Maroosha Muzaffar loves a good hike in the mountains. That love started during a high school camping trip in the mountains of Sonamarg in Kashmir, where she was raised.
Growing up during a decades-old conflict between India and Pakistan, when armed insurgency against Indian rule in Sonamarg was on the rise, meant witnessing human rights abuses up close. Maroosha saw crossfire, military crackdowns, gunshot wounds and the death of a close friend. In short, life was uncertain.
Maroosha’s father advised her to read editorials in local newspapers, and reading became a habit. Her father’s old, dog-eared books, which smelled of mildew, kept Maroosha company when school was shut down or the neighborhood was cordoned off by the Indian army hunting for armed rebels. Her grandfather, a brilliant storyteller, told her tales on cold, wintry evenings. He serialized the stories, and Maroosha waited eagerly for the next evening, when she would hear another installment.
As a young journalist in downtown Srinagar, Kashmir, privy to stories of suffering and resilience, she became addicted to reporting. When she moved to New Delhi, she was fascinated by the range of stories she could tell. Though a more difficult place to report from than Srinagar, Delhi was also rewarding — Maroosha credits the city, where she now lives, with making her grow up.
In 2012, she moved to New York City on a Fulbright scholarship and studied narrative journalism at New York University. In New York — a city she fell hard and fast for — Maroosha became even hungrier for emotional and intellectual growth. While there, she worked for the New York Times and The New Republic and won a South Asian Journalists Association Award for her Atlantic article on aging ballet dancers.
Maroosha has since worked with Indian news magazine India Today and Vice India, where she covered, among other topics, sexuality, gender identity and minorities. When she is not reporting or brainstorming story ideas with her friends, partner and anyone else willing to listen, you’ll find her cuddling with her rescue puppy — something she had to overcome cynophobia to enjoy. She’s contemplating writing an ethnography book on why TikTok videos are so addictive. (They really are.)
Maroosha wants to host her own podcast on which she will discuss all things taboo. In the next 10 years, she hopes to be reporting from all over the world. But for right now, she is trying to figure out how to convince her parents that marriage is so last century. Send help.