Sharanya is a writer and editor from and currently in New Delhi, India. She writes about food, language, the commodification of culture and is currently writing more essays. Her work has been published in VICE, Eater, Vittles London, Atlas Obscura, Wasafiri, Longreads, Roads and Kingdoms, FiftyTwo, and The Baffler among others. She is also an editor at Mangal Media, a collective of writers and artists from outside Western Europe and North America. In October 2020, she won the Wasafiri new writing prize for her essay "Seamless". She is currently a 2021 resident at the Serendipity Arts Foundation.
The Ghost Crop of Goa
Orion, September 2021
"In the months tracing Korgut, my quest for it never ended at a grand encounter with the rice itself. It did not present itself in a shimmering plate at an upscale restaurant. No giddy revelations were made about how the grain tasted or looked. I had gone into my search looking for a novelty product; as someone from the city, I found it hard to remove my impulse to chase biodiversity through taste-centric gastronomy. But my search led me to parts of Goa that I would not have been able to see if not for Korgut. With every question I asked about it, small bits of history emerged—heirloom yams soaked in water to avoid poisoning, small fish cultivated outside one’s door. Around Korgut, an astounding array of ecosystems presented themselves, speaking for the region they are from."
All too much: an ode to the Tandoori momo
Vittles, June 2021
"I cannot hold the same criticisms of the tandoori momo because I grew up eating everything that was an in-between food. To me, the tandoori momo doesn’t exist despite its widely discussed flaws, but more so because of them. It persists because of the spectacle that involves shit-talking teenagers that converge around it every day; the compulsion to ask for double cream (it is here where I draw the line); and the fact that in Delhi, anything that lives on the brink of being a terrible decision is an integral part of culture, food or otherwise."
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 instances 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.”