Chanel Baldwin's eyes sipped on that painting and only that painting, because it was what was available to her on this side of the money line.
On steaming afternoons for much of the season, Ms. Baldwin, who turned 16 on Thursday, parked herself after summer school at the Brooklyn Museum, a refugee seeking the asylum of air-conditioning.
I realized that night as I watched Misal, dressed in a crisp white-and-purple shirt and a dark tie emblazoned with the crest of a family not his own, that he had made himself Umred’s ambassador of escape: part motivational speaker, part revivalist preacher of the gospel of ambition. When he established the Mr. and Miss Umred Personality Contest, he was not bringing a new idea to Umred so much as giving expression to an existing idea. What he understood was that the young craved an exit, and he had built a personal empire to serve that craving.
In a private room in a mysterious little restaurant in Chengdu, my fellow diners goaded me to eat the turtle. It was soft-shelled, they said — as if that made it more enticing. They laughed and joked in Chinese, which I do not speak. Eating turtle grows a man’s bank account, my translator said. I didn’t get the meaning at first. Then it sunk in.
We were in a motorized rubber boat on the edge of Sognefjord, the longest fjord in Norway, slicing through water that resembled dark green glass. The sky yawned ever wider as the docks of the small town of Balestrand fell behind. All five passengers were wearing puffy, black full-body suits that worked as life jackets and, the captain assured us, would sustain us for two days if the untoward occurred.
As we returned to the S.U.V., a loud crackle punctured the night. The crowd dispersed. The security men, armed and protected by bulletproof vests, said it was semiautomatic gunfire. Afterward, Jean continued his soliloquy. “How did I get in this situation?” he asked. “I’m just a rock star.” There were several other shantytowns on the evening’s itinerary. Jean put his hand on my shoulder: “Guess what? You with the right dude, you hear me? Nothing’s going to happen to us, baby, you feel me? We live for a reason, right? And we better die for the right reason.”
This city, before it was a city, was a dusting of seven islands in the choppy brine off India’s western coast. Beginning nearly three centuries ago, it was gradually reclaimed from the sea, seven masses forging one, and claimed by the teeming country at its back. Dangling in the Arabian Sea, it has become Mumbai, India’s stock-trading and film-making capital and its window to the world.
ABOARD THE PUSHPAK EXPRESS, India — The man with neatly parted hair stood in the doorway of the hurtling train. And then, at the perfect moment, he jumped.
This was not about suicide, however. It was about tea.
G. P. Sawant never charged the prostitutes for his letter-writing services.
Not long after the women would descend on this swarming, chaotic city, they would find him at his stall near the post office, this letter writer for the unlettered. They often came hungry, battered and lonely, needing someone to convert their spoken words into handwritten letters to mail back to their home villages.
The idea of foraging New York in this strange way came to us from a great distance. We were under umbrellas on Sri Lankan sand about a year ago, pondering the ocean; swapping notes on our wedding, days earlier; volleying ideas for our new existence in New York, where we were moving from Boston after the honeymoon. Neither of us had ever lived there; we’d waited because we each saw the city with the same reverence, as a place that you earned by first inhabiting other places. We knew that on the day of our arrival that March, for a flicker of history, every one of this city’s eight million citizens would have arrived here before us. How to catch up?
Late in 2007, Ayah Bdeir was working in a plush office in Midtown Manhattan, making a lot of money and feeling miserable. She was a financial-software consultant for a technology company. One of her specialties was peddling software for credit-default swaps — among the many complex financial instruments that would soon wreak havoc on the planet. Somewhere there was a thing from which these derivatives were derived, but Bdeir, atop countless layers of transacting, was too far away to see it, much less touch it.
Americans continue to debate the limits of individual freedom — whether to abort a fetus or own a gun or sell stocks or buy drugs. And in different ways, the two television shows address the promise and limitations of the modern, Western emphasis on — even sacralization of — the individual.
If our parents left India and trudged westward for us, if they manufactured from scratch a new life there for us, if they slogged, saved, sacrificed to make our lives lighter than theirs, then what does it mean when we choose to migrate to the place they forsook?
In the deep recesses of the Basurto market, a man is shaving the face of a pig. A razor in his hand, he glides across its face to remove the fuzz. The pig will soon be dinner. Not far away, cow hearts are on sale, and beside them cow eyes, staring out ominously, bound for a hearty potage. A shopping cart full of limes whizzes past. Alcatraz birds loom on the corrugated-tin roofs. “My Sweet Lord” is playing in one corner; in another, Caribbean songs pour from a bar lined with drinkers. It is not yet noon.
This megalopolis on the Arabian Sea is India's epicenter of business and entertainment. It is a city of mind-bending extremes, where $8 martinis coexist with eight million slum dwellers. It is the city of Asia's oldest bourse, the world's most prolific film industry and some of the priciest flats on Earth.
It is also a city hopelessly two-named.
Responding to burgeoning political activity on the Internet, the Federal Election Commission is expected on Thursday to bring Presidential fund-raising into the age of electronic commerce.
As Alfonse M. D'Amato and Charles E. Schumer faced off last year in New York's divisive Senate race, David G. Lambert decided to take a side. Make that two sides.
Behram Harda was a dancer in the Bollywood films of the 1970s, gracing the screen with his twist and his cha-cha.
Then he became a rodent assassin.
It's the Jazz Age again in Mumbai. The populous metropolis is bursting with stock-market money, a shimmering art scene has a growing global presence, and young people are exploiting their newfound freedoms in dim bars until the wee hours. Indeed, in the city’s more rarefied circles, Champagne is sipped every night and everyone knows everyone, darling. But large swaths of Mumbai, the former Bombay, remain immune to the homogeneity of global glamour. Behind the bustling boulevards are nameless alleys where coconuts are sold, haircuts are given and the city’s frenetic traffic occasionally comes to a honking halt because of a scampering goat.
Sleeping in a public place, unable to see, with the loudest Dolby noise shooting from every direction, is not ideal. You hear the footsteps of people going to the bathroom. What must they think of a grown man swaddled in a blanket, wearing an eye mask in a movie theater? But if shame isn’t your problem, this was a solid B- of a daytime nap in a city without a lot of grade-A options.