Zara Murao

Zara Murao

Zara heads the weekend features and special projects teams in Mumbai. She has been a journalist for 15 years, but a grammar Nazi for much longer.

Articles by Zara Murao
India currently holds the record for world’s longest high-altitude tunnel, cheapest successful mission to Mars and largest camera trap wildlife survey, among other things. Indians hold the records for most diamonds on a single ring and smallest deck of playing cards, among many, many others. (IMAGES: HT Archive, Renani Jewels)
India currently holds the record for world’s longest high-altitude tunnel, cheapest successful mission to Mars and largest camera trap wildlife survey, among other things. Indians hold the records for most diamonds on a single ring and smallest deck of playing cards, among many, many others. (IMAGES: HT Archive, Renani Jewels)

Just for the record: An overview of some of the biggest and oddest ones set in India

By Natasha Rego and Zara Murao
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 06:25 PM IST
Scores of records are set and broken in India every year, by individuals, communities and the country as a whole. They tend to be a mix of accidental, intentional and outright bizarre. Take a tour of the most remarkable ones from recent years.
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A still from Animal Crossing. Parties, get-togethers and brunches are moving offline again, while the threat from the pandemic remains the same.(Nintendo)
A still from Animal Crossing. Parties, get-togethers and brunches are moving offline again, while the threat from the pandemic remains the same.(Nintendo)

The slippery slope of pandemic fatigue, and how to stay off it

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 08, 2020 10:22 PM IST
Facing months of restrictions, everyone’s starting to bend the rules a little. It’s a reasonable emotional response, if a dangerous one. Here are tips to help you stay the course.
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(HT Illustration: Malay Karmakar)
(HT Illustration: Malay Karmakar)

Do you have apocalypse anxiety?

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON SEP 06, 2020 10:32 AM IST
A tightness in the chest, state of constant low-key worry, the sense that nature, the economy and life as we knew it just aren’t ever going to be the same. The pandemic has sparked doomsday anxiety
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31 January 1994 -EBRAHIM ALKAZI. HT ARCHIVE
31 January 1994 -EBRAHIM ALKAZI. HT ARCHIVE

Alkazi: A guiding light of theatre in India

By Zara Murao & Vanessa Viegas | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON AUG 09, 2020 03:03 PM IST
Teacher. Director. Idol. Man with a fiery temper. These are the facets we know. Days after his passing, we spoke to former students for a more intimate take on the trailblazing former head of the NSD.
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As everyone pitches in to take on new chores, children have benefited from seeing gender roles ease in the household(Getty Images)
As everyone pitches in to take on new chores, children have benefited from seeing gender roles ease in the household(Getty Images)

100 days of Covid-19: Learning to parent through a pandemic

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 21, 2020 09:35 PM IST
As a byproduct of the lockdown, the performative element of parenting in middle- and upper-middle-class urban India has declined. Family time has made a roaring comeback too, but amid anxiety and uncertainty.
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Born to a clerk and an accountant, Gaultier never received formal training as a designer. Instead, he fell in love with fashion a child. His early inspirations were TV shows and magazines. After crafting clothes for his toys and then his family, in his late teens, he sent sketches to famous couture stylists, asking if they would work with him. Pierre Cardin was so impressed, he hired him as an assistant when JPG was 18.(jeanpaulgaultier.com)
Born to a clerk and an accountant, Gaultier never received formal training as a designer. Instead, he fell in love with fashion a child. His early inspirations were TV shows and magazines. After crafting clothes for his toys and then his family, in his late teens, he sent sketches to famous couture stylists, asking if they would work with him. Pierre Cardin was so impressed, he hired him as an assistant when JPG was 18.(jeanpaulgaultier.com)

Jean Paul Gaultier, enfant terrible of fashion, steps off the ramp

By Zara Murao & Raul Dias | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 01, 2020 09:06 PM IST
There’s more coming; a surprise project, he says. But meanwhile, here’s a look back at the work of an untrained genius, an early champion of diversity, and a 50-year career of firsts.
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AI home assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant are helping manage our schedules, even chatting with our children. But our humanoids bots can’t really do much yet. While some can walk, and others can talk, none of them can really do either without human intervention.(Shutterstock)
AI home assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant are helping manage our schedules, even chatting with our children. But our humanoids bots can’t really do much yet. While some can walk, and others can talk, none of them can really do either without human intervention.(Shutterstock)

#Vision 2020: If imagination were everything

By Zara Murao, Rachel Lopez, Madhusree Ghosh & Natasha Rego | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON DEC 27, 2019 08:33 PM IST
Flying cars, androids you can’t tell apart from humans, colonised planets... here are things we should have had by now
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Speaking at the American NGO Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now Summit, Cohen — who was being awarded their International Leadership Award — argued that because platforms like Facebook refuse to distinguish between opinion and micro-targeted lies, “democracy, which depends on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which thrives on shared lies, is on the march”.(ADL)
Speaking at the American NGO Anti-Defamation League’s Never is Now Summit, Cohen — who was being awarded their International Leadership Award — argued that because platforms like Facebook refuse to distinguish between opinion and micro-targeted lies, “democracy, which depends on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which thrives on shared lies, is on the march”.(ADL)

Newsmaker: A new and improved Sacha Baron Cohen takes on the ‘Silicon Six’

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON DEC 06, 2019 09:10 PM IST
The actor-director is best known for his rather crass film, Borat. But a recent speech that’s gone viral was an elegant takedown of the billionaires behind our social media platforms, for the damage they’re doing to democracies.
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A still from Life in Colour, coming to Netflix in 2021. Attenborough has been knighted, honoured and awarded around the world for doing more than perhaps any other individual, as one panel put it, to reveal the wonders of the natural world to us. But many naturalists say the pristine habitats depicted in his films have, for decades, failed to reflect reality.
A still from Life in Colour, coming to Netflix in 2021. Attenborough has been knighted, honoured and awarded around the world for doing more than perhaps any other individual, as one panel put it, to reveal the wonders of the natural world to us. But many naturalists say the pristine habitats depicted in his films have, for decades, failed to reflect reality.

Newsmaker: As India fetes David Attenborough, a look at an incredible career

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 29, 2019 06:40 PM IST
The face (and voice) of wildlife documentaries recently won the Indira Gandhi peace prize. A look at a legacy unmatched, and things he might have done differently.
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Cut loose: They say Netflix has found that the optimal number of seasons for a show is two. After that, it just doesn’t bring in new subscribers. BoJack Horseman lasted six seasons; part two of its finale will air in January. Meanwhile, there’s another theory that it is ending, amid its successful run, because its crew unionised.
Cut loose: They say Netflix has found that the optimal number of seasons for a show is two. After that, it just doesn’t bring in new subscribers. BoJack Horseman lasted six seasons; part two of its finale will air in January. Meanwhile, there’s another theory that it is ending, amid its successful run, because its crew unionised.

#Newsmaker: As BoJack airs its last season, a look at all we’ll miss

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON NOV 08, 2019 05:38 PM IST
Hollywoo won’t be the same without the horse-man has-been.
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Hot Tip: Why you should be reading Lie With Me

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON NOV 01, 2019 04:00 PM IST
Set in a small French village, it’s a tale of love and loss and how life moves on, told through 17-year-old boys who fall in love, are separated and almost reunited decades later.
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A still from The Lighthouse, due for release soon, where Pattinson - totally unrecognisable in a funny moustache - retreats from the world and into slowly unravelling madness.
A still from The Lighthouse, due for release soon, where Pattinson - totally unrecognisable in a funny moustache - retreats from the world and into slowly unravelling madness.

Newsmaker: Robert Pattinson has been quietly remaking himself since Twilight

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 01, 2019 03:46 PM IST
The future Batman was a reluctant star, then a recluse, then an arthouse wonder. A look at his unusual journey.
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Eilish’s lyrics are said to resonate with a post-9/11 generation that has grown up amid uncertainty and insecurity.
Eilish’s lyrics are said to resonate with a post-9/11 generation that has grown up amid uncertainty and insecurity.

Who is Billie Eilish and why is everyone talking about her?

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON SEP 07, 2019 01:34 PM IST
The 17-year-old singer took over the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for the first time last month, with songs unusual for a pop star — on depression, loneliness, suicide.
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Extreme measures make sense to Thunberg because extreme is our reality now. And so she’s voyaged across the Atlantic in a yacht with no toilet and no kitchen. But is there much point in such a statement, if the example one is setting cannot be followed?(Team Malizia / Reuters File Photo)
Extreme measures make sense to Thunberg because extreme is our reality now. And so she’s voyaged across the Atlantic in a yacht with no toilet and no kitchen. But is there much point in such a statement, if the example one is setting cannot be followed?(Team Malizia / Reuters File Photo)

#Newsmaker: Greta Thunberg has sailed across the Atlantic. What now?

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON AUG 30, 2019 05:44 PM IST
The 16-year-old climate activist is strident, angry. And justifiably so. But as today’s rockstar of green energy and sustainable living, it’s time for her message to evolve.
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Jake Gyllenhal and Heath Ledger caused more hearts to flutter than anyone would have thought, in Brokeback Mountain.
Jake Gyllenhal and Heath Ledger caused more hearts to flutter than anyone would have thought, in Brokeback Mountain.

The changing romcom: Romantic hero types through the years

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON AUG 23, 2019 02:20 PM IST
From the rather stern husband-in-a-good-mood of the ’30s and ’40s to Jack and Ennis in Brokeback Mountain, our heroes have come a long way. Take a look...
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At a June 2 concert in LA.
At a June 2 concert in LA.

#Newsmaker: Taylor Swift has a new song out, a new album and a new persona

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON JUN 22, 2019 05:17 PM IST
The pop superstar has rebranded herself, this time as an LGBTQ ally. With hundreds of millions listening, should timing and nuance matter?
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‘Transport apps holding customers to ransom’

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUN 01, 2016 01:02 AM IST
A first person account of the difficulty train commuters faced on Tuesday because of surge pricing by app-based taxi aggregators
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Women cannot do it all. And they shouldn’t

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2014 11:14 PM IST
Can women, whether rich and powerful like Nooyi or middle-class and anonymous like the rest of us, do it all? If we said it right, we might even arrive at the right answer, writes Zara Murao.
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How to pick travel buddy

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON MAR 23, 2013 05:25 PM IST
The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect travel buddy. Even when you find someone who checks all the boxes – same interests, similar income, flexible schedule, neat, clean, punctual, pleasant – there will still be the odd disaster. Finding the ideal soulmate to vacation with can be harder than you think..
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An all-new Brand Bandra

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON DEC 02, 2012 12:25 AM IST
Once a haven for the middle-class, this suburb that has been forced into innumerable makeovers over the years, has now become the address to flaunt, and a new breed of rich youngsters is altering its identity, finds Zara Murao.
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The worst form of bullying

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON SEP 29, 2011 11:38 PM IST
Some argue that if Troy Davis, a convicted killer, had lived, there is a danger that he would have escaped and killed again. Others insist that only his death could deter other criminals from killing.
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The chef who does 'seva'

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUL 16, 2011 11:51 PM IST
New York's 'hottest chef', Amritsar-born Vikas Khanna, is set to launch a humanitarian food project at the White House.
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Molls of Mumbai

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON APR 15, 2011 11:01 PM IST
It’s strange to think of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim as a frightened young man, hiding from his enraged policeman father after beating up a young thug in a gang fight. Zara Murao writes.
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Does India win only if we win today?

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON APR 01, 2011 10:49 PM IST
‘All this over a game?’ asks Lisa Simpson in what was perhaps a programming masterstroke on the part of Star World. Zara Murao writes.
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Whatever happened to those aliens in Egypt?

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON FEB 15, 2011 11:10 PM IST
‘As a child, I believed aliens built the pyramids,’ says Hella, laughing. It’s March 2009 and the pretty, crisp-toned tour guide is adjusting her headscarf as she sits in the front seat of our tour van, smilingly trying to break the ice with yet another busload of strangers.
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Just log on to find a kabadiwala

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 07, 2011 01:41 AM IST
Every few days, a small group of ragpickers heads briskly to a block of buildings in Andheri West, making sure they get there before the municipal garbage collection van.
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In gaothans, it’s past vs future

By Mini Pant Zachariah & Zara Murao | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 26, 2010 12:55 AM IST
Should Mumbai’s 189 indigenous villages remain gaothans, even as the rest of the city is transformed around them, or should they have the option of developing, redeveloping and growing as they wish?
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‘Are we not citizens of India too?’

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON APR 07, 2010 01:22 AM IST
She’s a widely travelled activist and entrepreneur who has spoken at the UN, represented Asia-Pacific — and, on Friday, was asked to leave Bombay Gymkhana because she is a transsexual. In conversation with Laxmi Tripathi…
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Tawang song

By Zara Murao, Arunachal Pradesh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2010 07:27 PM IST
In breathtaking Arunachal Pradesh, the Sino-Indian war is living history. Memorials dot the winding, mountainous route from Tezpur in Assam to the monastery town of Tawang. Zara Murao writes.Photo by AFP
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HT Image

Tawang song

By Zara Murao | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2010 11:04 PM IST
In breathtaking Arunachal Pradesh, the Sino-Indian war is living history. Memorials dot the winding, mountainous route from Tezpur in Assam to the monastery town of Tawang. Zara Murao writes.
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