Essays and Nonfiction

Guest Essays on Jeff VanderMeer’s site

Paradigm Shifts and the Reading / Writing Life

The Decolonization of the Mind

In Search of Indian Science Fiction

Women Writing in India

The Creatures We Don’t See: Thoughts on the Animal Other

Science Fiction & the End of the World

India Currents

Nonfiction written for India Currents, a widely circulated monthly magazine published from California for the Indian-American community.

Illuminating Nature’s Secrets: A Profile of Physicist George Sudarshan

I first came across George Sudarshan’s name in a graduate course in Particle Physics . Among other things he is responsible for a theory that correctly explains the Weak force (a sub-nuclear force that is considered one of the fundamental forces of Nature), the idea and theory of the tachyon, and a bunch of advances in quantum optics. He is at the University of Texas in Austin and is still going strong in his 70’s, busting the stereotype that physicists can only have good ideas into their thirties. When I lived in Austin I got to know him and his wife, who is also a physicist, through another mutual interest, Indian Classical music (but that is another story).

Nobody’s Children: Udayan Ghar and the Compassion of Kiran Modi

During one of my visits home to Delhi a couple of years ago, a family friend told us about a unique orphanage in Delhi at which she volunteered. I visited there and talked to the extraordinary woman who started Udayan Ghar. It was a truly moving experience.

Women’s Rights as Human Rights: Two South Asian lawyers challenge anti-women laws and policies

This the first article I did for India Currents, in which I interviewed two South Asian lawyers in the U.S. working with grassroots organzations in South Asia for women’s rights.

Science Articles and Musings on Writing

Distant Worlds: The Search for Planets Outside the Solar System published in Strange Horizons. This appeared when about a hundred extra-solar planets had been found (we’re at a count of 360 or so in 2009). I really had fun with this article, and some of the methods that people use to find extra-solar planets are nothing short of ingenious. It boggles the mind if you think about how much we can find out about other celestial bodies simply from starlight.

On the Importance of Imaginative Literature

I wrote this article for the South Asian Women’s Forum ezine (the old ezine, before they got glamorous) back in 2001, when I was still unpublished. It grew out my frustrations with the snobbishness of those who consider Imaginature Literaure to be escapist trash without merit. Not that there isn’t plenty of trash in the genre, but there is such a thing as throwing out the baby with the bathwater…

Sadly, the forum is now defunct, but this is a copy of the article from the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine.

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