Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In Bangalore

There is so much to write about my flight from NYC to Bangalore, one blog post just won't cut it. So here are some interesting snippets, and hopefully I'll come back to some of them over the next few weeks.

Item #1: Flying Kuwait Airways during the month of Ramadan.
I suppose seasoned international travelers won't find this surprising, but I did. The Kuwait Airways brochure in the seat pocket had detailed information about prayers while flying. There was a neat justification offered for why getting out of the seat and praying in the aisles was not something Allah would approve. There was also a complicated set of calculations for figuring out a praying schedule while crossing multiple time-zones.

Item #2: Pop Culture Wife, Marxist Husband
As I sat waiting to board the flight out of NYC, all I could do to entertain myself was watch a football game on TV (the Badgers were playing Minnesota). A middle-aged Indian woman came and sat next to me, and after a few minutes asked me what I thought about the ads on TV in the U.S. compared to India. I muttered something about how TV in India has pretty much settled into a similar pattern. I didn't expect what came next - a highly informed take on the complexities of advt and youth culture in the state of Kerala. She then asked me what I was doing, heard me out, and began saying something when her husband entered the scene. She introduced him as a disgruntled old Marxist who disagrees with everything she says about contemporary TV/media in India, but has spent the last 4 months at his son's place in the U.S. watch ZEE and B4U! More on this later.

Item #3: Gold Flake Cigs and Chai at 5:30 a.m in Mumbai with an old friend
Prasanna, a buddy from college, came to receive me in Mumbai. We got into his car and drove to the nearest potti kadai (roadside tea-shop), ordered by-2 chais (one chai, split in two) and a Gold Flake. Heavenly :)

Item #4: Bangalore, 23 deg celsius
As the flight landed in Bangalore, the pilot announced that it was a pleasant 23 deg outside. I stepped out and was instantly reminded of why, in spite of all the chaotic traffic conditions, Bangalore remains the best city in the country.

Item #5: The Plane
I didn't get much sleep on the plane, and given that the entertainment programming sucked, I ended up staring out the window quite a bit. At one point, cruising way above the clouds, all one could see was a brilliant full moon in a dazzling star-lit sky. And I couldn't help feeling that the plane I was in was the most incongrous object there...just didn't belong.

All this and more in the days to come. For now - happy to be at home in B'lore, mom's cooking, Internet access for ridiculously cheap rates, great FM radio, and a nice bookstore right next to where I live (for Meenu: I'm only browsing, I swear).


  • so there is no alcohol to be had on kuwait airlines? hmm.. wondering if I should carry my own supply.:-D

    sounds like you are fitting right in...

    Did you read about the washington post journo's blog?

    By Anonymous mandira, at 10/18/2005 11:59 AM  

  • Will await all that you promise and more....

    By Blogger sepoy, at 10/18/2005 12:19 PM  

  • What, i say, what have you promised the sepoy? Also, I will have all the Merlot that you have stored in that kitchen of yours since I cannot get to the goldflaks (sic) and half chais.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/19/2005 12:47 AM  

  • Swati - sepoy visiting here is exciting enough, but the pressure, ooi maa. As for the merlot, did you not learn anything from Sideways?!

    By Blogger Aswin, at 10/19/2005 11:46 PM  

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