City City Bang Bang

Weekly Column

The limits of culture and technology?

Three hundred million years ago, when the air was noxious, temperatures ranged between 600 to 1200 degrees, and poisons of many varieties oozed out from the belly of the earth, life survived on this planet. The ability that life has shown to adapt and evolve according to circumstances is quite extraordinary. What is even more… Read more »

The Covid Paradox

Living under the Covid cloud for 8 months now has been instructive. From a time when all conversations, both in the public and private spheres tended to centre around the pandemic and its transformative impact on the way we lead our lives, we can see a subtle but clear shift in the discourse. Even as… Read more »

The Body as a Stranger?

Historically, we have been estranged from our own bodies. The Covid crisis underlines just how little we understand our own bodies. For all the intense engagement we have with our own selves, we regard the insides of our bodies as an alien landscape, to be handed over to medical experts when things go wrong. We… Read more »

The Photo Album Revisited

During the many months that one has been homebound thanks to Covid, one has had to rediscover aspects of the home that have otherwise been ignored. Closets have been cleaned, papers organised, some culinary skills brushed up on and old photograph albums revisited. Going back to familiar old photo albums is an exercise in both… Read more »

Advertising as politics?

The controversy surrounding the Tanishq ad has attracted a lot of comment. Both its contents and the company’s decision to withdraw it have met with fierce criticism, albeit from different quarters. The criticism of the company for withdrawing the ad is misplaced for a number of reasons. Like any other brand, Tanishq’s primary allegiance is… Read more »

The Future of the Past?

What is it about the past that produces wisdom? Why is it so easy to believe that the ancients hold all the keys to truly deep wisdom? For civilisations to locate an essential form of truth far back in time is interesting. Why are so many battles of today based on knowledge created in contexts… Read more »

The power of disproportion

One doesn’t have to lie to tell an untruth. Of course, lying is the most direct and efficient form of untruth, but there are other ways too. For weeks now, the Indian state and much of mainstream media has been practising a different technique, one which does not depend on lying (although that doesn’t stop… Read more »

Caught between reward and guilt

The Opposition in India is completely bereft of ideas. In any other circumstances, given the fact that that the country is facing crises on several fronts, both external and internal, the Opposition should have had more than enough fodder to attack the government, but such is the dominance of Narendra Modi and his government, that… Read more »

The trouble with exams?

A recent recruitment ad released by the IIT went viral. It was advertising a position for a dog handler, in itself an unusual vocation to need in an educational institution, and compounded the bizarreness by listing in the list of possible qualifications a B Tech. Before a horde of bright eyed IIT students could make… Read more »

Towards an uncivil society?

Whenever anyone mounts a critique of the current state of media encounters one particular counter-argument. Where were you when the tilt was the other way around, when the liberal narrative held sway in almost all of media? No one complained about bias, or the quality of coverage then, did they? The power has now decisively… Read more »