There is no business like show business
We watched 'Oceans 13' last night. George Clooney is definitely uber-sophisticated. But I don't think Brad Pitt deserved the kind of rave reviews that some critics gave him. The movie is set in Las Vegas and as always, is a perfectly pulled off heist with nary a mis-step.
This morning I checked my mail to find one from my sister from the lovely city of Las Vegas (she is holidaying on the other side of the world for a few weeks with her husband)
Memories of the city flooded my mind. My first memories are to do with the glitz and glamour of the city which blinds you the moment it gets dark and the lights are switched on. The casinos wear their best finery and razzle and dazzle you with the sounds and sights. Its humbling to realize that the city was created out of desert sand. Especially when you stand outside a casino called Bellagio which has a huge man-made lake at its entrance. Yet another example of the Great American Marketing Gimmick! Oh, how they know to markets their smallest attractions. (ps: Vegas tag line - 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas')
Creativity, rather creative plaigarism is the order of the day at each casino. An Egyptian Sphinx rubs shoulders with the Eiffel Tower, next to a rainforest, past the Venetian gondolas, near an ancient Roman palace facing the MGM lions, behind shark infested aquariums that swim close to the Statue of Liberty. Gambling, drinking and the most beautiful women (and men) ever.... all available for what your wallet, conscience and wife permit you! Slot machines, baccarat, dominos etc. etc. - every conceivable way of blowing those greenbacks. You end up celebrity spotting with Paris Hilton buying 10,000 USD chips and Robert Di Niro walking to an exclusive private lounge. Margheritas on the street and adult shows in the foyer of your hotel. Everything is bright, colorful, enticing, exciting, luring you to lose your senses one by one.
We walked around the 'Strip' the entire night. Almost until 4 in the morning. Went back to our room happy and elated and somewhat curious as to why we couldn't replicate this marketing model in India (see what happens when you do two years in a B School!)
We woke up at 10 or so. Hung over with the sights and sounds of the city. Our hearts ached for more. We had a flight to catch at 4 that evening. So decided to do a few more hours of walking, till it was absolutely time to run to the airport. Dressed up, stomachs full, we rushed out... and then encountered the greatest of shocks. Vegas in day time is dirty(by American standards of course!) Visiting cards with phone numbers of 'paid escorts' litter the streets nestling beer bottles. The casino lights are obviously off and the buidlings look ordinary by daylight. Cleaners and repairmen work hard and efficiently to restore the casinos to its best-looking by evening. Vegas is ARTIFICIAL! With the make-up stripped off, Vegas seemed like an old, sagging hag.
Such is life, right? Behind apperances, there is always a reality that lurks somewhere. We believe in what appeals to us. Las Vegas is a dream, its a night-rider, a mind-bender and when morning comes, best left to its hungover, grumpy self by itself. What we think, is not, and what we think not, is.
What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.
- Woody Allen