JournalismPakistan.com July 10, 2019
Nothing scares me more than entering a five-star super luxury hotel. It’s a claustrophobic. Three people open the car door, one of them a mandatory seven-foot tall bouncer in livery with a bristling mustache (intended to make you feel warm and secure) and then another three people open the hotel glass door and bow and scrape like windshield wipers and you feel such a fraud.
Then this lady comes up all adorned in a spangled sari of the sort worn at weddings, and she puts a tilak on your forehead and a marigold garland around your neck, and you think, this never happens at home, like all I get is an oh, hi, you back, how was the trip, dinner in twenty.
Then another lady sidles up with three different juices while the first lady sprinkles rose water around you and this procession with scruffy you at its epicenter sails along to the reception desk. A whole battalion of smart, identically dressed, spotless interchangeable men and women check you in like you were Cleopatra entering Rome and you can almost hear the distant trumpets, and you wish you weren’t wearing crumpled jeans and flip flops.
They give you this card key and salaam you with an escort to the elevator, and a bellboy fights with you to carry your scruffy but lucky talisman of a carry on bag with its economy tag. You feel sillier than silly. Now there is a man at the elevator saying ‘namaste,’ and that is his only job. You wish him back, and the elevator man salutes you and you, the escort and the bell boy holding your pathetic little bag finally reach your floor. The light turns green and presto, you are in the room, which is like any other room in any other hotel in any part of the world. But your audience expects you to gush, so you gush, and they leave you in peace for 33 seconds because as you figure out, you had 27 people networked to get you from car to room, aaaah, solitude, at last. Your luggage arrives, and as you finish tipping the man, the phone rings and the hospitality lady says she hopes you are comfortable and you want to say, leave me alone, and I might be.
You spend the next three days avoiding the man at the elevator who greets everyone going up or down and peeping through the door of your room to avoid room boys and girls who continuously want to clean your room and lurk around corners to wish you a good day as if you were their dream come true. At least take the low-cost carrier tag off your bag.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
The Express Tribune, March 15, 2018
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