The 18th March Project – Post 5

I’ve just finished reading An Era of Darkness: the British Empire in India by author, politician, diplomat/ Indian candidate for the post of UN General Secretary a couple terms ago, Shashi Tharoor.

It’s his take on why the British owe the subcontinent.

He definitely makes a number of valid points.

Did the British do a lot for India? No. Neither did the Portuguese, or the French. (At least the French considered the people in their colonies ‘citizens’. The Portuguese did too, for a split second, a little bit before Salazar grabbed power.)

Do the imperialist nations (including but not limited to the Dutch, the Belgians, the Spanish, and the Japanese to some extent) owe the rest of the world? Yes.

And you know the easiest way to begin making up for it? Don’t charge us for clean technology. Give it to us for free.

Why? You ruined indigenous industry so your own would flourish, and decimated and degraded indigenous populations for centuries because they didn’t fit in the neat little box of your insular culture(s). You can at least help us protect the planet while raising our people out of poverty. Let’s face it, they are probably in it because you moved populations around to suit your needs, and messed up our economies. (Fun fact: India’s economy was equal to roughly a quarter of the global economy in the early 18th century, but is at maybe 9% today, nearly 70 years after Independence.)

No, the people who live in and legislate for the ex-imperialist countries are not the same ones who came and took over something that wasn’t theirs. But you’ve benefitted from your ancestors’ rapacity.

Let’s make the world a better place now, because we can’t undo the past.

Let’s have some form of reparations.

Day 26 100words100days Build your own superhero(ine)

I couldn’t decide whether to make the superperson male or female. Then I thought- it doesn’t matter.

460 words.


You don’t need to know my name. I can leap from tall buildings and soar through the sky, I can lift at least ten times my own weight, and I am brilliant. I have trained hard, studied harder and I have access to some fairly innovative tech, though I’m nowhere as cool in that respect as Iron Man.

Am I sexy? Do I have flowing locks or a transfixing stare or a ripped body? Am I black or white or somewhere in between? Am I rich or poor or middle-class? It doesn’t matter.

I can quote Shakespeare (whom I am not particularly fond of) and Rumi and Dickinson (Emily, for those who don’t know) and Angelou, while stopping criminal acts as they happen. (Often, the quotes are enough to make the perpetrators run away. Uncouth individuals!)

I can deliver a back kick that is a powerful deterrent to any future misdemeanours, and a graceful yet mighty uppercut.

My secret weapon is my long braid. It functions as a whip, or a lasso, or whatever else I can fashion out of it at a moment’s notice. (Yes, I use an amazing shampoo and conditioner, which shall remain secret like the KFC sauce mix. I also credit my weekly hot-oil scalp massage for the strength of my braid.)

Because of my ‘four eyes’, I also have the ability to discern when a person is making a mistake out of desperation, and when the cause of a crime is greed. Guess which one gets the harsher punishment.

And if you really piss me off, I will throw whatever I have in my hands at you, whether a basketball or a pair of knitting needles, with deadly accuracy.

What’s my back story? I’m no tortured soul a la Bruce Wayne, no experiment a la Bruce Banner, no demi-goddess a la Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman). I’m just a human being who saw things going wrong in the world and decided to right them.

I make mistakes, but I can honestly say that I get things right more often than I get them wrong. I have days when I am so eaten up by remorse, or bruised by combat with a villain, that I can’t move forward, or go to my day job. My bosses are cool: they call these ‘duvet days’.

My costume depends on the season. I believe in dressing for comfort, so none of that skin-tight leather nonsense for me. Being aerodynamic is important; being able to breathe even more so. I favour greens, blues, and browns. There are no letters on my clothing to proclaim who I am, because really, I’m Every Person. I’m thinking of getting a tattoo that says that.

Join me in the fight for a better world.


Thank you Commerce folk for your input (braid, basketball, nature)

Day 27: Write a summary of a match/game (cricket, football, etc.)

Day15 100words100days Describe the nicest meal you’ve ever had (fiction/non-fiction)

I’ve had some wonderful meals with people I love, meals that they have cooked for me, or I’ve cooked with them. Memories of grandparents and houses in different parts of the world where I am a younger one, loved and well-fed, compete with days spent honing culinary prowess in kitchens (or on terraces) across the state of Goa with my peers.

I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) choose just one wonderful meal, or praise just one amazing chef (I’m diplomatic that way). So I chose the best bits and tossed up an ideal-meal salad. 280-something calories, with a side of senti. Kindly note that the ambience does indeed matter.


I’m eating with my family and friends. Perhaps it is a celebration of some achievement; perhaps all it is is a fellowship meal (we’ve already thrown the Ring into the fires of Mordor). We are relaxed, in a place where we are comfortable and safe, probably outdoors under a shamiana. Those who can are seated on mats on the ground, and there are chairs for those who can’t. Our food is on jackfruit-leaf plates, our cups are reusable (and will be reused or I’ll have something to say about it).

It is not too warm. We are near water; we hear it lapping at the shore or banks (sea or river, I wouldn’t mind either one). Later, once the half-hour our elders tell us to wait is over, we will go down to the water and splash about. Maybe I will “accidentally” fall in. On second thought, I now have to be more careful about what I’m teaching the young ones, so maybe I won’t fall in.

The food itself is simple fare, not because I don’t like things like sorpotel and chourico and cafreal and palak paneer (I ❤ them, especially the last one), but because those are not the best things to eat on a t-shirts-and-shorts kind of day. It will have to be finger food; that won’t require any cutlery. And everyone knows food tastes better when you eat with your fingers

Perhaps falafels and hummus, cutlets- both vegetarian and non-veg (i.e. meat and fish)- with pao if people want it, samosas, shredded cabbage, carrot and cucumber sticks (you can’t eat fried food only), and fruit for dessert- something locally, organically grown (if I were in Goa now, I’d be feasting on watermelon from Parra).


Thank you to all my aunts and uncles, especially on Mum’s side, for all the food and fondness, and to my friends who have fostered me, and to my own parents for whom food is both a basic biological need and a simple expression of deep love. You have, as a collective, inspired the sentiment behind this post.

Day 16:  A short essay on etymology