Recent Posts

Reposting Gilly’s story

Friends, this morning, we are reposting an essay from several months ago, in case some of you may have missed reading about Gilly. We’ve just celebrated Children’s day in India and it’s an opportune moment for us to reflect on our relationships with children, and what we can learn from our association with other creatures. […]

Risk and protection: Addressing real and imagined fears we have as parents

Some months ago, we received a piece from Bhavna Negi about a family conversation. With the post, we wish to initiate a discussion of our anxieties as parents, and to question why, although our lives have become more secure, fears have also escalated. We are more worried about children’s safety than ever before. What can […]

Re-posting ‘Fish no more’: Beliefs about living, dying and living on

As I arranged his mane on a bed of lettuce leaves, I felt a lump of emptiness in my stomach. He was so tiny. The resplendent sheen of life had left his fins and his eyes, these were uncharacteristically clouded and colourless, quite like the overcast sky on that Sunday morning. Gentle drops of rain […]

Don’t bother! You’re incapable of learning

“Don’t bother with trying to read, I was told” In November 1988, Robin Woods received a sentence of 16 years in prison for robbery, and although he had earlier spent a couple of years behind bars before, the length and severity of his sentence was acknowledged to be disproportionately harsh. But this reference to his […]

“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 […]