Hotel, a place where so many people from different places stop by, stay over and go away. Some return and some leave never to return. A place, where people find it convenient to meet up over breakfast, lunch or dinner to catch up with friends / loved ones, to unwind, to celebrate, mourn, over some serious, not so serious, funny, casual talks/matters/discussions. If we think hard and be a little observant we would realise there’z so much that happens round the clock on the spot in a hotel & behind the scenes.
Life of the staff out there must be equally tough & challenging to upkeep the standards and likewise. Through the eyes of their guests they get to witness Love, lust, hatred, greed, etc … irrespective of caste or creed… tragedies, forlorn tales, fables & much more get churned as the day ends. It’s larger than life; all at one place, strange & enigmatic it is!
I just finished reading this book Chowringhee by a famous writer Mani Sankar originally in Bengali and later translated in English by Arunava Sinha. Set in the backdrop of a luxurious and famous hotel in early Calcutta, the writer takes us through different characters in the hotel of varied shades in the by lanes of the then Calcutta. Narration is extremely gripping, inspiring at times with some famous lines, and thought provoking. Vikram Seth, on reading the Hindi version was lost in it for days. I feel the same, as if wandering through the Chowringhee lane.
Our life is but a winter’s day:
Some only breakfast and away
Others to dinner stay and are full fed;
The oldest man but sups and goes to be
He that goes soonest has the least to pay.
– A.C. Maffen