My story begins in Kerala, the land of coconuts located in the southernmost tip of India. Growing up in a fiercely matriarchal society, I was nurtured by a loving, paranoid grand mother. She let me sip palm wine at the tender age of 13. Vodka came uninvited later in life.
By 14, I had mastered the art of riding a 100 cc motorcycle, at 15, I learned driving with a nearly blind driver navigating potholes in the streets of Trivandrum, Kerala’s capital.
School was fairly uneventful, except that I learned to fail fast early in life. I embarrassed my parents so much that they had to shuttle me from school to school. Until one day, a nun in a Jesuit school realized that I had “something in me” and started encouraging me. This became a turning point and that “something in me” would come on and off like a light switch at different times in life.
In 1990, in a tiny concrete cellar in our home in Trivandrum, a window of opportunity opened up for me. Fighting mosquito bites, militant trade unionism, and power shortages, I religiously read six newspapers for close to a decade.
I disciplined myself to read The Pioneer, The Asian Age, The Times of India, Saudi Gazette, The Statesman and the Sunday Observer. The mushy smell of monsoon-soaked newsprint awakened my curious mind and I started to learn from some of the finest writers in India and the world.
By 2000, I had earned two master’s degrees in journalism. One from India in print journalism and another in multimedia journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
In a world filled with search engine rankings and telegraphic language, I am interested in sharing authentic stories and in learning from others.