The Road No 1 is hardly a dark desert highway and cool wind in your hair is at
best an exception around now, but one thing you surely won't ponder over is whether
this could be heaven or this could be hell. Not with this one. So all rise in
chorus - welcome to the hotel Taj Krishna.
As one of the premier hotels of Hyderabad arose from a self-imposed lull to present a new improved look, the glitterati of the city turned up in full strength. If opening the curtains were two of the biggest men in the country - Ratan Tata and CM Chandra Babu Naidu - taking part in it were the who's who of town. We aren't about to reproduce the list here, but corporate heads, businessmen, media barons, political bosses, socialites… the audience would account for half the GDP of Hyderabad, and a much higher proportion of all its sparkle.
This was a formal evening, and you saw blazers and tuxedos like it was a G7 ministers meet. And as for the women, well, the sari is the greatest invention since the wheel. Even the PYTs who turned up the original Indian habit looked womanhood personified. Some youngsters in jeans and even salwar-kameez outfits were looking out of place.
Most of the first half was spent with the guests socializing with drinks. In fact,
that was perhaps the disappointing part - the invitation promised RNT (that's
Ratan N Tata) and the CM formally inaugurating at 7:30pm, and you'd naturally
have expected an address. In fact, we know of folks who went primarily for that
(us!). But there was just a glimpse of the duo as they walked past the crowd even
before the scheduled time, and that was it. The CM was probably more interested
in convincing RNT to shift TCS, Tata Infotech, Tata Internet, Tata Unisys and
maybe even Bombay House to Hi-Tech city! Ain't he a cutie?
A band of two was playing as people filled and refilled glasses (cocktails were
served on the house) and conversed for lack of anything else to do. While the
venue couldn't be any better, the evening would have been a lot so with some anchors
and some activity involving the guests. You never got the feeling that there were
some hosts for the party. Another problem was the lack of adequate seating arrangements.
Standing for 3 hours at a stretch isn't the most attractive of propositions for
even the energetic youth, and this was an elite crowd.
Post dinner, though, a turnaround was effected. While the sky went aglow with fire, there was a dude on land who was also enamored of the element. And he had the crowd enamored of him. Wendel Grey, in his 20s, showed the world that fire is a pretty cool thing really. Whether fire takes that as a compliment or not is the subject of another discussion, but he definitely was cool, as was evident by a crowd in raptures at his sense of humor.
Things were so formal till then, it was a feat to have loosened up the gathering. Wendel also did some mundane things like dousing fire in his mouth, eating up cigarettes with live ends and juggling 3 burning torches for what seemed like forever. He was keen that members the crowd try all this, too, but we lacked that fire!
The fireworks in the sky were amazing for sometime, and loud thereafter. There were also these 6 dancers with drop dead figures that did some salsa, some sashaying and some masculine libido activation to tunes ranging from Michael Jackson to Venga Boys, Alannah Myles and Dr. Alban. Their attires were pretty Latino, too, as you may have guessed.
See how we can get carried away by the smaller things and lose sight of the bigger picture? The Taj Krishna indeed presented a large and pretty picture. Resplendent in an all-new design and finish, it looks very Indian indeed. Most of us did not progress beyond the lobby, so you'll have to wait for a detailed profile of the renovated hotel, but our FIR is that it definitely looks a whole lot better.
Despite some lack of animation, the evening was indeed a good occasion for those who like to socialize. And so, even though you could check out anytime you liked, lots of people never wanted to leave.