Ranjani Iyer Mohanty's Blog

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Editor’s Pick
MAY 14, 2012 11:35AM

The Power of the Word


After enduring years of house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi won a landmark victory in recent by-elections. But before she could take her seat in Parliament, she had to take an oath. The oath required her to ‘safeguard’ the constitution. Because she would like to someday change the consRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 9, 2012 2:58AM

India's Many Godfathers

Last night I was watching a favorite movie of mine, The Godfather, with director Francis Ford Coppola’s commentary. One thing he said seemed not only incisive but relevant. Near the beginning of the story, when Bonasera comes to Vito Corleone to ask him for a favor, Coppola explainsRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 18, 2012 7:55AM

For a Tumbler of Coffee

The making of coffee is the day’s opening ritual for many families in South India. In my grandmother’s home, Arabica and Peaberry beans were first roasted separately. Then they were mixed and a small daily portion freshly ground using a hand grinder. The grounds would be placed into the uRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 12, 2012 5:13AM

The Fanciful World of Foreign Aid


The recent revelation of India's finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s comments that India doesn’t need British aid has raised some shackles in Britain and led to some proud strutting in India. And that’s very understandable. Why should Britain continue giving aid to India? AndRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 1, 2012 10:50PM

Mr. Shyam, the Subzi-Wala

When I was about five years old, I visited my grandmother in the Southern Indian town of Vellore. Apart from the traditional-style house with a large open courtyard in the center and sneaking pickled lemons from the big earthen jar in the store room, my other abiding memory is that eachRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 13, 2012 4:40AM

Made for each other: India & flash mobs


During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, the cigarette company Wills ITC had advertisements with a very memorable tagline: “Made for each other”. I don’t know if they were referring to cigarettes and smokers, filter and tobacco, the attractive man and woman pictured,Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 21, 2011 5:22AM

Kolaveri-Di: India's New Youth Anthem?

If you still haven’t heard of the song Why this kolaveri di?, you haven't been anywhere near India nor Indians these last six weeks. Since its release on November 16, this song has gone viral on the Internet and been reported in all the Indian newspapers. Why is this song so immeRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 10, 2011 5:42AM

Turning 50

It’s been done. By the famous and the unknown. Barack Obama, George Clooney, Melissa Etheridge, Nadia Comaneci, Wayne Gretzky, me, all of my classmates, and several million others the world over. We all turned 50 years old this year. It’s an arbitrary line in the sand that we step over anRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 26, 2011 4:39AM

Fashion Week Fasting


Once a year I get dragged along to the Delhi Fashion Week because I’m needed to chaperone my teenage fashionista daughter and her like-minded friends. I live far from the fashion world both physically and mentally, so this event is a stretch for me. And yet it is intriguing experiencingRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
MARCH 8, 2011 5:37AM

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: The Cricket World Cup


The young boys in the village behind our house run home from school, quickly eat their lunch, and, hardly able to contain their excitement, limber up bowling a few balls in the street until their mothers call them in for the start of the match. A small group crowds aroundRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 20, 2011 12:01AM

Writing in Tongues

What happens when your mother tongue no longer is? There’s an expectation that the language you first learn, often from your mother, and the one that represents your native culture, is the one you are most proficient in ... but that’s not always so. The first language I learnt was Tamil.… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 13, 2011 12:26AM

The Clarity of the Day

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The following piece was published in the IHT/NYT a couple of years ago, and while much has changed, many of the issues discussed still seem current. On the personal front, our daily rituals and the weather today in Delhi are surprisingly th… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 9, 2010 12:14AM

What Is WikiLeaks Really Telling Us?

There has been some surprising news recently. No, not the WikiLeaks story of what U.S. diplomats said in their private communiqués but rather the story that diplomats of other countries are shocked by the contents. If that’s true, they must be the only ones. Most of what’s in these… Read full post »