Just like mom used to make

25 May 2015 – Lucky Peach

When I was a kid, my dad would take me and my siblings to make cookies with our Great Aunt Lee in the apartment she kept, a short drive away. My memories of that house are hazy at best. There’s my Aunt Lee sitting in her chair—I have zero memories of Aunt Lee when she’s standing. I remember her huge and white and blue: a big blob of a woman in a white dressing gown with a sharp, bird-like face and even sharper blue eyes, and tight curls of wispy snow-white hair. Her hands were pale, her fingers tapered, her veins blue ropes. In the kitchen, beneath a big window, blindingly white, a tray of cookies—snowballs—fluffy semi-domes of sweet dough dusted with confectioners’ sugar. When I picked them up off the tray, I would almost always get overexcited, breathe in sharply, and choke on the sugar dust. (more…)

It Takes a Village

May/Jun 2014 – Architectural Digest India

If people have one complaint about life in Mumbai – and most people have many more than that – it’s the lack of connectivity. It’s no great secret that India’s largest city is suffocating under the pressures of overpopulation, crumbling infrastructure and traffic that can turn a taxi into a torture chamber. Nor is it any great secret that Delhi has responded to Mumbai’s example by spreading like a cloud of nuclear fallout, developing a robust infrastructure of highways and metro lines to connect the sprawl of gated low-rise residential colonies. (more…)

Bandra is changing, but it isn’t being gentrified

22 April 2014 – Mumbai Boss

“Bandra has arisen from the humble rank of a village in the possession of the Jesuits – as it was in the 17th century – to be one of the most popular suburbs of Bombay.”

Braz A. Fernandes, a Goan Bandra Catholic, wrote this in the introduction to his 1927 monographic Bandra: Its Religious and Secular History. He went on to describe the arrival of the first train here in 1867, and the population boom that ensued (by 1873 there were 24 trains running between Bandra and Virar). In 1876, the Municipality was established. “The influx continued,” Fernandes wrote, “and the Christian landlord who had lived on his estate like a small potentate, suddenly found himself hustled out of the way by the wealthy Parsi. Today, Bandra is a cosmopolitan town.”