Heylo! You might wonder why an “extended bio” is necessary aside from a “regular bio.” Sometimes I wonder that too, and feel it’s a bit much. But it’s sometimes helpful because I’ve admittedly had a bit of an untraditional career path. If you’re curious to make more sense of my work, read on.

In 2016, I was selected by the International Women’s Media Foundation as an African Great Lakes Reporting Fellow to Uganda, where I reported on media and politics ahead of Uganda’s 2016 elections and completed a hostile environment training course.

My desire to report from Uganda stemmed from an itch to want to grow professionally and understand a different region of the world. I had previously been freelancing from Lucknow, India, from 2013 to 2015. I had moved to Lucknow after graduating from journalism school, when I received a scholarship to study Urdu there. I then stayed beyond my language program to freelance on the dynamics of a changing India from the perspective of the tier-two city and surrounding regions. My work includes extensive reporting on the country’s 2014 election, research into the freelance economy for international news, and an ongoing project on women and the justice system.

Why Lucknow? It’s more of an emerging metropolitan hub in India, and not really on the international map. While in graduate school, I helped initiate the New Global Journalism, a project investigating foreign correspondence in transition (it later served as the foundation for the Tow Center report on the topic). Lucknow happened to be where my language program was based. But on a deeper level, I wanted to report from an area that stood to have much more nuanced and original reporting, especially given its political and social sensitivity in India. I wanted to see whether it might be possible to translate those so-called “local” stories for an international audience, despite Lucknow not being very well-known globally.

Now, I find myself doing that for stories regardless where they’re based!

It’s my “2015 in review,” according to WordPress.com stats.

Among some interesting things to note…

This website has been clicked on from 61 different countries, with the United States, India and Brazil ranking highest. I’m not sure why Brazil ranks so high, but thank you.

Another interesting tidbit is that my top three referrals are Twitter, LinkedIn and WritersofColor.org. I didn’t even realize until recently I was on the Writers Of Color database, so thank you to the people behind that!

Here’s an excerpt of how WordPress made me feel popular:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

(Posting this here for future reference).

In January, thanks to the gracious support of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), I’ll be traveling to Uganda to report on underreported issues of democracy and governance ahead of the country’s 2016 presidential elections.

I’ve never been to Uganda, let alone Africa, and am excited at the chance to report in and experience a new country. A former professor recommended this book to read as a useful primer on the country, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it: The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda.

Given this reporting fellowship, India reporting and other plans are on hold for a bit while my schedule sorts itself out. I had almost forgotten that it takes time to secure a visa for a country. My OCI card has been very good to me in this respect.

I do hate that I am without my passport while I wait for this process, though. It’s like losing keys to a car for me, and I realize how much I rely on the capacity to move.

But the upside is that it has been very nice to be back in the United States during this time of year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and now Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa for those celebrating) and New Year’s. Perhaps it’s the influence of the holidays, but being around my family and old friends makes me feel almost more homesick for them than I was in India.

Of course the reverse is true for India, and even still Japan, although the latter feels much farther away. But someone — I can’t remember who — once asked me if I am sometimes homesick for India, and I was a little bit stunned that the answer might not be obvious. Of course I am. I learned long ago that one needs to distance herself from one experience and immerse herself into another in order to reap the full benefits it.

The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget is a useful title for so many instances of life.

Hi Everyone,

After much, much time, I’ve finally updated my website. I’m still toying around and figuring out certain things (for example, “Blog” is a work in progress since it currently contains ALL recent stories as opposed to an actual blog or updates). But I’m getting there. If you manage to check it out, please let me know what you think.

I’m still based in Lucknow, India, where I’ve been since the summer of 2013. If you don’t know the story, I originally landed here to study Urdu in an intensive language program, then realized one summer would not be enough for what I wanted to take away from the experience. So I extended the language program into the fall while getting my feet wet to try the world of freelance international reporting…and so here I am. 🙂 Lucknow is not a typical place for an American freelancer to base herself, I know, but that’s partly why I like it. I think there is something very valuable about getting to know a community this deeply, and having the lived, everyday experience of how people around me are reacting to news, issues and life (as opposed to discovering and understanding that through reporting specific stories). Uttar Pradesh, the state where I live, is also one hell of a place through which to learn about India. The entire population of Brazil could live here. As someone I recently interviewed put it, “The last battle of poverty would be fought in UP.”

I’ll try to be fairly consistent with this. Thanks for taking the time to read. 🙂