A Handful of Stories

Long and short features on the arts. Some science. And a few profiles

Author Archive for sohinichattopadhyay

Sari and I

The sari in the urban office space is a message: see, I can handle this extravagant, ancient garment without zippers and stitches and convenient buttons. I can wrap it round and tuck it in strategic places without looking absurd. I can walk around, climb up stairs, carrying yards and yards of excess fabric on my person, without tripping. I can…

The Birth of a Male Contraceptive

It was while purifying water that the thought of contraception came to the mind of Professor Sujoy Kumar Guha. The IIT-Delhi professor, who had already earned the reputation of a maverick, had been commissioned with finding a cheap, effective means to disinfect drinking water by the Government of India. Guha, an admirer of the eel, had written a paper—as part…

The Idea of Poonam Pandey

THANE AND MUMBAI ~ On the afternoon of 16 March 2012, when Sachin Tendulkar hit his hundredth century in international cricket, nearly every radio station in Mumbai lined up the song Chak De! Indiaand a Poonam Pandey joke in tribute. As radio wisecracks go, it wasn’t much of a cracker. “Don’t do a Poonam Pandey,” a chirpy male RJ advised his even-chipper…

Mamata Banerjee: A profile circa 2014

As West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rides a wave of triumphalism before the general election of 2014, a visit to her state reveals all is not as funny as the Trinamool leader’s limericks. Trinamool Congress chairperson and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a painter, and a poet, essayist and writer with 45 books to her authorship. Her preferred…

The Space Idli Mission

K Radhakrishna, the man who cooks up the things Indian astronauts will eat in outer space, also has made-to-order space rasgullas, curries, fruits and vegetables on his menu In January 2010, five months after the unmanned moon probeChandrayaan was abruptly terminated—a  year before its completion, since radio contact with the mooncraft was lost—the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) announced a…

Why Ved Mehta Writes a 100 Drafts

The stories writer Ved Mehta—polite even when he edits your English, soft-spoken, precise in speech—tells you in person are very often anecdotes you would find recounted in his enviably large body of work. Or observations he has made in other interviews, which can be found handily collated on his website. There are also some marvellous, fantastical anecdotes that make an…