Sharanya is a writer and editor from New Delhi, India. She writes about food, language, conflict, the commodification of culture, and is currently writing more essays.
In 2019, she won the Conde Nast food-writing award for her work on the saffron spice in Indian-administered-Kashmir. In 2020, she was part of the Montez Press Writers Grant, for which she wrote this essay. Most recently, in October 2020, she won the Wasafiri new writing prize for her essay "Seamless" that was published by the magazine in Spring 2021.
Wasafiri Magazine, March 2021
"Everywhere I went, I witnessed women who had stolen themselves away from their bodies to be able to preserve a part of themselves; I saw how they stored themselves in dreams, in art, in their children, in large cooked meals, in faith and poetry and errands they conducted in the memory of those that came before them. I have seen women step outside their bodies and escape wounds that trigger trauma, I have seen them sweep over in- stances where desire and danger existed in the same moment, and are remembered in the same breath. Who do our bodies belong to? Are they are own? And if they are not, how do we fight anything that is to come?"
52, October 2020
"Those at the head of a top-down structure of food criticism find it convenient to dismiss dishes like custard as unrefined foods of the past. But, in a nation of a billion, in an age where technology has democratised access to content, purveyors of taste are everywhere."
A ‘Forgotten Holocaust’ Is Missing From Indian Food Stories
Atlas Obscura, September 2020
"Indian food annals ignore the moments of hunger endured by millions, focusing instead on taste-centric gastronomy, laying out tables of opulence and abundance as normative, and foraging the past for pleasantries to set as placeholders for the history of Indian cuisine. Meanwhile, foods that fed and continue to sustain the powerless remain largely ignored."
Coming home, One Word at a Time
Longreads, March 2019
“The way the meat melts off the bone, the way the fat renders into the onions, the way it all comes together, that is Urdu,” my granduncle Gulzar Naqvi used to say, comparing his favorite language to Nihari, his favorite meat stew. “It is not language, it is temperament, and it must be felt.”
Montez Press, August 2020
"Tokarczuk writes of how motion is embedded in her body, she in the friction that comes from movement, she becomes alive, a woman, a person, a writer. I often feel like Togarzcuk, understanding what I need and whom I love only when I have set off somewhere. But what if I moved because I was afraid that when I stopped, I had to deal with the consequences the things it created and destroyed in its wake? What if in motion, I was charming, effusive and intelligent but in stillness, I remained unpleasant, volatile, and a monster?"
The Taste of Memory
Mangal Media, October 2020
"It takes a large amount of training and a certain amount of madness to become a kebabi, to stick one’s hand inside flaming coals to pull out food is no job for the ordinary mortal. A burning hot tandoor is the reason why a kebab grilled in a home-oven will not taste the same. One may perfect a recipe but a kebab eaten from an aged tandoor tastes different, like the city itself."