Mothers and Sons: Magical moments during the lockdown

This week we present two mothers, Vini and Dimple who share an interesting history. They are both alumnae of The Department of Human Development and Childhood Studies at the Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, which is also our alma mater. To add to that, they have sons who are around the same age. It […]

The Himalayan Desert: Where solitude and isolation are a way of life

Part One: The Place In these strange times, remote areas of the country seem to have receded even further into the wilderness, and one wonders if and when they will be accessible again. For a while at least, the travel industry will be hit by the restrictions. Perhaps this is an opportune moment for a […]

Has the Pandemic Shaken Up the Indian Middle-Class Household?

As I reflect on pending tasks like attending to unwashed dishes, a pile of sweaty clothes, or proposed projects, finding the mindspace for writing posts for Masala Chai has become a serious challenge. By the time there is some semblance of domestic order, the most productive hours have slipped past and the heavy heat of […]

A Golden Carpet and other (Covid) Conversations

“What the lockdown teaches us is that we have much less control over the external world than we realise, but much more control over our internal world than we suspect.” Pico Iyer, April, 2020 Times have changed A lot has happened since we last posted an essay on Masala Chai. It has taken us a […]

Granny-love in the mountains

Dear readers, we had planned on posting the second review of the Netflix documentary Babies titled “Love in the time of Infancy”, but plans changed. We became a little fatigued with viewing MRI scans and hearing about Oxytocin levels as “evidence for the existence of love” between babies and parents, and the essay is as […]

Math, Morality and Gambling: Card-games and Kids in the Himalayas

When and how should young children be permitted to handle cash? Is it even necessary anymore? This question is not easy to answer, and we had a hard time constructing today’s essay around this question. As concerned adults, we often struggle with the sequence and pace of bringing the outside world into children’s lives, sometimes delaying or even denying the entry of unfavourable events or difficult themes. This also raises concerns about overprotection and isolation, the consequences of which can be equally frightening. One important decision relates to handling cash, and children can learn a lot from the ways in which money is used around them. As our economies move further away from direct cash exchanges, conversations about money and related process like profit, loss, value and probability are also affected. In this post, we invite you to a discussion around an observation Vishwas Raj made during our Himalayan Chai project, and welcome your comments regarding card-games and young children.

Motherhood as fungible

Fungibility is defined as the property of a commodity, the components of which are essentially interchangeable. Although the term is most used in the fields of economics and engineering, it has recently become a personal favourite for many reasons. An important one is its possible applicability to human relationships. In this essay, I use it to discuss a quality of mothering.

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 […]

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 […]