Access to fresh food is, in itself, not a new problem. It’s simply a problem that’s accelerated and become more consequential due to the pandemic. Mobility restrictions, gaps in food delivery systems coupled with panic buying and hoarding has pushed up food prices and affected the availability of fresh vegetables — especially in urban areas.

While this is true everywhere, its impact in some urban pockets of developed nations like the USA are being overlooked and underestimated.

As far back as the mid 1990’s, the term Food Desert was coined to refer to areas with limited access to affordable and…

Photograph by Anish Dasgupta

The advent of vaccines for COVID-19 let us breathe easy for a while. And while the second wave of the pandemic scorches through the world, we’re rushing to solve the logistics around manufacture and delivery. It’s a matter of time, and while the human toll will be high, we’ll get through it.

But the pandemic is more than just a medical problem. It’s been a catalyst for change.

For example, it’s boosted e-commerce and made cashless payments mainstream. Some experts say it was the growth equivalent of a decade in the span of 3 months.

It’s made working-from-home the norm…

Photograph by Anish Dasgupta

2020 introduced us to something we referred to as the “New Normal”. The global pandemic changed the way we functioned at a very basic level. A year into the New Normal, we can see that it’s actually a lot more than just masking-up, social distancing and working-from-home. It’s become a way that we think and behave.

We’re embracing Minimalism

The recession due to COVID19 hit each and every economy. We lost jobs and took massive pay cuts. It forced us to re-look at our expenses and changed spending priorities — sending us in to a back-to-basics approach in terms of prioritizing our purchases…

Between 1990 and 1995, various Tuareg groups rebelled in Mali, with the aim of achieving autonomy. By 1994, the rebellion had been quelled almost completely; only a few small militia groups still roamed the desert. Several NGOs, including healthcare outfits, reached out to assist the local population in smaller villages that were spread across the desert by setting up small medical camps. To increase accessibility to the locals, the camps moved location every fortnight. Being located deep in the desert, traditionally Tuareg territory, the local government was unable to provide security for them.

In the summer of 1994, one of…

I play the Devil’s Advocate; You tell me why I’m wrong.

Altered Carbon on Netflix

If you’ve watched Season 1 of Altered Carbon, then you can skip directly to the list. If you haven’t, then read on.

Altered Carbon presents us with a future where your consciousness (the collective total of your memories and mind) is stored digitally in ‘stacks’ (essentially a hard drive) embedded at the base of your cortex (back of your neck). So if your body is damaged beyond repair (like say you get stabbed in the heart or choked or drown), the paramedics can just put your Stack in another Sleeve (a body, which can be grown in a lab) and…

The left rear wheel spins in the mud as I release the clutch and floor the gas pedal of the Bolero. The right rear wheel is on shale, pressed into the the mud, finding some semblance of traction. I ignore the smell of overheated friction plates permeating through the cabin. It’s a tense couple of seconds before the car slowly crawls up the road to Hatu Top — the highest point in the Khufri region of Himanchal.

Turning around is not an option. The track is barely the width of the car. I can see 2 sedans in the rear-view…

“Everyone has a seat in the Himalayas. You have to find yours.” Sagnik takes a small sip of his whisky before continuing. “For me, it’s Mukteshwar. You’ll find yours someday. You’ll know it when you get there.”

It’s 11.30 at night and a cold wind is blowing. I’m in Sitla on the terrace of a small lodge where the three of us are put up for the night. I take a long sip of my rum and light a cigarette, pondering his words. It’s a full moon and I look north to the mountains. On a clear night, you can…

As I came down the final steps of the hill that I’d spent the better part of the day scaling, I noticed the two men sitting by the side of the road. They didn’t see me coming down and were chatting over a cup of tea. A small truck was parked next to them. From the way they were dressed, I could tell they were locals.

The old temple at the top of a hill in Chaukori

It would be a 3 km walk up the road to the homestay I was put up at. Considering I’d spent the last 6 hours trekking up (and down) a hill to visit a…

The ferry chugged down the Godavari river slowly. It was just 10.30 am, but I was already a bit exhausted. The slow pace of the boat was a welcome change of pace from the journey that had got me here. It was warm, but a cool breeze blew off the water, making it comfortable under the awning.

The ferry itself wasn’t much to look at, but it was no different from the dozen other ferries that plied these waters. Each was packed with about eighty passengers — most of whom preferred the shade of the canopy on the top deck…

It’s 4.30 in the morning when I find myself walking through the narrow lanes leading to Assi Ghat. It’s dark, but not quiet. I hear a dog bark in the distance, and pull the lapels of my jacket closer. It’s still cold in January. There are intermittent street lights that flicker, giving me just enough light to make my way. I move past the old houses and hawkers sleeping on their carts, and suddenly, find myself in a lane peppered with signs for hotels, cafes and bars — a sure sign I’m getting close.

I quicken my pace and a…

Anish Dasgupta

Nomad. Reads. Writes. Travels. Loves comics & photography. Part-time Pop culture analyst. Frequently goes 🤦🏻‍♂️.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store