Why a girl in Belfast calls herself ‘Lola’

When I was born, the astrologer advised my parents to name me with a letter with the sound ‘Lo’, combining L and O. He even had a suggestion – ‘Lokeshwari’. My parents found it too dull and timid, though the name in Hindi means ”one who rules the world”. Perhaps, this name would have done wonders for my life because it at least reflects my ambition, if not the journey. Anyway, they privately called me ‘Lola’, though the name has a tragic meaning – sorrow’ – but I guess they watched the movie ‘Run Lola Run’ and were charmed. Alongside, I had a formal name which I always hated for being too common – ‘Pallavi’ meaning ‘fresh leaf’ in Hindi – and another pet name given to me by my grandmother – ‘Rimjhim’ meaning ‘drizzle’ in Hindi.

My move to Belfast is a significant move in my life and career. While I have moved countries before for education and work, this is significant in so many ways. I am more than just one person and I am fuller with my gifts and more clear in my purpose in life. I wanted a new name to signify everything new that’s happening to me, but I didn’t want to deviate farther from who I have been past three decades of my life. So, Lola, which very few people know is one of my names, seemed to be the ideal choice.

Often, especially on social media, it affords me the anonymity I need, and sometimes, it helps me create an intrigue for no reason. Whatever it is, I am finally owning up to my little known name like never before. It’s comforting to be Lola in a world where everyone is trying to fake happiness.

Can Atlas Cycles make a comeback?

I wrote this for @moneycontrolcom and the inspiration came from my brother. More than a decade after he left high school, he invested in a bicycle. This reminded me of our favourite wheels as children — Atlas cycles.

COVID-19 and the restrictions it imposed had clearly tested the patience of thousands like him who had had enough of indoor workouts, and thought cycling outdoors was a better way to burn calories. Sadly, Atlas cycles shut shop last year. The company is out of the market at a time consumer demand has boomed and the humble bicycle has made a fierce comeback.

The pandemic has induced changes in customer behaviour and preferences and the surge for the demand in bicycles is a global trend. This reminded me of the British bicycle mania in history when Britain saw a rapid increase in the number of registered cycle manufacturers. Check out @wquinn05 ‘s excellent working paper for @QUCEHBelfast which offered me great insights for the piece: http://quceh.org.uk/uploads/1/0/5/5/10558478/wp16-06.pdf

Demand leads to innovation. Will it for India where bicycle production is second only to China? I learnt a great deal from Sudev Sheth’s paper on small businesses who used history to leverage their brands. A summary of the paper is here https://linkedin.com/pulse/tapping-history-how-empty-mills-leapfrogging-todays-global-sheth/

Some of the innovation has already begun and there isn’t a better time for Atlas to come riding back into the boom. Read the full piece here:

You could download the piece below.

Also, for a learned deep-dive into the British Bicycle mania and other booms and busts in history, do read @ProfJohnTurner @wquinn05 ‘s @BoomBustBubbles. Book available here – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boom-Bust-History-Financial-Bubbles/dp/1108421253

That’s it for now, back again with more. Watch this space or follow @econhistorienne @moneycontrolcom.

Enjoy your Sunday,


Debuted with Opinion in Moneycontrol today

I will be writing op-eds for moneycontrol, India’s number 1 financial news website, and today was my debut. Do read.

Moneycontrol Link: https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/opinion/time-for-a-policy-rethink-on-crime-and-poverty-eradication-5762451.html

चौसर सखी

चौसर सखी

Collection of Hindi poems. On receipt of payment, the e-book shall be emailed to your preferred email id or kindle id. Please email your preference to econhistorienne@gmail.com


Poem on quarantine featured in Lockdown Journal!

I am happy for Lockdown Journal to feature my poem ‘Quarantine’ on their website. You can check it out here or download it here:


I am launching EconHistorienne, my twice-a-month newsletter for original storytelling from India. Through this newsletter, I will deliver Narrative Storytelling on Inequality, Capitalism, Globalization and Social Unrest in India and essays on History to contextualize these themes.

Why should you subscribe to my newsletter? Because you read, you value great research, you love good writing, and you can invest time on valuable, honest journalism that puts people in stories. Also, you are curious how the past can inform the present.

You could email me at p.singh24@alumni.lse.ac.uk if you have ideas to pitch.

EconHistorienne is free for the year 2020.


There is no notion in the world as misleading and doubly as promising as perfection. We love people in our lives, and we love people to help them permeate through our life like our favorite perfumes and we eventually settle with the thought that with all the ensuing peace and contentment, this situation could be nothing short of perfection.

Truth is, perfection is a feeling – a feeling that there is nothing wrong, no treatment ever shoddy, no care ever incomplete, no expectation ever unmet. The fact of the matter, or rather, matter-of-fact truth is that perfection is an impression we accept of people, situations, accomplishments. Perfection, therefore, is free of errors and mistakes because it overlooks them; it makes people judgment-proof, clean as sandalwood, revered as a temple floor.

Perfection is faith.