was a children’s author recognised for his imaginative and humorous stories. Some of his most well-known books include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda.

You probably know the answer — the person being referred to is none other than Roald Dahl.

Roald_Dahl
Roald Dahl | Source: Rob Bogaerts/Anefo, via Wikimedia Commons (licensed under CC0)

Apparently, the well-loved children’s author was not so universally well-loved after all. The article from which the earlier quote is taken describes how others have perceived Dahl as intellectual yet arrogant; determined, yet selfish; a source of joy for the world, yet also controlling and disloyal.

True, accounts may be subjective. But questionable personality aside, Dahl’s books also contain problematic elements, such as traces of misogyny and unrestrained cruelty against children.

This discussion might seem irrelevant, considering it’s been decades since Dahl passed away. But his books are still around — as are other authors similar to him, whose actions and/or works have potentially problematic aspects.

Continue reading “Should We Support Problematic Books & Authors?”