Reporters on the Job

The Antithesis of Madonna: While working on Friday's profile of India's new prime minister (page 7), staff writer Scott Baldauf was reminded that Manmohan Singh doesn't quite fit the mold of your average politician - or Delhiite.

"Delhi is a city of dekhawa - showing off. It's always been that way, because it was here that courtiers tried to "out-rich" each other to get access to the court of the Turkish - and then Afghan, and then Mughal - kings. The only difference is that today's courtiers carry cellphones," says Scott. "But in this world of constantly changing fashions, Mr. Singh is the anti-Madonna."

One of his friends described India's next prime minister as a man who lives so simply that he wouldn't buy new furniture until it completely wears out. And he wears precisely the same style of outfit every day: a white kurta tunic, loose white trousers, and a sky-blue turban. TV footage of him from 10 years ago looks as if it were shot yesterday.

Asked by reporters if Singh had ordered a special outfit for his inauguration, probably this Saturday, his wife Gursharan Kaur said: "He will wear his regular clothes. I think he will be uncomfortable if he has to wear special clothes."

Wedding Watching: Reporters Lisa Abend and Geoff Pingree are struggling mightily to maintain their journalistic integrity amid the mounting excitement of Saturday's royal wedding in Madrid (page 1). "I'm embarrassed to admit I bought a souvenir cookie tin," says Lisa. She was not among the 1,400 invited guests. When pressed about plans for the wedding day, she confesses that they live close to the Almudena Cathedral. "We'll watch them exit the cathedral and go into the palace across the plaza. As soon as they leave, we'll run over to the palace to see them wave from the balcony. Then, we plan to try to catch them as they ride through the streets."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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