Seated next to me is the mother of a young teen. "Justin Bieber?'' I ask. She smiles knowingly. My expression says '"I understand."
And they sway trance-like down the aisle of the plane, adolescents from a multitude of Delhi schools, united in their worship of Bieber, many making their first trip to the city of stars. They've earned their tickets - moving their parents with their devotion to good grades, good behavior and healthy, gadget-free diets.
This plane is clearly divided on religious lines. The music of religion, that is. There are Beliebers - as the fandom of Justin Bieber call themselves and the non-Beliebers, that include skeptical mothers as myself who relented to the power of teenage persuasion and booked those precious tickets on Book My Show.
For a generation raised on the Beatles, Abba, Queen, the Eagles, Doors, Billy Joel and Sting, Bieber feels like a long way from home. Looking at the eager teens around me, I can't help but feel the generational shift. Wired to their gizmos, they settle into the comfort zone of their playlists - from One Direction and Bieber to Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. How imperceptibly the wheel of life has moved for us, with Lennon, MJ and Bowie now just an aching memory.
You're taking two days off for Justin Bieber! The voices of my bemused colleagues ring in my ear. It's for my daughter, not for Bieber, I find myself saying in my defense. I know what this means to her, and in my heart, I know how I would have done anything, just anything to watch MJ moonwalk across the stage. So here I am, among the devoted, willing to give Bieber a chance and no, it's not a betrayal of the icons of my time.
The plane touches down in Mumbai. The airhostess says the temperature outside is around 30 degrees. But inside the plane, its smokin' hot. Bieber fever is at its peak. The teens desperately search for a network to update their status. Beliebe it or not, we're in Belieberland.
(Gauri Datta Gupta is Executive Editor, Assignment with NDTV 24x7)
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