Saturday, July 01, 2006

Visting Mooooooommmmmmmmyyyyyyy in Chicago!!!!!!!!

Hmmmm.....should I bore everyone, except Mommy, by listing in chronological order when I brushed my teeth, when I got into my car, when I slept on the flight, etc, or should I attempt a more sophisticated style of narration.....the question rather answers itself, doesn't it? The highlight of the trip were the two free concerts Mommy and Me attended in Millenium Park.

The first was a monster piano concert. 30 students from the Northwestern University School of Music played on 10 Steinway grand pianos. Their majestic rendition of the Ride of the Valkyries (from an opera by Wagner) was brilliant! I had never liked the piece that much when I'd heard the orchestral version, but this time I could actually hear the valkyries(minor female dieties/beautiful young women in Norse mythology - Google it for more details) going down the mountain on their horses. Just reminiscing about it is giving me the goosebumps - it was THAT GOOD...for I while I felt like I was a shield maiden transporting valiant warriors who had been slain on the battlefield.
They also played a waltz by Ravel - a composer that I haven't attempted whole-heartedly in all my years of playing the piano, simply because it requires a lot of dedication to make discordant, disturbing music sound brilliant, and convey what Ravel intended it to. These students managed it again.
These two pieces stand out most vividly in my memory, and before you guys start asking me whether I am writing a travelogue or a music critique, I shall move on.
Oh yeah, there was this really cute kid in front of us who looked just like Harry Potter (actually, Daniel Radcliffe, to be accurate)

The second concert was "Yo-Yo Ma plays with the Silk Road ensemble". Please see for more details on the Silk Road and Yo-Yo Ma's project. So me and my ma went to see yo' ma...pun courtesy my Aunt.
Again, they were really good. There were Indian, Chinese, Italian, Romanian and Baroque musicians; Yo-Yo Ma did an excellent job of putting it all together. There were Bharatnatyam dancers as well. Why don’t you just go to the link I mentioned before? It’s a colorful website and they have professionals to do their PR for them…no need for me to waste my time.

The Millennium Park itself has some nice gardens and lawns, and of course the huge open air auditorium where the concerts were held.

We also did a bit of window shopping. We peered into H&M, GAP(teenage, teenage all the way), Anne Taylor’s has really pretty and horrendously expensively clothes), Talbots(pointlessly and tastelessly pricey)…the best quality and most desirable clothes are made in India!! I keep asking myself why don’t we get such well cut and well designed clothes even in Shopper’s Stop? Of course, we didn’t buy anything partly because that wasn’t our intention and partly because I suspect the prices may be more affordable in Dallas. By the way, young-leaf-green seems to be THE fashion of the season, so don’t forget to by yourself a summery frock or a cool T-shirt in that colour.

We also sympathetically picked up a brochure than NIMN was handing out. They are a Jewish organization that says calls for withdrawal of the US government’s support of Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians. (Not in My Name, at least)

Of course, we had to sample Chicago’s famous deep dish Pizza at Uno Pizzeria. We had Spinoccoli. It was really good, really cheesy and reaaally really heavy!! We donated the leftover slice to a hungry beggar, after two other beggars with signs proclaiming their hunger declined it.

Public transport in downtown Chicago is good. Even though there were thousands and thousands of people emerging from the concert, we didn’t have any problems getting room in a bus. When oh when will the rest of America emulate them? The answer is obvious – when suburban sprawl declines, along with every American’s dream of a spouse and 3 kids and a home in the suburbs, and a gas guzzling SUV to transport the kids and their gear to baseball practice, cello lessons…

Lake Michigan is really beautiful. We never went close to the water, but its shoreline impressively straddles the city of Chicago (did I completely mess-up what was intended to be a poetic sentence? Never mind) It even changes color depending on the time of day and the intensity of sunlight and what mood the citizens are in. Amma’s apartment has a wonderful view of the lake – it peeps through between two high-rise buildings.

We went to a baby-shower in honor of one of Amma’s lab mates whose wife was expecting a child. It was simply wonderful to be around so many babies (already born) that I almost forgot my stomach-ache and headache. And Amma thought it was a wonderful glimpse into Americans family lives.
They had a good assortment of snacks and of course, grilled burgers; veggie and non-veggie.

We visited a neighboring Indian family that Amma had befriended. The lady is an economics professor and gave me several valuable tips…especially on how to select PhD topics. She has two really adorable children, who play the cello with her.

Since I was suffering from a sinus infection, I needed lots of caffeine, crocin, and Mommy's love to feel better. Not to mention that the sinus rinse(equivalent of jala neti) had completely clogged up my ears…I couldn’t hear very well and I felt headachy and nauseous a lot of the time. I’m OK now; the nurse irrigated my ears and put me out of my misery. In fact, now my sense of hearing is too good. Even typing on the keyboard and opening the tap seem like intrusively noisy actions these days.

Architecture in Chicago is really really nice to look at but really boring to write about. Plus, I don't know any jargon :-) Again, I encourage you to google images of Chicago.
Based on my observations in Chicago, I decided that I either want a girl child with dark hair, dark skin, and shiny eyes; or a boy child that has fair complexion and greenish eyes( a resemblance to Harry Potter will do very nicely, thank you)
So that brings us to the end!! Please, pretty please, with sugar and icing on top, leave your comments.


Vijaya said...

A vivid picture of the Chicago concerts! It felt that I was at Millenium Park again! Thanks for virtually taking me there once more!
Truly amazing -Chicago! I love this city!
……..the Mommy

Songbird said...

Very articulate Preeti. Since you were talking about everything close to my heart: music, architecture, food and most importantly family :) I enjoyed it even more. Thank you for a virtual or should I say almost real trip to Chicago.

Gita said...
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Gita said...

Loved your Chicago blog, Swee'Pea.

Especially your description of the monster piano concert and their rendition of Ride of the Valkyries--gave me goosebumps. You paint pictures with words: (The lake) peeps through between two high-rise buildings... what a cool way of putting it.


Asheeen said...

Totally agree....Vivid, I should say is thy middle name!
Truly a change reading this blog as opposed to others which very often speak about mindnumbing and mundane events. Read this for example - "The only thing matters is i am underweight, 17.5 BMI (body mass index).
And a normal will take figure of 18.5 BMI at least.
My height is 173.5 cm and my weight is JUST and JUST 51.9 kg."

Harita said...

Great description of the concert! Makes me wish I was there too! Keep writing and maybe you should consider travelling more and writing about it.

RadioActive Ray said...

Chicago is the heart of American architecture. Although Frank Llyod Wright is the first person to come to everyone's mind, it was Luios Henry Sullivan who first created the most notable buildings as well as the first sky-scrapers in Chicago. Wright's Chicago architecture is listed here:
Sullivan's architecture is here:
Sullivan's architecture provided some of the most ornate and well designed buildings in America. One of his masterpieces was the Schiller theatre. Only vintage postcards shots remain of that wonderful building:
I wonder what remains of all others ... I have myself never made it to Chicago.
Well Louis Sullivan created another masterpiece in his lifetime; that was Frank Llyod Wright!

VijayaGopal said...
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Vijaya said...

In response to Radioactive Ray, let me put my perspective of the high rise buildings. They are simply beautiful; as you approach downtown from O'Hare or anywhere, now the buildings straddle you to the point of embracing you and welcoming you to the heart of Chicago. They are not one bit intimidating! Dont delay your visit to Chicago! ...Vij

Googoo Baby said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Googoo Baby said...

Hello "Asheeen"

Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed reading my blog.
May I ask how you came across my blog? Do I know you? Are you Ashwin, by any chance?