|Born||August 12, 1964|
|Alma mater||Barnard College|
|Known for||Pulitzer Prize for Public Service;
When your work is nonfiction about low-income communities, pretty much anything that's not nonfiction about low-income communities feels like a guilty pleasure.
When I'm engaged in a story my health is not a big deal, but when I'm not doing anything, if you sit me down, I can get tied up in my own medical dramas. So I much prefer to work.
We often have an exaggerated sense of what nonprofits and governments are doing to help the poor, but the really inspiring thing is how much the poor are doing to help themselves.
We talk a lot about infrastructure in cities, and it's talking about highways and it's talking about trains, but I think more important to people who are low income is, how do I get from here to there? How do I become part of the affluence that's surrounding me?
A great deal of what is presumed to be intractable or inevitable in this world doesn't strike me that way at all.
There's some way in which we would prefer not to see very clearly the immense gifts and intelligence of some of the people who live in our most abject conditions. Maybe there are some things at work in deciding who gets to be society's winners and who gets to be society's losers that don't have to do with merit.
People talk about places like Mumbai as a tale of two cities, as if the rich and poor don't have anything to do with each other.
I have been dealing with illness and its manifestations since I was a teenager, and I think that gives me a very healthy respect for the things in life we can't control.
I think it's this congenital problem with journalism that we oversell the difference we make. We make small differences.
In any country, corruption tends to increase when more respectable means of social advancement break down.
One thing that was very clear to me is that the young people in a place like Annawadi aren't tripping on caste the way their parents are. They know their parents have these old views.
I'm useless when I meet writers I love – I go slack-jawed and stupid with awe.
For myself, suffering doesnt make me a good person; it makes me selfish. Why do we think that people who have less should find it edifying?
People naturally long for a bit of the wealth that is whorling all around them, and if the work and education available to them won't get them closer to the comforts that they see others enjoying, the temptation to take shortcuts can be fierce.
I was spending a lot of time in Mumbai after I met my husband, who is Indian, and while parts of the city were prospering like crazy, I couldn't quite make out how the new wealth had changed the prospects of the majority of city residents who lived in slums. So after a few years I stopped wondering and started reporting.