Three friends, after a gruelling coaching session, were enjoying tea and banter in a small shop. An MBA student had come to a busy part of the city, for the first time, to meet someone for an academic project. People were milling about in this commercial and education hub that fateful evening. Cycles, two-wheelers and cars had made traffic stop-and-go. All changed in a matter of minutes after 7 p.m, as two bombs exploded in Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar on February 21. We bring to you the story of the crucial first few hours after the blast, a narrative pieced together from the accounts of the injured, CCTV footage, accounts from doctors who treated the first of the victims, and how a hospital’s preparedness for such an even saved lives. Read all this and more in our cover story “A stitch in time”.
Other narratives this month are on the life of the widows in Vrindavan, a small town in Uttar Pradesh where widowed women are often forced to go to meet their end; and the one on a personal journey of an ultra-marathoner. In “Just another six miles”, Aditya Bee tells us why he undertakes tasks like running 100-mile runs through treacherous trails, what running means for him and how it changed his life.

The war in Sri Lanka may be over as far as direct military onslaught is concerned, but for the survivors the fight to rebuild lives is an uphill battle. Photographer Pattabi Raman, over four months in Sri Lanka’s northern territories, documented the struggle of Tamils who are rebuilding their lives from the rubble of the civil war.
Do read the essay “India’s crop of despair” on a decade of Bt cotton cultivation in India, and how it has proved ruinous for thousands of farmers. Don’t miss the Jeffrey Archer interview, the man who has been writing bestsellers for decades now.

There’s a lot happening around us to rant about. From traffic to politics to television, there’s enough to vent one’s spleen over. We start a new column “The rant”, a short, witty, and satirical take on all things that get our goat. This month, Nandini Krishnan takes on popular literature (“They didn’t publish my love story”), in the form of an interview between a publisher looking for the next bestseller and a writer.

Saurav Kumar, Editor

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