Saturday, November 28, 2009


As I looked outside from the window of the PMT that creaked with acceleration around the corner, the sparkling lights of Hotel Sun ‘n’ Sand greeted me. The posh glossiness of the hotel along with its plush interiors submerged me into a world of dreams, a world so different from the Pune I know now and the Pune that I had walked into, to clear an interview that would decide my future.

5-star hotels in every city are so different from the pulse and lifeline that the region emanates. It’s a feel good area of up-market happiness. It has crystal clear swimming pools, fixtures and sculptures accentuating architectural details and aesthetic lighting to view picturesque frames to satiate postcard visualizations. Fresh laundry services, sumptuous roasted sausages with wine and dripping chocolate brownies replace the wadas and the misil pavs. Warli art restricted to framed murals recreate transient cultural ambience to link tradition with modernity.

But I notice change. Indian boutique hotels and palace properties in Rajasthan bring together the magic of Incredible India. Branding India, a campaign so smartly understood by Amitabh Kant that it created a historic turn over in the tourist sector of this dynamic country.

As the unknown bus travellers ahead of me ogle with hope to enter the coveted premises of these palatial escapades of luxury and dreams, I notice them more than the shiny twinkly lights of the starry hotels.

I realize I have changed.

I am no longer a tourist in this city. I am very much a part of it.