Nandini Nair

Nandini Nair

Deputy editor at Open. Previously at The Hindu and Indian Express. Here is a selection of some of my writing. Reach me at

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Arts And Culture

Golden Shower

An ode to the amaltas, Delhi's most glorious summer bloom

Open / May 2017 / Comment

Fault in Our Stars

How rankings and ratings determine all our decisions today

Open / April 2017 / Reportage


The problem with peronalised slogans. The ‘I am’ slogan is a perfect example of a phrase that has travelled through history and adopted different meanings in various contexts

Open / October 2017 / Reportage

Pilgrim's Progress

It’s another Kumbh spectacular on the riverbank as sadhus and seekers join the biggest festival of faith at Ujjain

Open / April 2016 / Reportage

A Terrible Beauty is Born

The rising star of Indonesian fiction, Eka Kurniawan spins a tale that is as bloody as it is brilliant. He has a message for the world—the truth always exposes itself

Open / April 2016 / Books

Dear Delhi commuters: Stop complaining

For 15 years I have lived in this city and not owned a vehicle. The metro, a network of buses, autos, kaali-peelis, taxis and bhaiyas have been my lifeline

Open / April 2016 / Comment

The Woman who Dared

Muslim countries don’t support it, neither should India, says the petitioner fighting to put an end to triple talaq. Could Shayara Bano be the woman who challenged the misogyny after Shah Bano?

Open / April 2016 / Reportage

Picture This

William Dalrymple was a keen photographer before he became an author. The cell phone has returned him to that abandoned love

Open / April 2016 / Books

Past Mater

Sunil Khilnani explores the idea of India through the profiles of fifty Indians who shaped history

Open / March 2016 / Books

The Crayon Revolution

What is the lure of the adult colouring book? Is it a sign of boredom and loneliness? Does it alleviate stress? Is it a return to childhood? Or is it a symptom of ‘rage against the machine’?

Open / March 2016 / Books

Bridge of faith

Yann Martel handles life’s big mysteries with the lightest of touch. Will he finally emerge from the shadow of his blockbuster fiction? The novelist reveals all

Open / February 2016 / Books

Word at your feet

Is the Jaipur Literature Festival going through a Bob Dylan crisis? And the stars, the star-struck and other delights and diversions at literature’s biggest carnival

Open / February 2016 / Books

Time Keeper

Anchored by dystopias, Margaret Atwood’s prescience has often proved uncanny

Open / February 2016 / Books

Get Back, Jo

Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer-winning author, finds a new but unstable address in her latest non-fiction work

Open / February 2016 / Books

Past forward

Kanishk Tharoor creates fiction not from a castle of fancies but from the realm of history

Open / January 2016 / Books

Of earth and water

Chennai takes great pride in what it is. Delhi and Mumbai are often pitted against each other. But Chennai will have none of that, because it refuses to partake of that contest

Indian Express / January 2016 / Comment

I want to see more clearly

Author Amitava Kumar's new collection of essays is a robust engagement with, and an examination of what is within and what is beyond

The Hindu BLink / September 2015 / Books

400 Not forgotten

In Delhi, a group of intrepid Japanese researchers are taking a roll call of the medieval monuments that were painstakingly mapped by a fellow countryman-historian more than half a century ago

The Hindu BLink / November 2015 / Reportage

This book is full of gratitude and anger

'No One Else — A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex', by Siddharth Dube is fierce and tender and conveys the most important message of our times - accept me for who I am

The Hindu BLink / November 2015 / Books

Dial M for Change

Over the last 20 years, the cellphone has come to be the definitive symbol of autnomy in modern India. A look at how it is changing lives of migrants and workers

The Hindu BLink / August 2015 / Reportage

No baby, no cry

A collection of essays that dispels the stigma around the choice to not have children

The Hindu BLink / July 2015 / Books

Storyteller for all times

Amitav Ghosh on daydreaming in Goa, Calcutta of the 19th century, and a special fan letter

The Hindu BLink / June 2015 / Books

Gigantic Permanents

A posthumous work that throbs with a love for everything… so beautiful and so short

The Hindu BLink / June 2015 / Books

Delhi: Loving a city you hate

On Delhi's streets, only its apathy can match its aggression. But you arrive here to reinvent yourself, because you believe in your own agency

The Hindu BLink / February 2014 / Comment

Thank you, Laxman

To the cartoonist I never met but who showed a 12-year-old girl that every man can be a hero

The Hindu Business Line / January 2015 / Comment

The modern flaneur

A defense of online reading which allows the reader to be protagonist and audience

The Hindu BLink / June 2014 / Comment

Kill for the IAS

The odds of getting into India's premier services are around one in 10,000. Yet lakhs of candidates sacrifice years of their lives for this exam...this cause. We decode the obsession, the madness even.

The Hindu BLink / August 2014 / Reportage

Telling Herstory

Malayalam author KR Meera on 'Hangwoman' where she shatters readers and remedies historical wrongs

The Hindu BLink / July 2014 / Books

People are the place

Author Mirza Waheed on growing up in Kashmir during the rupture of the ’90s, the beauty and the violence in his state, and his love for cricket

The Hindu BLink / December 2014 / Books

The enchanted author

Author Amit Chaudhuri on his love for leaky characters and the Bengali obsession with bodily functions

The Hindu BLink / October 2014 / Books

City of borders

Crime writer and criminal defence lawyer Jens Lapidus on the social fissures in Sweden and the workings of the mafia

The Hindu BLink / April 2015 / Books

The city of art

One of the most awaited art events of the calendar; The Kochi-Muziris Biennale uses the city as a wellspring and not merely a venue

The Hindu BLink / December 2014 / Arts And Culture

Margins rising

How students from traditionally disadvantaged communities are coping at the country's premier educational institutions

The Hindu BLink / September 2014 / Reportage

Whose city is this?

Public performances in Delhi force the audience to reckon with gender differences

The Hindu BLink / December 2014 / Arts And Culture

Almost famous in Farrukhabad

What is the allure of the Miss India pageant? At local spin-offs of Miss India, we find chutzpah in place of poshness, and while finesse might be missing, entertainment is guaranteed

The Hindu BLink / February 2014 / Reportage

Who is who at the Jaipur Literature Festival

Are you attending JLF for the first time? Or for the fifth? Here is a quick primer on all you need to know about the attendant species

The Hindu BLink / January 2014 / Books

In our beginning, there was a boat

Journalist and author of Coolie Woman, Gaiutra Bahadur on why she chose not to write a novel and the burdens of the word 'coolie'

The Hindu BLink / February 2014 / Books

Page not found

The World Wide Web is a gendered space with its own patriarchal fissures. An edit-a-thon attempts to correct the online gender imbalance by creating Wiki entries for Indian women

The Hindu BLink / April 2014 / Reportage

Who are they?

We have all been teenagers, but that makes us none the wiser of today's urban teenage experience. We dive into their world and emerge heartened and afraid as we learn of the demons they fight, the nudies they shoot

The Hindu BLink / July 2014 / Reportage

Between worlds

Some things never change, and some start to fracture. A report on the crisis of masculinity in Haryana

The Hindu BLink / January 2015 / Reportage

The pot on the stage

Busting myths around the humble ghatam (a percussion instrument) by recognising the leading ghatam maker and players in the country

The Hindu BLink / May 2014 / Arts And Culture

No. 1 Hit Single

Singlehood can often rock. Here is why. It is setting up camp not waiting, with bated breath, at an airport lounge

The Hindu BLink / April 2014 / Comment

Oddballs are the best

Author Sally Gardner learned to read at 14. Today she is one of the leading writers of children’s books. Here she reveals her love for ‘the’ and scorn for all things adult

The Hindu BLink / March 2014 / Books

What the bleep

In defense of saying 'WFT'. Cussing shows that we feel more than we can express. And sometimes we should admit that

Indian Express / July 2011 / Comment

Freedom dance

One of UK's finest choreographers, Akram Khan's dance transforms space and confounds categories. The artist on his journey so far

Indian Express / September 2012 / Arts And Culture

The now where dancer

British-Indian dancer Aakash Odedra on stepping outside of one's comfort zone and exploring the grey shades of his art

Indian Express / November 2012 / Arts And Culture

How to find a cook

A clutch of websites helps organise and train millions of informal workers in Indian cities, from drivers to domestics, beauticians to sales people, and connect them to employers like you

Indian Express / March 2013 / Reportage

Kathak in a shade of Ebony

As a black male Kathak dancer, Quincy Kendell Charles has shown that beauty lies in precision, not colour, and that grace lies in rhythm, not gender

Indian Express / May 2013 / Arts And Culture

Show me the money

Have an idea, but no cash? Try crowdfunding, the next big thing for entrepreneurs

Indian Express / April 2011 / Reportage

She clears the class test

Stories of struggle, persistence and finally assimilation of students from Economically Weaker Sections admitted under the Right to Education

Indian Express / December 2010 / Reportage

I vote with every sentence I write

British-Pakistani author Nadeem Aslam reveals his experiments with blindness, the importance of craft and the next 11 novels in his head

Indian Express / January 2013 / Books

An alarippu in Abbotabad

It's a legacy that their country does not want to remember. But, in the face of opposition, a handful of dancers from Pakistan are adapting the classical dances — Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak — to tell a fascinating story

Indian Express / July 2011 / Reportage

The nurse from Kerala

The Malayali nurse is ubiquitous to India's hospitals and nursing homes, from Guwahati to Mumbai, and even outside the country. Where does her journey begin? What makes her travel out of her land? And what keeps her going?

Indian Express / December 2011 / Reportage

Under the sign of cancer

Delhi-born, New York-based physician Siddhartha Mukherjee turns into cancer's biographer, chronicling the battle between the malady and the medical treatment, its heroes and victims

Indian Express / November 2010 / Books

The quiet Indian

Pico Iyer on the men within his head, the power of Graham Greene's books and why he is a "parasite"

Indian Express / April 2012 / Books

Write of passage

India's most cerebral and celebrated author Amitav Ghosh on his new book, the personality of words and resurrecting lost worlds

Indian Express / July 2011 / Books

Dancing in the dark

Bollywood might have brought folk dances to our homes, but their true practitioners devote their lives to the art, usually aware that their children will not further this legacy. A night spent with nautanki dancers in Haryana

Indian Express / March 2012 / Reportage

The risk of forgetting it all

Today as we chronicle, archive and communicate online, do we risk losing that connection with our memories and our past

Indian Express / November 2011 / Comment

Other writers on porterfolio

Here are some of the other writers who are using porterfolio right now.

Trisha GuptaNeha DixitJaideep SenShahnaz SiganporiaJoanna LoboElizabeth MathewVaidushya ParthRaghu KarnadPronoti DattaThulasi K. RajShruti RavindranPallavi SinghSupriya NairAnannya SarkarRohini MohanMukul KesavanRajesh SerupallyNeha MargosaSanskrita BharadwajSrinath PerurRohan SinghNidhi GaurDeepanjana PalKai FrieseShreya SethuramanLeena Gita ReghunathShweta TanejaVeejay SaiKabir Taneja Kamayani SharmaVeena PrasadAkshita Nahar JainSaurabh DatarSanshey BiswasHema Vaishnavi AleVivek MenezesPooja PandePrayaag AkbarRicha MalhotraKashmeera SambamurthyDyuti SudiptaRohit DhyaniAishwarya SubramanianBhanuj KappalGourav VallabhSmitha MenonUday KapurRozelle LahaRavina RawalNeha MKimberley Fernandesvalentina mmakaSharanya Shreya Ila AnasuyaKavitha RaoRitesh GohilVinayak VarmaHarini BarathShubha ShastrySupriya SharmaAsawari GhatageVenkat Srinivasansamrat chakrabartiMohit ParikhBijoy VenugopalDivya J ShekharNishita JhaBhanu JoshiAnant PrakashDevanik SahaAkshay DeshmaneAvtar SinghGautam BhatiaVidya VenkatAayush SoniHindol SenguptaRosalyn DmelloJuhi PandeDevika BakshiVaibhav Vatsamrita madhukalyaUday BhatiaSalik ShahSarah Gilbertrahul mTanushree BhasinAysha TanyaVikram GopalAkshay PathakShobhna IyerGautam BhanGayathri VaidyanathanAbhishek ChoudharyNidhi Guptameena kandasamySnigdha PoonamDan MorrisonAnjali VaidyaTanul ThakurNaintara Maya OberoiMaddy CrowellRoshni P. NairChristina ReedMeryl SebastianDivya DeoraJinoy JoseGayathri SreedharanAbhirup DamDR. STANLY JOHNYFurquan AmeenRitika BhatiaDebojit DuttaVineet GillManjiri IndurkarAbdul GaniChryselle D'Silva DiasEnakshi SharmaJohn CheeranShanoor SeervaiSowmiya AshokAditi MalhotraAmit Radha Krishna NigamTanuj SolankiPatanjali PahwaAkshaya PillaiHarsimran GillPrashant SinghNawaz Gul QanungoAakshi MagazineDivya RajagopalIna GoelMansi ChoksiPooja MaheshMartin KimaniScott StewartGarima ChitkaraAashish GuptaAmish MulmiAbir PalShanu AthiparambathAbhinandan MishraDushyant Priyanka DubeyKaber VasukiGreg GottfriedShilpa KrishnanC.S. BhagyaRamakrishnan MPavithra SankaranVivekananda NemanaAnubha Sinhasibi arasuMadhumitha SrinivasanEkta MohtaSonia PaulJia SinghPavithra S RanganSumedha RaikarSukhada TatkeSushant SinghRasmi BinoySankar RadhakrishnanRiad AzamDivya GandhiAnkur BhardwajRoshni VatnaniPooja PillaiDebarghya SanyalHaziq QadriPooja SalviDeepika NRohini LakshanéPrem PanickerBinoy PrabhakarRia Singh SawhneyBoshika GuptaArunima MazumdarAvantika SethArchana NathanDanish RazaAmrita GuptaTora AgarwalaApoorva SripathiPallavi AilDivya SehgalShubhra DixitSameera Asif Kalam cjg ghannyMuhammed Afzal PJaideep UnudurtiSubir Ghoshshamanth bsWayne D'CruzShruti SunderramanJanaki LeninJayant GanjuAradhna WalNandini Nair Vatsala ChhibberVilani Qadri InzamamUrvashi BahugunaDevanik SahaAnindita GhoseAkhil SoodShreerupa MitraSusan HarisDave BesselingMeghnad STaran KhanAsmita BakshiShivanshu K. SrivastavaRahul MagantiRikky MinochaKarthik ShankarMayukh MajumdarMoeena HalimDebabrata MohantyPrachi SibalDebashree MajumdarJaved AnisRishikesh PandeVikram ShahDivya KarthikeyanDeepika BhardwajRoshan JohnSushant KumarCharan TejaSakshi JainAjay PatriHarish AlagappaSushil KumarPriyanka ShankarAditya IyerAmulya BKomal SharmaKrishnakumar RHarsh PareekKavya MurthyArpita ChakrabartyShilpi SainiPallavi PundirShelly WaliaRonak GuptaBeverly PereiraGrishma RaoChandni DoulatramaniSruthi RadhakrishnanSrinidhi Raghavanaarti singh