Thursday, February 22, 2007

Le'Empereur, he has no clothes


At one time, Moscow’s Hotel Rossiya (one of Stalin’s Bigger-is-Better babies) was the world’s largest. More than 5000 rooms in tasteful prison-block layout. Slap on a faux Mughal-era façade and you have the Ashok in Delhi. One of the landmarks from my childhood because it’s across the road from Nehru Park and not too far from Nirula’s. It has (only) 550 rooms, but that was enough to make it India’s largest hotel. Not any more, with the two monsters that have come up in Mumbai. Infosys are expanding from 500 to 800 rooms this year and the Calcutta Shonar Bangla will soon have 600 plus.

Even so, I had to walk about half a mile from reception to my room. I’d asked for a room facing the park. After that walk, I wasn’t even sure whether they meant Nehru Park or Pragati Maidan. But it wasn’t so bad. Clean, an array of little coloured bottles in the bathroom. I love those even though I can’t filch them any more (after a diktat from the Better Half. Can’t store rubbish. Rubbish? I WILL use them some day. Yes, even the shampoos! Cross my heart!)

Most appliances work. Except the direct-dial buttons on the phone, so I have to get room service and housekeeping through the operator. And the coffee-maker boils over, so I have to place a towel under it. (Should I ask housekeeping for a daily stipend?) Not a major problem, especially since I’m lucky to get a room at all, this time of the year in Delhi. Service is a little slow but eager and friendly. I don’t mind a scruffy uniform if a smile goes with it.

The food is surprisingly good. A scrumptious breakfast spread and a huge ham steak from room service. I turned in around midnight, one Contented Bear.

Came the dawn

Or rather, an assault on my door. The Gestapo? Had I overslept horribly? The clock said 01:05. One in the morning?! A fire? The police?

Bleary-eyed, I opened the door before it was broken down. A wild-eyed grandpa with a bristling moustache handed me an envelope. “Left for you, sir”. And vanished before I could hitch up my drooping jaw.

Which left me with a headache and a temper. What kind of evil, what misbegotten sadist wakes up a hotel guest at ONE IN THE MORNING to deliver mail?!

Ze wurruld, she is full of morons.

**** ****

9 comments:

Ph said...

*evil laugh*

Daneel Olivaw said...

but the emperor has ham steaks for breakfasts, and weirdo mail-man to wake him up!

btw, loved the flamenco post!

-a new fan

Opaline said...

Recepsun (asole cha).

Revealed said...

Hehehehe. It's all a plot, no doubt. Hatched by ze evil Martians (with ze weird accent) to keep you wide eyed and alert at 2 in the morning :D.

progga said...

talk about prompt service!

thalassa_mikra said...

You have Nirula nostalgia? Details please! Nirula's (the one in Karol Bagh) was my favourite hangout in school - the memories I tell ya! And the icecream was fabulous - especially pistachio and chocolate chip flavours!

What restaurants does this Ashok have, by the way?

thalassa_mikra said...

Ok, I just checked the Nirula's website, and I'm heartbroken. Apparently they closed my two favourite locations - Karol Bagh and Kamla Nagar.

Damn, my city is just not the same anymore.

Well, at least I have the SRC Cafe. JAPda, do check out the Shriram Centre cafe when you're in Delhi next. It's a theatre and art student hangout, with a bookstore attached to it, and art galleries nearby.

chronicuskepticus said...

At least you can GET to sleep.

The things people crib about, really. Hmmph!

km said...

The day one no longer wishes to steal those bottles from hotel rooms is the day one's soul officially dies.

I have been soulless for so long now.