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.

Kasab is dead

Nov 28, 2012
Times of India

On November 26th 2008 terrorists stormed into Mumbai, and rained bullets on a railway station, a trendy café,  a five star hotel and a Jewish cetntre,  killing at least 166 people. 26/11 has often been called India’s 9/11. However the anniversary this week, marked as usual by wreath laying ceremonies and patriotic speeches in India, was an anniversary with a difference. Ajmal Kasab the lone surviving gunman for that terror attack was dead.

Good Night Mr. Kissinger

Nov 21, 2012
Sandip Roy

What would you do if you were a Bangladeshi waiter in New York and suddenly found yourself serving the bogeyman of your national nightmare – Henry Kissinger?

It’s been over 40 years since Bangladesh became independent but as Anis makes clear it still loves to hate Henry Kissinger.  In 1971 he was the national security advisor and as Pakistani troops tried to brutally crush the independence movement in what became Bangladesh, Henry Kissinger sided with Pakistan because that was his corridor to Beijing. And Bangladeshis remember that.

All you can eat India

Nov 14, 2012

In America, I discovered coma-inducing lunches of all you can eat chicken tikka masala and saag paneer and naan for just 9.99. Well, what goes around comes around. The great Indian buffet has come - to India - with a vengeance.  

Absentee voter

Nov 7, 2012

Why do American elections matter to the world when barely 50 percent of Americans show up at the polling booth? Sandip Roy votes absentee... from India.

Happy Puja!

Oct 24, 2012
Sandip Roy

Durga Puja is the highest of high holidays for Bengalis when the mother Goddess comes home for five days every year. Bengalis abroad get very nostalgic at the mention of Durga Puja. The Bay Area hosts about half a dozen alone. But back in the Puja's home territory there's much grousing that the grand puja has become too tacky, too commercialized and too nouveaux riche. 

The 70th birthday celebration of Bollywood's biggest star says as much about the people of India as it does about Amitabh Bachchan.

A fatwa on your speech!

Oct 10, 2012

Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton has brought the fatwa back into the news. India has the dubious distinction of being the first country to ban the book's import. Sandip Roy looks at how that decision still reverberates in the country.

Saundhi Mitti

Oct 3, 2012

Monsoon has always been the most important season in India - whether it's from the point of view of the economy or the Bollywood rain dance. But coming back to India after years in America, Sandip Roy finds the memories of monsoons past don't always live up to the realities of monsoons present.

The leader of the world’s biggest democracy and one of the most powerful women in the country said they just couldn’t manage to talk to each other. "I waited and waited but didn’t even get a text message" said the chief minister. "But I left two messages and she didn’t answer" said the Prime Minister’s office......


Dengue Songs

Sep 19, 2012

The scariest disease racking Kolkata these days is one no one is sure how to pronounce.The government first blamed the media. Then it blamed private hospitals for trying to drum up business. Now it’s swung into action. We have three wheeler auto rickshaws trundling around the city singing dengue ditties – about stagnant water and garbage and mosquitoes. It’s all about dengue awareness.

Fair and Lovely?

Sep 12, 2012

I learned about "tighty whities" in America thanks to Calvin Klein.
It was only after I came back to India that I encountered the dark side of the tighty whitey. I always knew Indians had an obsession with fairness. But I have to admit I was a little taken aback to find that in the new India you could lighten not just your face, or your arms but also your very very private parts.......

More people are living solo around the world these days. You can call it a splintering of society. Or you can say it’s because we have better Internet connections. Sweden has the most number of singletions. But the countries where single person households are growing the fastest are Brazil, China and India.