hints, allegations and things left unsaid...
flickr | feed | latest | last 10 

One World...
An international flight to US from Delhi, spanning four airports, three continents and 25+ hrs is bound to provide content for blog, long enough, to allow you to fill in the fifty odd minutes left to board the plane. I really wanted to do this installment on-board my flight to Chicago, but with seat number of 35E (bang in the middle) it would be at cost of inconvenience to at least 4 other people, and so, this installment comes to you live from Frankfurt airport.

The flight from Delhi to Frankfurt was at 2:00 in the morning on 15th. For someone who is used to crashing no later than 11:00 PM, this was quite a test of patience. My attempts to keep myself stimulated with books and Beethoven met with moderate success. I was soon joined by colleagues who were boarding same flight, so the void was filled with empty conversation.

Once in my seat (fortunately a window) it was a regular affair. The middle seat was empty, the aisle was occupied by an old, frail, timorous lady perhaps in her 80s, who was allowed to take liberty of encroaching the extra room between us. I had a lot of admiration for the lady, who despite not knowing a single word of English, had embarked on a journey to US, and yet behaved with panache of a seasoned traveler (The adulation did diminish a little when I was requested to vacate my domain, towards the end of the flight so that she could lie down!).

The breakfast served at flight had semblance to the fact that we were crossing continents, that world was becoming a global village. So where as my coffee whitener (which being liquid, behaved a lot better than the fine powdery nestle whitener they serve onboard domestic flights, that often leaves traces on your fingers) was a German brand, the mouth freshener was marked �Packed by Bankey Bihari and Sons, Delhi�. Globalization, journey across continents, right on my plate.

I was looking forward to flying Lufthansa because of Germany�s western classical connection. Vienna, Berlin have been centers of rich western classical music heritage Mozart, Beethoven, Bach have all had something to do with Germany. The radio on-board, as anticipated, did not disappoint. The program guide for channel 3 read:

�A program for demanding classical music lover, with music played predominantly to its original length�.

The entire program lasted 3 hours, (which meant they had to go into a repeat mode). The most interesting piece was Mozart�s piano concerto for two pianos. Mozart had seen this style of music concerts at Paris where two solo violins were interspersed with rich orchestral interludes. He came back and true to his improvisational nature, experimented by replacing the two violins with woodwind instruments, violas and pianos. This particular composition of his was finished in 1779 and was a work for two pianos, the two pianos being played in our rendition by Murray Perrahia and Radu Lupu. The composition, true to the claim of the program guide, was played in totality (the entire 3 allegro-andante-allegro movements)!

Then there were other classical channels one dedicated exclusively to Opera, one to some of the recent interpretations of western classical works and yet another one to favorite pieces of (and by) Anne-Sophie Mutter, which I could only briefly sample due to brevity of time and want of sleep.

For most parts we were flying at an altitude 35,000 feet, way above any form of atmospheric activity. It was difficult to pierce the veneer of clouds and do landscape gazing. The only time my window seat came handy (besides when leaning against it to cat-nap) was during landing. The view outside was beautiful � lot of small cottages with red slanting roof-tops. The dense tree cover that allowed no view of ground underneath and for some reason, their profuse, densely entangled canopies reminded me of broccoli.

Frankfurt airport was bit of a disappointment. Firstly I had to struggle hard to find a place where I could get a boarding pass for my onward journey to US (chaos ruled, most authorities had no idea where we were supposed to go). Secondly, there were hardly any music shops! I was expecting to fill in voids in my Beethoven collection at the airport, but it seemed that I could provide the western classical famished shops there with a CD or two from my own collection. There were small designer shops selling carry-bags with pictures of Beethoven on them but none that would sell music by him (at least works I was looking for). Unlike CD shops at Amsterdam airport, which present a colorful picture of European diversity (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, you�ll get it all there), shops at Frankfurt were a dull picture in monotony � standard (dependable?) American/ British pop/rock/hip-hop with some selection of German music.

One fact that comes across during all my international tours prominently is that world is becoming a more homogenous place. Besides Coca-Cola, McDonalds, you see people wearing same Adidas, Nike shoes you picked in India. The book stalls have more or less same authors you�d find popular back home (Grisham, Rowling (Harry Potter mania was all pervasive), Stephen King, Paulo Coelho and so on�), the music stores stock more or less the same albums (classic case in point � Metallica�s St. Anger). Would world eventually become one global republic that a lot of science fictions talk about, will it happen during course of my life � pertinent questions that I guess only time will answer. For now the more mundane question that begs answer is - would my battery last me another hour to see me through my long wait at Chicago? Not if I keep blogging incessantly. Adios!

It has been more than 26 hours since I boarded my first flight, feels a little funny that the date in US is same as it was when I took the flight from India. The UA flight from Frankfurt to Chicago did not have a good repertoire of western classical, a deficiency that was more than made up for by some of the ongoing album promotions (where an entire album is played on in-flight radio channel), my favorite one being Sarah Brightman�s latest � �Harem�. The album happens to have an excellent rendition of �The Journey Home� from Bombay Dreams, composed by A. R. Rahman. It felt good to hear an Indian name on flight to US � standing to be counted amongst the best names in the global music industry.

posted: 15.7.03

Post a Comment

Archives Blogroll

All material posted on this blog is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without the explicit permission of the author.