Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

From the Far East’s gateway

I have never been attracted to Thailand as a tourist. Though I have been to Bangkok many a times but have never visited any of the tourist spots, including the famed Pattaya. But I can’t help admiring the infrastructure and the admirable way in which Thailand has developed its tourism sector. How I wish if only Kolkata would have been the global transit point to the Far East like Bangkok with huge hotels and extremely polite and charming Thai boys and girls with folded hands welcoming the world.
In India, we often say that dust and pollution keeps us from keeping our cities clean and tidy. But let me tell you a fact that Thailand’s climate is far worse. If you ever compare the facilities and services of the hotels in India with those of Thailand, you’d find that Thailand gives you much better facilities at half the price. I am here to attend weddings in two families from Kolkata, Bhagat and Bhuwalka. This has given me the opportunity to see some other cities of Thailand. I am staying here at Holiday Inn Regent Beach which is near Cha Am main city. The King of Thailand also stays in this city famous for its serenity. Quite like our very own South Goa.
Yesterday there was a wedding at Hotel Sheraton Hua Hin and in soon I will drive down to Bangkok after breakfast. Indian weddings occupy a very special place in the world, especially the rituals and traditions followed and the festivities that bring families and relatives from far and wide. My personal feeling is that, for some, Indian weddings are becoming a matter of exhibiting money power, splurge and conspicuous consumption. The social norms in India have made daughters’ marriage a matter of great concern for their fathers. Those who want to spend Rs 200 crores in a wedding ends up paying Rs 225 crores and those who plan to spend Rs 1 lakh end up paying Rs 1.25 even if he has to borrow – the bar is always raised higher than planned. I have realised that often the whole life’s earning of a middle-class father, including his pension, is spent in one evening on the wedding day. Yet there are no guarantees of making the in-laws, or for that matter one’s own relatives, happy. But at the end of the day, I too am a part of this society.
ess bee

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