Mohua Das

Assistant Editor at The Times of India, Mumbai | Formerly with The Telegraph, Calcutta 

Couldn’t believe what the newspapers said and so I became a journalist! It's been 14 years since and what a life-coach it's been as I wake up to it’s power and value, every morning. A good story isn't always about the president or popstar but everyday people and places with compelling tales. Those are the stories I hope to tell... and find the extraordinary in the ordinary!

Vaccine envy among major harmless side-effects on families of medicos post jab

Eighteen-year-old Nitant Pandya , the youngest in his family and usually the more pampered of them all, suddenly found himself navigating a new normal — of not getting his share — when the gift of life arrived for the rest of his family brimming with healthcare workers, Nitant was “happy” for them. Yet, the newly disenfranchised teenager couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy.

This unique collection of foreign posters tells the global story of Indian cinema

It seems, time travel to an alternate universe may in fact be possible. Only that the time machine isn’t a spinning wheel that disappears in a puff of smoke but comes in the shape of Indian film posters where a Govinda potboiler Gareebon ka Dost inhabits the world of Russian avant-garde, Raj Kapoor’s Jagte Raho finds expression in East German reductive art and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman is a Japanese manga artist’s muse.

Bees halt hungry elephants eyeing crops, cut human-animal conflict

After several failed attempts, Dhanesh Parashar, a 36-year-old cashew farmer from Dodamarg in the Sindhudurg district has finally found a new ally in his struggle to keep free-ranging elephants from chomping down on his crop: honey bees. Yes, elephants — the largest animal on land — are afraid of bees. So intensely that the tiny insect is helping farmers shoo away marauding elephants that could wipe out a year's harvest in one night.

Designer’s coming out as a woman magnifies transgender visibility

While she’s still trying to get the hang of walking in six-inch stilettos or adjusting her bodice, Swapnil Shinde, reborn at age 39 as Saisha Shinde, appears ready to upstage all the fashionistas that she has been dressing for the past two decades. Transgender visibility in the country reached new heights after the fashion designer came out to the world with a new name and a new face as a transwoman, becoming one of the first to break grounds with her trans identity in India’s pop culture sphere.

The differently abled start speaking up against sex abuse

As a visually impaired woman who navigates her way around with a white cane, Nidhi Goyal has often felt violated by strangers. She’s been whistled at, catcalled and groped in public places, crowded areas and on dark streets. But the story she shared with the world recently is what she calls “different, yet similar” when a disabled man who was her co-panelist at a technology and accessibility event a couple of years ago, bent over and brushed his face against her cheek.

Keema is losing the mutton, and bhurji its anda

Guess the meal these ingredients make when you blend wheat, rice, gram and quinoa flour; throw in beetroot powder and some pea protein; a dash of garlic, onion, salt and dhania; a smattering of binders; and then toss the mix into a hot kadai? A bowl of what its creators call the “unmutton curry”. One part plant, one part tech-engineered meat and one part activism—this jigsaw aimed at making it easier for meateaters to embrace a world-saving movement—comes in the shape of a kebab, omelette and sausage.

'Champions' and 'Mitras' address mental health issues in rural areas

According to Internet wisdom, the best response to a troll is indifference. But not always. A fortnight ago, a flippant social media post — “I have never ever seen anyone suffering from depression in villages and small cities... people suffer from depression in the big cities and film industries only” — saw mental health experts leap into a thread of discussion on the “medical malinformation” simply to debunk popular misconceptions such as these surrounding mental illness among rural folks.

The ‘influencers’ waging a hashtag war on Bollywood

#BoycottBollywoodDruggies — this insidious hashtag with its implication of a rampant culture of drugs and addiction in Bollywood — made social media jump in outrage on Monday. Barely a day had gone by when #BollywoodDirt picked up the baton. A third hashtag chimed in the next day — #BollyDawoodKilledSSR. A closer examination threw up a few recurring names that start and steer this bloodsport on Twitter, daily. Although a few men do not a movement make, a chat with some of the people behind these handles to understand who they are, why they do this, and how they hold sway over social media.

How sunshine is bridging e-learning gap for Ladakhis

Turning on a computer isn’t that difficult. Except, if one doesn’t have the power supply to begin with. While the pandemic era is turning out to be the biggest experiment in remote learning, many children didn’t even get on the starting grid, especially those living in the high mountain desert of Ladakh where schools lie scattered across 60,000 sq km without electricity, phone connectivity or roads, and take anywhere from two hours to three days to reach. Now, a project is using abundant sunshine to combat some of the challenges faced by schoolchildren of Ladakh, especially during the lockdown.

Child marriages in Maharashtra soar during lockdown

When Mitali Sathe stepped out of her home in Latur decked in a yellow sari, the mehendi and green glass bangles gave her away. A member of an adolescent girls' protection group spotted the 15-year-old before her marriage to a man four decades her senior. After her elder sister's death, Mitali was the sacrificial bride on offer to the 50-year-old widower: he needed her to care for the children. With the protective shield of a school gone, job loss rampant among daily wagers and reduced surveillance of district machinery currently focused on Covid-19 management, many families in rural areas are stealthily marrying their minor daughters off as a survival strategy.

Kerala is one of the most exciting culinary destinations, says chef Gordon Ramsay

Just weeks before the world was turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, British chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay was in Coorg climbing trees of peppercorn and catching karimeen in Kannur’s backwaters. A chat with one of food television’s most recognised faces offered a glimpse of what keeps bringing him back to India, brain food, women’s place at the table and his friendly charm, a far cry from his barbed tongue. Excerpts...

After Covid and cyclone, it’s visarjan before Ganpati for Pen idolmakers

Sunil Sawale, 59, counts his gains and losses as his eyes scan idols of the elephant-headed, mouse-chauffeured god—in various stages of completion—from a corner of his workshop at the Nandimal Naka of Pen in Raigad. By July, they’re usually ready to file out, but this time, they remain half-done, in-waiting or simply rejected in the backdrop of the Covid outbreak that forced his buyers from nearby towns to faraway countries to drop their orders.

Telemedicine takes off, clinics on cloud nine

Sitting at his Mira Road home, Mohsin Khan tapped his cellphone and out popped on his screen, his gastroenterologist perched in front of his laptop staring down at Khan from a few miles away in south Mumbai. The awkwardness subsided after a minute or two. Following a brief chat, Khan saw his phone transform into a DIY medical tool as the doctor-on-camera guided Khan’s finger to move up, down, poke and prod his own abdomen before sending out a photograph of the prescription.
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