Strawberries from Palestine

This article was originally published on The Hindu thREAD.

I shuffle through the songs on my playlist restlessly while the bus remains firmly lodged in traffic. I was supposed to meet Zahra at 11 a.m., and I’m already half an hour late. Zahra sounds calm as she replies to my apologetic text, assuring me that she understands and would wait for me. Continue reading “Strawberries from Palestine”

Dispatches: Roots of a Fragmented Middle East

This piece has been published on The Hindu thREAD.

Nearly eight years have passed since that fateful December in 2010 when Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, set himself alight on the streets of Sidi Bouzid to protest repeated mistreatment by local police and the impossibility of earning a living wage in the country. That event kicked off the Arab Spring, which spread rapidly to other parts of the Arab world and led to millions of people demonstrating against oppressive, authoritarian regimes and the ineffective governance that had prevailed for years. Continue reading “Dispatches: Roots of a Fragmented Middle East”

“Songs of a Dead Laughter, Songs of Love Once Hot…”

Denver Diaries. June 2012.

Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, ever since the day I first heard of her, has been a source of utter fascination to me. She was a lot of things – writer, traveller, political officer, an influential woman in a man’s domain – but she is perhaps best known for her contribution to British policy-making with regard to the Middle East, where she worked alongside the likes of Lawrence of Arabia and King Faisal of Iraq. Continue reading ““Songs of a Dead Laughter, Songs of Love Once Hot…””