Clouds float over the green of the landscape. It rains, then it stops, and the sunlight dapples on my arms as I sit on a table reading in quiet solitude.

I am in Madekeri, Coorg, and though I cant think of anything particularly distinctive about this hill station, but it has its own charm. It is tasteful, calm, non-intrusive and conducive for a solo woman traveller. People understand bits of Hindi and English making conversations possible, and it also helps me ask for directions, though I still lose my way. But in a setting like this I don’t mind.


Blog Post -On Assignment for Hindustan Times

I was visiting Muzaffarnagar for the first time. Some 25 kms from the main city, I reached the rehabilitation camps of the Muzaffarnagar riots victims. The entrance to their basti (village) was marked by a photograph of the then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav etched on a marble, cemented to a wall.

The reporter and me were greeted by the pradhan (village head). We met the other villagers and soon everyone discussed politics, mostly in unison-

‘We have voted for SP,’ ‘Ever since the riots, the votes have been divided between Hindus and Muslims.’

Blog post -On assignment for Hindustan Times

Irom Sharmila, at her room in Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital, which is a testimony to the 16 years of her life spent in imprisonment

I came in awe of her when I first entered her ward in Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital (JNH) in Imphal along with a crew of TV journalists. By then Irom Sharmila had given ‘exclusive’ interviews for a few hours. The interviews went on and though the media organisations changed, the questions didn’t. Yet, not for a moment did Sharmila seem mechanical.

Almost 16 years of fast and force-feeding had made her so weak that she couldn’t even get up from the chair on her own — women personnel of the Manipur Police assist her…

A truck perched on a terrace, a Maruti 800 sitting on top of a Tata Sumo; terrace after terrace covered with vehicle doors and bonnets, roads and invisible pavements encroached with greasy machine parts, and a public park devoid of grass or people and occupied with machines and scrap instead. The constant murmur of machines never stops. The hammering of a vehicle to be dismantled, the movement of metal tyres on stone laden passages, the groaning of the JCB which moves around the engines, and the clunk of the parts when they are thrown at each other one after the…

Saumya Khandelwal

A photojournalist with Hindustan Times in New Delhi, India. Photo essays, stories, multimedia, ramblings. More on

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