India, days 7+8: On to Mumbai

Dan Carlin, Berklee chair of film scoring, writes in from the college’s first audition and interview trip to India:

India, Days 7 & 8 (February 12, 13, 2010)

Yesterday, our team of 6 packed up early and headed to the New Delhi airport for the flight to Mumbai. The flight is two hours long, but the really interesting part is the last half hour when we get back under cloud cover to see the countryside, which is visually stunning. The mountains are extremely jagged; there is a dam, there are lakes and rivers, there are farms, then slums, then the city itself, and, finally, there is the Arabian Sea. The air is much cleaner in Mumbai than in New Delhi.

Stepping off the plane, the differences between the two cities become more exaggerated; here there are palm trees, ocean breezes, and a casualness lacking in the more frenetic and commercial New Delhi (see below). Even though New Delhi is India’s capital, Mumbai is the home of the great museums, sculptures, art galleries, concert halls, and movie studios.

After checking into the hotel, we six are picked up in two cars and escorted to the family home of a Berklee alumna. Her father, it turns out, is part-owner of our hotel, as well as many commercial buildings. Their home is four stories high, and sits atop a cliff overlooking the most popular beach in Mumbai. They are a Hindu family, so in lieu of alcohol, we are served a choice of sparkling water, boiled flat water, watermelon juice, lemonade, orange juice, and/or coconut milk with watermelon. Unintimidated by the armed guards, we tour the grounds before going inside, where we are seated at a table that Michael describes as being the size of the parking lot outside the Bennington Mall. (This is why I love hanging with musicians.)

The Berklee alumna is absolutely delightful; she is completing the dub of a film her sister has produced, for which she herself has written approximately 40% of the score. She is a smart, interesting, and inquisitive young woman, and we all are mesmerized. Dinner is all vegetarian and delicious.

This morning, while Greg, Jason, Gojko, and David went off to prepare the facilities and students for our upcoming clinics, auditions, and interviews, Michael and I arranged for a private car and tour of Mumbai. It was absolutely fabulous—similar to driving along Europe’s Mediterranean coast, only with Hindu and Muslim influence. We visited the Jain Temple, the Towers of Silence, the Hanging Gardens of Mumbai (beautiful terraced gardens on a high cliff that “hangs” above the Arabian Sea), and a small village within the city in which most of the laundry from the surrounding hotels and upscale homes is cleaned and pressed. The clothes are beaten and scrubbed over rocks, soaked in water with chemicals, spun in electronic machines, and then hung outside for drying before being ironed with plates heated with charcoal.

Tomorrow, we run clinics all day, so vacation ends tonight.

Best wishes from half a globe—and quite a world—away,

DAC 4

Read earlier posts from the India trip:

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