Sandip Roy's Dispatches from Kolkata

Wednesdays at 7:35am and 4:45pm

Sandip Roy, former host of Your Call and  New America Now, is back on KALW, bringing you a little bit of the story of the new India every week – a letter home from his other home.

A lot has been written about the changing India, says Roy. But reporting about a changing India is one thing. Living in it and dealing with a country where newspapers are still being launched instead of folding, Internet rumors spark mass exoduses, and cricketers advertise skin-whitening creams called Fair and Handsome is another thing.

Sandip Roy’s "Dispatch from Kolkata" can be heard Wednesdays at 7:35am and 4:45pm during KALW’s presentation of Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

After it was posted on WhatsApp that Aklhaq Mohamad's family was eating beef a mob beat and stoned him to death.

But what was the mob being fed?

Amidst the jubilation and euphoria surrounding Prime Minisater Narendra Modi's visit to Silicone Valley,   a familiar unwelcome guest.

Mahesh Sharma, India’s Culture minister, and a high school in Irving, Texas have more in common than they realize.

Sandip Roy never learned how to fly a kite, and he regrets it every September.  

Guardian UK

We are inundated by a circus of gratuitous and salacious images in our media everyday, but one recent photograph has cut through the clutter.

When Hardik Patel got 600,000 people to show up at a rally in Ahmedabadn in his native Gujarat everyone sat up and noticed

The secrecy around an illness can become the great taboo.

An iconic Indian "Bollywood" film reminds Sandip Roy that a solid relationship can transcend the oceanic gap of language.

The Old Monk is dying!?

Aug 5, 2015

A beloved Old Monk is dying in India. 

It’s not a kitten video or an on-air blooper or a wardrobe malfunction. Who would have thought a 15 minute debating society speech could go viral? 

Sandip Roy


What do immigrants carry with them to America?

Spices. Pressure cookers. Pickles. What’s far more unpredictable is what they carry back.

Sandip Roy: Mango Crazy

Jul 8, 2015

What we call mango in English has a hundred different names in India. Indians don’t love their mangos. They form fanatical fan clubs of different kinds of mango.  

USA Today

After the historic ruling from SCOTUS on gay marriage, Sandip Roy reflects on... his Facebook feed?  

In India the Supreme Court did not realize that when it recriminalized gay sex,  society had come a long way. Like toothpaste it just cannot be pushed back into the tube.

The Mumbai LGBT Film Festival is a symbol of how far society has come.  

Satyajit Ray put India on the map of world cinema with his Apu Trilogy, and the negatives were thought to be destroyed in a fire.

It might take a village to raise a child. But it took three continents to raise one little village in Bengal from its ashes.

India has tied itself in knots thanks to a noodle problem. The country has been in an uproar since tests alleged that some packets of Maggi instant noodles have been found to contain lead and MSG. Its caused an instant uproar.

When I moved to Calcutta from San Francisco,  I’d often marvel, that for a city of 4 and half million, everyone seems to know everyone.  But writer Prajwal Parajuly is from a town so small that everyone really does know everyone.

Prajwel Parajuly will be reading from his book "Land Where I Flee" at bay Area Festival of Books on June 6, and Kepler's in Menlo Park on June 8th.

I was reporting on India’s 2014 general election which would bring Narendra Modi to power a year ago.

Sultan, though that’s not his real name, was officially hired as my driver, much younger than me. But it was quite clear very early on who was the top dog in our relationship.

  One hot muggy afternoon last week I was at the city office in Kolkata trying to figure out a property tax bill.  After two and a half hours of running from pillar to post, counter to counter, waiting on one official or the other, I understood first hand a fact of life in India – the system never works for you unless you know someone with connections who can, as they say, "manage it for you." But as I was sitting in that office I heard a piece of news that restored my faith...

In the last decade Bollywood has snuck into America. Bollywood aerobics. Bollywood theme parties. It even snuck into the Oscars via Slumdog Millionaire.

But nothing prepared me for the oddest couple of all - Bollywood and geopolitics.


The world will need to remember that Nepal is not just a home for temples and palaces and Everest expeditions. It is a country that millions call home and those thousands dead and those houses destroyed are also part of its lost inheritance.


It is all very well to castigate the Supreme Court for its failure to affirm gay rights. But rights mean nothing without responsibility and those responsibilities begin at home.  

Happy Fried Food Fest!

Apr 15, 2015

Contrary to popular belief, Diwali or the Festival of Lights is not New Year everywhere in India. Some celebrate their New Year during Holi the festival of colors. Some with the beginning of Spring when the cows are washed and smeared with turmeric. In Kolkata we have found our own ritual. 

Deep fried food.

It's safe to do yoga in American schools, so says the 4th District Court of Appeals.

Its great that an Indian tradition has found an American home, but does that mean yoga needs to go Om-less?


  The Internet just became freer in India thanks to a young woman who decided to do something about it instead of just complaining.

Section 66A of the IT Act was declared unconstitutional.

After growing up in India, America was a culture shock. After 20 years in America living in India was its own culture shock. Everything is different... or is it?

Sandip Roy compares his two homes.  

Sandip Roy: 9-Man

Mar 18, 2015

If you think Asian-Amerian man, chances are you don’t think of sweaty guys pushing, shoving and shouting on a court. But that’s exactly what 9-Man is and has been since the 1930s. 

A new documentary by film maker Ursula Liang explores the game that became volleyball.  

A new film touches on some touchy subjects, sex and disability. But the end result is as light hearted as it is complex. Shonali Bose's new film is "Margarita With a Straw."

There's a penthouse suite in downtown Berkeley, California that  would make you think you are in a tech incubator hub. White boards on the wall with scribbles on them. Panoramic views of the Berkeley hills.  Two syllable names like Chirp and Kizoom – more catchy than meaningful.

And then there is the 1947 Archive.

The Partition of India uprooted 10 -15 million people , the largest mass displacement of the 20th century.  250,000 – two million died. Yet no museum commemorates it. Until this archive from downtown Berkeley.  

A funny blog on the site Publishing Perspectives came up with a checklist for the must have ingredients of a bad South Asian diasporan novel. Arranged Marriage. Multiple generations. A wise grandmother. Fabrics. 

Sandip Roy discovers that it's not so easy to stay away from those tired old tropes.