Articulations about Sustainability 

Sustainability is an oxymoron, even professionals vaguely understand it as quote a definition from 1987 Brundtland Report. Sustainable development is understood to be different aspects to disparate stakeholders. The context is the king maker. Every geographic reality will have unique demands. Environmental, Social and Economic Strands are deeply intertwined in ways more nuanced than simplistic portrayals of portraits. 
Sustainability has an element of social and ecological justice operationalised into politics through policy, programs, projects and tactics. Sustainability at its heart is liveable communities at the sidelines of a rapidly urban space. Sustainability lies at the disciplinary borderlands of theory, praxis and imagination for a better world, undergirded by geopolitics, local governance and the neoliberal instinct to make a quick buck. 
Reimagining Sustainability is a hollow tag line if there has not been enough thought to think through the limitations of a climate change skeptic polity, identity driven articulations of every day life and the sheer mad rush for the bottom line. Rhetoric makes buy ins temporary, and rule books don’t make clean air, will to do things for a healthier world does.

Suzanna Roy: The Perils of Success

There is a literal cottage industry to undercut Suzanna Roy from critics, creative writing professors to her ideological adversaries. She will make more money than ever. It is obvious that her activism will percolate through her fiction. Lives are not lived in neat compartments. Most folks who read CB criticise her. The paradox of the aspirational middle classes. 
Her publisher will make a killing. Someone tag Meru Gokhale of possible. 

Ramadan Kareem 

The solace of the Magrib prayer, next door The smell of the tandoor for the elaborate Iftaar 

The city-region coils into family mode

Streets are empty

Shops leisurely open for patrons 

A celebration of faith deeply personal 

Life progresses into a slower track

Modernity makes space for the old

28th May 2017
Muscat. Aka Home

JNU: Site of Opposition? 

JNU VC has an incredible cv, a soft spoken engineering educator (watch the interview with Anuradha Sen Gupta on Off Centre) from IIT D of a largely popular humanities-social sciences university (that might be a major cause of the heart burn) does not seem to be the devil incarnate painted by the teachers association. What is the issue then? Just mere opposition?

Arundhati Roy: The Public Intellectual’s Arguments 

Arundhati Roy has her own seminar circuit audience in left liberal circles globally. She has a good livelihood from the incredible GOST royalties, and her lesser known, although powerfully written non fiction work which I am fortunate to have read line by line. Not all her writings are on the K issue, read Doctor and the Saint, in which she intellectually demolishes the myth of Mohandas. The Lancet talk is a good starting point at UCL a couple of years back. Folks might not agree to the entire basket of arguments she which makes including me, including critically questioning India as a political project by mocking it as an upper caste ‘Hindu corporate State’. Detractors do her a lot of good, by trolling her including a MP, Singer among others. 
The best way to counter public intellectuals is to engage with them, and ignore them where it hurts them the most. The hype is only helping her make more money by advanced orders of her new fiction book, a decade in writing and two decades after the seminal Booker Prize winning work. Suzanna’ s critique of post liberalisation India is the best diagnosis around. Read her long read on Antilla.

Conversation with a Journalist Power Couple in Oman 

Practising Journalists need to speak to J School Academics in India. We are a generation which questions barely and shouts jargons at the drop of the hat. More power to independent voices such a power couple in Journalism/Documentary Film making today evening in Muscat today. Kudos to them regarding their documentary projects in Europe, Africa and Asia. So inspirational. Their recent travel book regarding Greece was a delight. Thank you for your amazing stories from the margins of metropolis Nadim Siraj Da-Ratna di

Migrant Diaries: Muscat Field Notes 

Cities of the Gulf are made by migrants over the past fifty years. More than three generations have grown up here with a semi detached relationship with home passport countries. Malls articulate this complicated relationship status quite well; chole bature, coexists with shawarma, kahwa with karak chai. The fare from the motherland, with the material comforts of the late capitalism of the Persian Gulf, fuse seamlessly. 
Long distance nationalism fails/falters at the altar of enhanced livelihoods for the migrant from the global south. Identities are a work in progress. The migrant is respected because of the remittances back home, while meandering as a free electron in the host communities. The acceptance is something he deeply yearns. 

Air Travel as contested sites of emotion

Airports are melting pots of aspirations, compulsions and an embodiment of ‘the journey’. Budget carriers are status symbols of ‘we have arrived’ and not arrived as well, as the air steward sells tea at thirty six thousand feet, while cringing while counting the change. 6E sells masala chai at three USD/RO 1, on international flights while it is 100 rupees on a domestic one. 
Liberalisation’s child has been the air transportation sector in India. While the charm has evaporated, air travel is still very pricey in India with many towns still unmapped.