A Handful of Stories

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

Science and Health

‘I can’t take it anymore’: Sights and awful sounds from the labour room of an Indian public hospital

A reporter goes undercover to see how women are treated in a large government facility in Kolkata By SOHINI CHATTOPADHYAY | 31 May 2015 Munmun Mukherjee is a good patient. She lies quiet on the white stone delivery table of the government hospital in Kolkata but for an occasional low moan. Even this is muted, the edge of her voice flattened, as…

Inside the Fellowship of the Relentlessly Positive

India is said to have the third highest population of HIV positive people in the world. It’s no longer a disease anyone seems to talk about though there are fresh infections everyday. Funds are drying up and everyone’s looking away. But for those newly diagnosed, for those who have been living with it for years, hope comes from within the community…

Why Can’t HIV-Positive Indians Get Life Insurance?

It is a handsome November afternoon outside, and the mood at the monthly meeting of the Delhi Network of Positive People in Neb Sarai is relaxed, cheerful Saturday. There is giggling and catching up, a wedding invitation has been issued to all present, there are plans for singing and dancing later on. Tea is being made, biscuits have been ordered,…

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 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…