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Reporters on the Job

Gone to the Movies: For today's story about Mohandas Gandhi's newfound popularity, staff writer Mark Sappenfield went to his first Hindi film, a comedy, at a Delhi cinema.

"From the frisking the moment I entered the movie theater, it was obvious that this wasn't going to be a normal experience – at least by my American standards," he says.

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Of course, there was the popcorn and candy, but for Mark, the similarities ended there. "You know the annoying guy who sits behind you and talks on his cellphone during the whole film? There were about 180 of those. So no one batted an angry eye as my assistant and interpreter, Saurabh, gave me a running play-by-play on what was happening in the film," he says.

Mark described the experience as like crashing a slumber party. "People got up and down at times that had nothing to do with what was going on on the screen. A group of girls carried on a full-throated conversation throughout the movie – and seemed to disturb no one. But the film was greatly enjoyable – silly, but with a good heart. The screenwriter said he wanted the audience to laugh or cry in every scene. Given the response, it looks as if he succeeded."

Ramadan Dining: When staff writer Dan Murphy first arrived in Cairo, he noticed the tables set up throughout the city, but assumed they were put there by street venders to satisfy people's desire to eat as soon as possible after their dawn-to-dusk fast. "There are clean tablecloths, lanterns and tinsel strung over the streets, and what appear to be waiters bustling about making sure everyone has enough to eat. It was only during my second Ramadan that I realized that it is all free, and represents a massive civic outpouring in a city that doesn't have a reputation for looking after the needy the rest of the year."

David Clark Scott
World editor