Recent Posts

“Rural children imitate whereas urban children imagine” – What? Really?

Revisiting David Lancy’s comment in Anthropology of Childhood, an otherwise fabulous piece of work. Around five years ago, I had posted this note on Facebook. We thought this debate was an interesting one to raise on Masala Chai to invite your thoughts on the matter. The original post had generated many comments that we append […]

Re-posting our first ever essay

“Papa, how will I know what is right?” The Episode It started as a regular workshop with parents at a local school. We spoke, took questions, discussed strategies for handling situations, about shyness, morality, relationships, about sibling rivalry, about aggression; the usual range of concerns parents have. Towards the end of the morning an older […]

Cutting Chai: Sing me a name to remember me by!

What is common between the Khasi hills of northeast India, the pastures of the Canary Islands and grasslands of the Black Sea region in Turkey? These three completely unconnected areas are bound by an audio thread. People who live here use sounds to communicate that borrow from nature. One of the three (we could find) […]

In Defence of Rote Learning: Conversations

Last month, I was invited by a large corporate organization to look through their project related to interventions with schools. The scheduled meeting was a phone consultation, and I received an elegantly crafted ppt to guide our conversation. Of course, the presentation was exclusively about how great the group was, with very little indication about […]

Mumbai monsoon and memories: Faith in the time of torrential rain

Some of our readers would be familiar with the stories we have collected, each of which could fill several pages. In this retelling of moral instruction through story and memories from childhood, we hope to raise the issue of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence. These ideas do not need to be believed in as real, in fact that question itself is misplaced. Myths can be personal or shared and they assist in the configuration of significant symbolic meanings and life lessons, thereby find an important place in our lives.

Can the best of intentions have negative outcomes?

Campaigns, claims and consequences With Gabriel Scheidecker On our Kadak Chai posts that address more serious stuff, we bring you a joint essay, co-authored with Gabriel Scheidecker that addresses some ethical and scientific concerns about Volunteerism and Humanitarian Aid campaigns, with specific examples from the Global South. About Gabriel: “I am a Social Anthropologist based […]

Us and Them: Exploring stereotypes about the ‘other’

Cultural differences are expressed in many ways. As members of any group, we are predisposed towards understanding experiences from an in-group perspective. Casual observations and judgments about others are common. Often unsubstantiated, these opinions can exert an influence on the ways in which we interact with others, and are therefore interesting to study. Based mostly on sporadic encounters […]

At home with the Sloths: Travelling through Costa Rica

Today, we digress a bit from our usual stories to bring you some pages from a travel diary with pictures to try to describe what it is we saw during a recent trip in Central America, a region that marks the opposite side of the world for us. Costa Rica is the home of the […]

Cutting Chai: Taste the rain!

The annual monsoon season breathes new life into the Indian subcontinent. It breaks the spell of the summer sun. Seasonal winds, heavy with moisture, collide against mountain ranges to quench the parched earth, sweeping across the country from the south-west to the north-east. This is a time for joyous celebration. India has been blessed with […]

Places we pass by on the way to somewhere else: A movie review

Representations of poverty can be very challenging since balance between romanticism and revulsion is extremely hard to achieve, whether it is in academic writing, travel promotion or cinema. Pristine, untouched spaces far from city life can be delightful to visit, but difficult to live in; especially if the “comforts” of modernity are kept as standards. […]