Sudip Mazumdar


The morning of Dec. 26 began like so many others along India's eastern coast, with the sounds of kids playing on the beach. Like thousands of children in the coastal hamlets of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Rajan, 10, was surprised by the giant waves that suddenly swept the shoreline. "I ran up a mound with a few others but saw our hut getting washed away," he says.


Cleanup crews are used to thankless tasks. But when maintenance men at the Sao Paulo Electrical Co. (CESP) descended to the bowels of the huge Sergio Motta hydro- electric plant on the Parana River earlier this year, they couldn't believe what they saw.


We know Bill Gates as the father of Windows, Steve Jobs as the man behind the iPod and Sergey Brin and Larry Page as the geeks who brought us Google. When it comes to the new wireless revolution, however, many of its pioneers aren't even as well known as "American Idol" reject William Hung.

Betting On Reform

An incongruous name adorns one new housing estate in teeming Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). "Animikha," translated from Bengali, means "so beautiful, beholders cannot blink." Surrounded by reclaimed wasteland at the fringe of the migrant-choked metropolis, the low-rise complex is no sooner beheld than one cannot but blink in the clouds of swirling dust.

Sex Sells, And Saves

The buzz in Bollywood is best captured by the kiss count for Mallika Sherawat. A small-town girl turned sex symbol, she debuted last year in "Khwaish" ("Desire"), which caught the eyes of critics for its 17 smooching scenes.

Delhi's Dreamer

Dreams have always played an important role in the life of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, a poor boy from an ordinary Muslim family in southern India who grew up to become a national hero.

Nirvana Behind Bars

Three years ago Bhupinder Singh, a burly 23-year-old man, was sent to Tihar Jail on the outskirts of New Delhi. He'd been charged with murder. When Singh arrived at Tihar, say prison officials, he was angry and violent.

Desperate For Water

On a searingly hot morning last week, Bhil, a 15-year-old boy, began trudging away from his hamlet in the desert of Rajasthan, Western India. Bhil had told the village elders that he was going to search for water and would not return until he found it.

Setting Fire To 'Water'

How can water set a city on fire? Indian-born moviemaker Deepa Mehta would be happy to explain. She's been trying for weeks to roll the cameras on her new movie, called "Water", which is set in the placid Hindu holy city of Varanasi.

Shame, The Virtual Weapon

One of the web sites generating the most buzz in India these days is--surprise--not about shopping, job openings or pornography. It's about shame. Late last month Web site of a small government department known as the Central Vigilance Commission--posted a seemingly innocuous list of the names of 88 top bureaucrats and police officials.

Case Of The Stolen Boys

There was nothing unusual about the birth of Keya Bhattacharjee's baby boy at a dingy, overcrowded Calcutta hospital. But soon after the delivery, the doctors gave her the bad news.

Dark After The Storm

Early on the morning of Oct. 29, Raghu Behera was startled awake by fierce rain and winds whistling through his tin-and-tarp shack. A stevedore by trade, Behera peered out and froze at the sight.

Anyone On The Line?

Shortly after Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee won a second term in office, telephones started jangling at his tree-lined bungalow in New Delhi.

All Smiles?

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's upcoming Inauguration won't be as tense as the last. A year and a half ago Vajpayee took the podium at the presidential palace looking ashen, averting his eyes from the front row of VIPs.

The Pride Of Bangalore

For N. R. Narayana Murthy, capitalist enlightenment came in a Bulgarian jail. The Indian-born computer engineer was so committed to leftist principles that in 1974 he quit his job at a French computer company, donated his savings to charity and headed for home via Eastern Europe.