Desiring Delhi

Can cities feel desire? In November 2013, Google India released an advertisement that went viral within seconds of its release. Titled “Reunion,” the ad follows a simple yet effective storyline of reuniting friends who have been separated by a throw of the historical dice. In the throes of nostalgia, a grandfather named Baldev reminisces to […]

Geographies of Intimacy in Hyderabad

‘Hyderabad: Young couple caught kissing on camera in metro lift’ was the headline of The Times of India newspaper in February 2019. This was followed by a CCTV footage of a young couple, which went viral on social media. The news report also said that the station where this happened was being identified to take […]

Mapping Excesses, Mapping Bodies: Red Dress Waali Ladki, the City and Sexual Violence

Red Dress Waali Ladki demands to be held in generous, capacious headspaces, unafraid perhaps of what kind of associations it may bring about, or what kind of searing trace it may leave. Holding, witnessing and sharing space with Diya Naidu, who conceptualized and performed this piece, is not a disembodied participation – one enters the […]

Efflorescence of Love: Male Same-Sex Desire in Early Modern India

“” What if I cannot see you, my Sulaiman / Your image dwells and moves in my eyes.” (Saleem Kidwai, 2000). This line is from the eighteenth-century Urdu poet of Delhi, Abdul Hai “Taban” who is pining for his beloved, Sulaiman – another contemporary poet. In the literary collections of early-modern texts in languages like […]

The Seductions of the Night

As children we used to play a game called “dark room”. It was basically hide and seek with all the lights off and played in a single room. The den waited outside while everyone hid and then came inside to locate people. There was a lot of touching and feeling, and heavy breathing and opportunities […]