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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Calcutta Journal Entry - Day 1

Dear Chaz,

I am writing this on the plane with no expectation that I can send it in Bombay--but nevertheless...

What great first class service! Each passenger gets a little cubicle slanted away from the others, so there is privacy, and the seat reclines full-length injto a little bed. When it is up, a little guest seat comes down on the other side of a good-sized table, so that you can visit something or have dinner with them.

I slept about two hours all told, and spent another two hours watching a Kurosawa movie on my computer. The flight did not seem that long, nor at this moment anyway am I exhausted...the stopover must have helped, although I now see one could just fly straight through if one could count on these sleeper seats. Problem coming back is that you would be most tired on the second flight, and American doesn't have them.

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First class contains an Indian family with four children, all very noisy and ill-behaved, who thunder back and forth, their footfalls shaking the floor while their shrill little voices make it difficult to rest. Thank god I have my noise-blocking earphones!

And what else do I know? Nothing, yet, because I am not there, except that most of my fellow passengers are Indian and they seem quite like the passengers one would find on any flight, except better-dressed. Saris allow for such a range of color and pattern. Wonder what will come of the Bill Clinton interview idea? Apparently just a pitch from a White House p.r. guy, but I would love such an experience!

Whoops! Supposed to turn off our electronic devices...

Love, R

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