Our correspondent Dan Carlin, chair of film scoring, reports in after his first full day in India with Berklee’s World Scholarship Tour. Today, the team members meet their hosts from Performers’ Collective/Gurgaon School of Music, and learn about the area’s culture.
This has been a full day. At breakfast, I was happy to see that David McKay and Greg Badolato had arrived safely. Now we are six.
This being an official “day off,” our Indian hosts arranged for us to do a little touring of the area. We started at Qutb-Minar, an archeological site from the 12th century that included very interesting architecture. Like other older countries that have been invaded many times, India has a diverse mix of stylized structures.
From there we went to Dilli Haat, an open market containing dozens and dozens of shops. The government oversees this particular marketplace (and even charges a small admission fee), guaranteeing that all of the products are made by craftworkers from the regions claimed. So, pottery, baskets, clothing, artwork, etc., all reflect the cultures from which they originate. It was pleasant to be in an area in which the only participants were either buyers or sellers—no distraught beggars, for instance.
We then drove near the central-government buildings—all very impressive—before taking in a long lunch, where I enjoyed spicy chicken with potatoes and vegetables (washed down with cold Tuborg beer). The prices are extremely reasonable for very excellent food.
Then back to the hotel, where some of us rested, some went to check out the school in which we will be offering clinics Monday and Tuesday, while I worked on my presentations. At 9 pm, we met downstairs for the trip to dinner. Near our restaurant, there were people paying to take rides on camels! I may have to do this before departing (just for the record). The restaurant provided a delicious meal (Tandoori chicken, mutton, naan, boneless chicken, and potatoes—all in tasty, zesty sauces. And, of course, more cold beer (tonight it was Carlsberg).
The six of us were joined by faculty members from the school—a very nice group of folks—Khiyanur, Theopolis, Benjamin, Jack, Prabir, Reuben, and Nitya—the only woman. They are a youthful, gracious and ebullient clan.
The 3rd-world status of this country is obvious. There is evidence everywhere of a land colonized, looted, irrationally formed into statehood, and then abandoned to pick up the pieces and fend for itself—unfortunately, a likely representative model for future Iraq and Afghanistan. Although there are signs of decay and dilapidation of older buildings, construction projects are ubiquitous; so the economy may not be as bad as one might otherwise assume. While I have seen some very poor people, including a few children, the areas in which I traveled last night and today in and around Delhi did not fit the Calcutta stereotype. I did note that, in addition to dogs, there are many cows wandering the streets and neighborhoods! As in areas of Mexico and China that I have visited, the beauty of the city is hampered by horrible smog.
The official time difference from Boston is 10.5 hours (I haven’t found out where the 30-minute change occurred—or why—but it’s official).
Monday promises to be the start of an invigorating program; I’m told that we will see about 170 students over the next 4 days, so it should be interesting.
More to follow,