Articles by Prachi Pinglay-Plumber

Prachi Pinglay-Plumber is a freelance journalist based in Bengaluru.

Finally, it is that time again, after five years. Voting for the 18th Lok Sabha is on May 20th for Mumbai and people are watching the high-pitched campaigns by candidates. And many voters — young and old — are perplexed at political developments over the past few months and years.  It is hard to tell when it started, or that it was always there. At one time, defecting to another political party was looked down upon. Political leaders who party-hopped were quizzed by the media, questioned by the people at public meetings and had to work doubly hard to convince…

Read more

“Just, I mean, I don’t feel like voting. This politics and all. I didn’t even apply, I think I was late,” rattled one of my students when I asked if they had all registered to vote as most of them had turned 18 one or two years ago.  This was pretty much the chorus. They spoke about how it was too late when they tried to register, how it was so difficult (which was promptly rejected by those who had done it), how they were in a different city, how they were not interested in politics and how it was…

Read more

Another year goes by and most of us, who are not directly affected, are watching the world in turmoil helplessly from a distance. Whether it is extreme violence and massacre of human rights in Gaza or the tepid COP 28 commitments for climate action. Closer home, there is a record number of suspensions of members of our parliament and passage of bills without debates, raising disturbing questions about India's democratic structures. And then in Mumbai, one has almost gotten used to the fact that the city has not had the municipal elections so as to expect our elected representatives to…

Read more

It has become a norm now. We go all out for festivals. We need to fulfil our desires to celebrate and conform to practices laid down by ancestors or traditions that simply happened over time. And then, in hindsight, we take stock of everything - the money we spent, the bills we ran, junk we ate and the waste and pollution that we contributed to. We promise ourselves every year to do better next time. Until the cycle repeats over and over. This Diwali was no different. Not to mention the World Cup fever that only added to the feelings…

Read more

Mumbai was once known for local tournaments of games such as Wrestling, Kabaddi and Kho kho, which required minimal infrastructure and were popular among city's youth. They provided opportunities for the players to succeed at state, national level as well. Lack of open spaces has many repercussions. Particularly worrying is shrinkage of spaces that are dedicated for playing - playing any sports such as Football, Cricket, Hockey, Kho kho. Playgrounds help the younger generations stay fit, active, build team spirit and channelise their boundless energy positively. Organisations and people have dedicated themselves to save the green cover, preserve mangroves and…

Read more

Mumbai is the financial capital of India, a city of dreams with an underworld beneath its dark belly, and Bollywood that glitters over it. It’s a congested, over-crowded city that feeds everyone who comes with hope and hard work… so on and on… Mumbai and neighbouring Thane is all this and more. Beyond what is obvious, the city is also its millions of common people that work tirelessly to make a living and keep the city moving. Citizen Matters focuses on those people and issues that matter to them, to make every city a little bit better. For most of…

Read more

In March 2020, when the pandemic set in and lockdown was first imposed, spread of the virus, lack of adequate medical care, the lack of vaccines and loss of livelihoods of millions of citizens were the primary concerns among the government and the people. However, as time progressed and the radical changes to lives, livelihoods and lifestyles became more pronounced, increasingly, the discussions – both at a personal and at policy level – turned to the pandemic's impact on mental health. Add to that the several reports about skewed access to education and problems related to online education among children…

Read more

Since the first case of COVID in January 2020 and the national lockdown from March 2020, there has been a barrage of guidelines, rules and regulations for every sector and every aspect of our lives. Yet, preschools and daycare centres, a lifeline for working parents, were totally overlooked. Preschools have neither figured in any notification nor in any help package. A staggering number of such centres in the city have closed down. The staff, owners, parents and most importantly the children, have all been adversely affected. Informal estimates from discussions with preschool owners indicate that over 4000 preschools and daycares…

Read more

Ranjitha R and Varun Madhugiri, parents to three and a half-year-old twins, recall with wry humour what it has been like since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020. The daycare centre the twins went to, closed. For this working couple, the next year and a half was about juggling work, domestic chores, parenting, teaching and managing the pandemic. They have now come to accept the new normal, albeit reluctantly. There are good days and bad days, but there is no rhythm to it. Like all parents, they are noticing behavioural challenges with their children, besides their own rising…

Read more

Ketan Kothari, his wife and his neighbour, are visually-impaired and above 45 years of age. When they tried to approach various centres for vaccination in western suburbs of Mumbai, they ended up going to three centres and got turned down for various reasons. The centres were too crowded with high risk of contracting the infection, no special facility for people with disabilities or simply did not have vaccines. Kothari is one of thousands of disabled/specially-abled people, who are facing a number of difficulties while coping with the pandemic and now with vaccination. From accessing the web portals for registrations to…

Read more