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Anu Anand Hall
New Delhi, India
Anu Anand Hall, global reporter
Interests: 15 years reporting on and living in India.
Recent Activity
Dear readers, apologies for the late response. Your comments have been coming in faster than I could moderate them, and I’ve been far away from a working internet connection the past few days. I won’t be able to respond individually to all of you, though I have tried my best, as I appreciate you’ve taken the time to read and comment, even if we don’t all agree. So I’ll make a few final points below and leave you to carry on if you wish. • For those of you who think I wrote this to increase traffic to my blog... frankly, writing a post on the 10 best sex positions would have served me better. Actually, I didn’t even tweet this post, and did nothing else to promote it. I’m not even sure how most of you found it. If you’ve read it, it’s because you wanted to; and if you want to, you can also scroll down and read far less controversial posts on teaching kids Hindi, growing plants on a rooftop in Delhi, mulberries, composting, cultural clashes with household help in India, Holi, etc etc etc. • Some of you object to my use of the word ‘maniacs’. In hindsight, I do take your point and agree that it is, perhaps, too derogatory a word. My apologies. In truth, I couldn’t resist the alliteration. • Lots of you have attacked my parents for not raising me properly, have called me ‘confused’, accused me of ‘trying to fit in with the white crowd’, called me prejudiced, feeble minded (hence I majored in liberal arts and not medicine or engineering). Your comments speak for themselves. I have nothing to add. • Some of you have made bizarre connections, like ‘my parents voting for Obama’ equals me totally backing Obama, all his decisions, and all American foreign policy. Sorry, don’t know where you got that. • This piece was about how a) India handles communal violence – those of you pointing out the facts of the Sikh riots are right. We are making the same point using different examples, a point I included in my piece, but one which appears to have been conveniently ignored. Here’s a column that puts it far better: • and b) more personally, it was about Indian immigrants in America using different morals to suit different identities, which I personally believe is wrong. For those of you asserting that I’m telling you ‘not to send your kids to garba or bhangra’ ... let me clarify: I have no problem with Indian folk dances. I did plenty myself as a kid and enjoyed them. My point was that this skin-deep practice of what it means to be Indian shouldn’t substitute for an informed opinion about one’s home country/culture. It’s precisely the same criticism levelled at Americans that I’m sure many of you would agree with, namely that playing baseball, eating burgers with gusto and pledging allegiance to the stars & stripes is not what being American is ultimately about. • Ditto: Urdu. Forgive me, I didn’t see the ‘communal’ subtext (i.e. that Urdu is a ‘Muslim’ language- albeit one of India’s many official languages) until some of you accused me of trying to corrupt your children by suggesting they learn it. My point was that they ought to be exposed to India’s deep plurality, its multiplicity – in language, culture, history. I might just as easily have said Konkani, Naga, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi or Telegu. I’ve personally had more exposure to Urdu, hence the reference. • For those of you informing me that Narendra Modi was ‘acquitted’ or found ‘not guilty’ of any blame for the riots.... only one person, ‘Rational Crusader’ correctly points out that he wasn’t acquitted, because he was never tried. For more on the Supreme Court’s Special Investigation Team and the questions it never pursued/answered, this is worth a read: Finally, may I just say that whether positive or negative, rude or amicable, I have benefitted from this exchange with each of you. I fully, deeply appreciate the abiding feeling most of you expressed, that you want India to succeed, fundamentally. I couldn’t agree with you more, even if I don’t quite share your optimism of a strong leader’ transforming a country as big and complex as this economically and socially by some kind of personal conviction (especially not when that includes a right-wing religious identity and politics). That kind of fundamental change takes a few generations, hence my view that the answer lies in each of us. Balle balle, y’all.
Pradeep thanks for writing. Look there are trolls everywhere and as someone whose written Hindi is pretty basic, I don't begrudge people their rough English (text language however is unforgivable :) Mr. Ramani, thanks for taking the time to read my 'moronic' blog. I know I am lowly, in gender, caste, etc but I do still use my own brain cells- no one has put me up to anything. If for you, the very important swachh Bharat programme is a pretext for issuing threats to others, then I think you have seriously missed the point. Posting a really interesting piece below- and PLEASE- before you all start grumbling- every critically reported story is not automatically proof of the author being 'Anti'... Maybe it's just good reporting:
Everyone has already said it: gift to moms, peace treat to end mommy wars.... Just wanted to add my voice to theirs and express my gratitude for such a wonderful piece. I have a 3 year old and a 9 month old and so far, I haven't read a single article by a mother or a feminist or an expert that has defined modern motherhood so accurately, simply and usefully. I've been on both sides -- full time stay at home mom juggling ALL the jobs and the relationship... to now, where I'm in a position to almost completely outsource the 'jobs' of motherhood and go back to work freelance. I've been feeling slightly guilty about that thinking that I'm somehow cheating my second child... but your piece above really clears up the dilemma to a huge degree and makes me realize how unusually lucky I am! I get to linger at home in the mornings... I'm home by 5.30... I'm working and earning well... and often, I work from home and get to steal moments - good and bad - with both children! I am going to relentlessly share this with all the parents I know!!!
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2012 on Free but not cheap at Ask Moxie
@Alana, oh wow, New England, USA.... I think that's possibly the most idyllic place on the planet! Four distinct seasons, such beauty and space! How's the gardening out there? Does everything grow like it does in England? @Anne-Trine my goodness, Norway! I had no idea it was so rainy! And yes, I spotted giant brown snails here too. Luckily though, they haven't yet found their way up to my terrace!!
Dear Laxmi, thanks! And glad to hear there wasn't too much opposition. Tarquin and I had to overcome some pretty bitter family opinions too so I can relate. And glad you enjoyed Rajvir and Madhuri's story-- a very brave and lovely couple!
Hi Alana, I hate being negative about India because I so love living here and feel very blessed that we have the chance to give our children time in India. It's precisely as you say-- saddening -- when you see what average, hard-working people here have to endure. Today's a perfect example. We woke up to sheets and torrents of rain in Delhi. Apart from making it a very wet travel experience, rain shouldn't really have much effect. Yet because there are no drains, the roads flood. So bicyclists, rickshaws and motorcycles can't travel. What's more, people with expensive imported cars seem terrified too, so they all stick to the dry side of the road, causing ridiculous jams. My son's school closed as a result of the rain... not their fault... but can you imagine that happening anywhere else? It brought the city to a near halt until mid-day! Fine if you have nothing to do!! How can the government project India as a shining investment destination under these circumstances? And if investment doesn't keep flooding in, how will India grow fast enough to create the MILLIONS of jobs its young people need? Sad sad sad.
Toggle Commented Aug 21, 2012 on Hot summer; cool economy at Sacred Cows
Wow, Sesh, that's impressive! I will indeed check out Vaidheeshwaran Koil- which state is it in? Thanks for sharing your story. Very inspiring and I hope it helps others on the search for their past. Keep me posted on your efforts. Anu
Thank you Alana!! I'm afraid I can't offer much in the way of literary stimulation, but glad you're enjoying my random musings!
Why golly, thank you! My hats off to you for being a full-time working mother, especially in the US, where you might have better infrastructure, but in some ways that makes your life even harder! Seriously, I don't know how any woman can juggle work and children without full-time domestic help and a lot of time off. (Well, I do, but you're right, there's no way to honey-coat it, it is damn tough!) I think about it everyday... I do think Anne-Marie Slaughter has a point in that we woman have it drilled into us that if we're 'committed' enough, we will achieve things people tell us are worth achieving -- mostly in the career category. That I have happy, well-adjusted children and am looking after myself -- as well as working! -- is not something I feel I'm allowed to trumpet to prospective employers... and that is a shame, because it's valuable experience. Keep on truckin' sister! And thanks for leaving a comment! Good to know someone's actually reading this thing!!
Dear Ed, how extraordinary!! How did you come to discover this? What is the story? I know a lot of Indians were shipped to the Caribbean and to South America to work in plantations, etc. Is that how he arrived in the New World? Do you know where in India he came from? Best wishes, Anu
Very interesting! Will you tell me more about who you are and how you started your company? Please send me an email. Thanks, Anu
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2012 on An English Gardener in India at Sacred Cows
Hi -- here's the link for contributions information: Hope that helps and thanks for thinking of them.
Toggle Commented Jun 10, 2012 on India's Love Commandos at Sacred Cows
Hi Anne, that's great you're trying to learn Hindi! Yes, a couple of suggestions for adults, as my husband has also been trying to learn for some time. The best method he's found is Rosetta Stone, which uses visual images and repeated audio to teach Hindi. You can do it on your computer anytime and it's very accurate, conversational Hindi. The other great method (and more affordable) is the Pimsleur method: You can also buy a set from Amazon: I think these days you can also practice speaking a variety of languages by hooking up with like-minded learners through Skype! I haven't tried it, but that could be really useful. Hope this help and keep me posted on how you're getting on!
Toggle Commented Jun 3, 2012 on Teaching your child Hindi 2 at Sacred Cows
Hi. He didn't 'charge' me anything. I asked around and found out that it's customary to make some kind of donation to your Panda. So I think I gave each one (mom's side and dad's side Pandas) something like Rs 1000 ($20) each. A bargain for what I got in return I think!!
Now hang on a second Mr. Farmer! The grounds, paper and cardboard are compostable! I grant you the string may not break down fully, but it's hardly toxic! And you clearly aren't an organic tea drinker... what staple??! Tee hee. We'll have to get together to trade tips over some feni soon!
Toggle Commented Apr 8, 2012 on An English Gardener in India at Sacred Cows
NPR's Beijing correspondent, Louisa Lim, rightly points out major inaccuracies in my post. (A) I know her. (B) She is a female foreign correspondent. (C) She has young children! Ooops! Louisa and I haven't crossed paths (except on Facebook) since our early days at BBC World Service Radio in London, hence the oversight. But her own experiences as both mother and full-time foreign correspondent just go to underscore what a tough balancing act it is and perhaps why so few mothers are able to sustain it. Over the course of nearly a decade, working for two major broadcasters, she describes answering calls to file despatches whilst in labour (I dearly hope she said 'NO!') ... cobbling together enough leave to augment the 10 days maternity she was entitled to (in the very, very bad old days) ... weaning one child in time for the Beijing Olympics ... juggling coverage of natural disasters with worries about spelling tests ... and (my favorite) being chased in a car across the Tibetan plateau by Chinese security forces whilst expressing milk! Wow. I couldn't even get pregnant while working as a journalist! Can't imagine actually being pregnant, tired, sick and then giving birth and raising children while reporting on a country as vast and challenging as China!! Louisa says it takes intense planning and a great deal of support (and guts and huge dedication I imagine!) The upside of course is a hugely interesting job and seriously well-informed children (on asked to do his chores, Louisa's son said, 'Mom, you're just like Kim Jong Il.' !!) She also mentions two other notable mum correspondents: Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson of NPR based in Egypt and Kelly McEvers, who covers Iraq from Beirut and has a toddler. Thanks for your input, Louisa. Read more about Louisa here:
Toggle Commented Mar 9, 2012 on A Mother's Work Meme at Sacred Cows
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Mar 15, 2010