“Some people seem to think just because we’re Indians, and we’re in India, they can behave inappropriately.”
“But let me tell you something, this is ‘The Four Seasons’ and we are very strict,” says the Mumbai Worli-based hotel manager.
This feverishly bold statement is made as my friend strolls into the hotel lobby, drunk, and demanding shots of alcohol.
The bar is shut and she won’t be served despite any protests.
She says she’s from London, and should have service right this instance.
It’s her birthright almost. Doesn’t he know who she is? (Note the sarcasm).
However, the manager won’t have it. He won’t even let her have a security pass up the lift to see her friends.
I’m trying to usher her out of the lobby.
The manager is a friend of mine, but I won’t be able to persuade him this time.
Normally you can talk your way pretty much through anything in India.
Take a time machine back to a couple of years ago and my friend would be on the rooftop by now, being served the cocktail of her choice.
All she would have to do is tip a hundred rupee notes to the most relevant staff for the total embarrassment of her trashy behaviour.
It’s the ‘I’m from London’ trick of the trade when going out in India.
But it doesn’t work anymore in these franchised hotels.
Even being a girl isn’t getting you those plus points they used to.
Many Indians and their attitudes are changing towards the ‘elite’ – Bollywood stars, businessmen, and foreigners.
It is now unacceptable to click your fingers for the car valet, or shout your way through for a prime-time dinner table.
Sometimes you have to wait, like everyone else, or be denied entrance because that’s the policy of the venue.
The staffs within these five-star hotels are being taught to develop mutual respect with their guests.
Guests, in turn, are having a humbling experience by learning to swallow being told ‘No’.
It is so refreshing being told you can’t do something in India.
I almost enjoy this new experience, even if sometimes I bear the brunt of it.
Hospitality care a lot less of who you may be as a guest and where you come from.
Undoubtedly, being wealthy or famous just like anywhere else in the world does help – the locals do have an unhealthy obsession with staring after all.
However, in terms of getting what you want, this only now helps around eighty per cent.
The rest involves being nice, courteous, and gracious toward those at your service.
This may prove to be a challenge amongst Indians who have developed a bulging ego over the years.
Slowly, this figure will whittle down as more international brands set up in India, and refuse to be treated any less than their counterparts in the rest of the world.
The manager proved my point.
Photo credit: redbubble.com