Born in Ballia, a remote village of Uttar Pradesh where her father was a district magistrate, the author spent 11 years in a convent boarding school in the hill station of Nainital, now in Uttarakhand. Thanks to her father's job in the IAS, she lived in many parts of UP, including Allahabad, Hamirpur and Jhansi. After graduating from Isabella Thoburn College, Lucknow, she went to New Delhi for her Master’s in political science from Jawaharlal Nehru University. During two semesters in Pennsylvania State University as a teaching assistant, she was the first columnist of foreign origin for the local newspaper. She returned to Delhi to pursue a career in journalism that spans three decades, including Patriot, Delhi Mid-Day, Indian Express, Pioneer, Economic Times, Swagat magazine and Tehelka. In between, she also had a one-year stint with Penguin Books India. She is now works as a senior editor with The Statesman, New Delhi.