Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Janus' month

In Jaipur this weekend for Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas. The spirit of New Year's Day continues throughout the month of January in India. In Roman mythology January is named after Janus – the God of the doorway. January is the doorway to a new year.
In India, January is synonymous with winter. It means a time when the weather is just fine in much of the mainland. It also means that the nature is at its bountiful, in other words, it is harvest time.
No wonder much of the major events, festivals and celebrations happen this time of the year. World Theatre Festival in Delhi, Jaipur Literary Festival, Bikaner Festival, Kerala Village Fair, Ganga Sagar, Pongal, Makar Sankranti, National Kite Festival, Vasant Panchami, Lohri, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, Kolkata Book Fair, Apeejay Literary Festival, Dover Lane Music Conference, the polo season in north Indian cities, music festivals in South India, Republic Day and the list goes on and on.
For the artistes, it is the busiest month of the year as far as performance is concerned. It is during January that I indulge most in the wishful thinking that if only I could be in two or more places on the same day or time. I do so because there are so many interesting events, festivals and programs across India and they often happen at the same time in different places.
One can see the video recordings of a cricket or football match, but that is not the case with festivals and most of the events. One thing the people of art and culture enjoy during winter season is to sit on the lawns, verandahs or open space of India International Centre, National School of Drama, Jawahar Kala Kendra, Nandan and many other similar institutions.
Kolkatans have very few days to sit and enjoy the open skies during day time. January is perhaps the only month to do so. All the five star properties of the city also do something or the other at their open air restaurants.
On 24th evening I was at the ITC Sonar Bangla open-air restaurant in front of the Coffee Shop lawns. It was an unscheduled visit just  for a  quick coffee. This Hotel has the best ambience for an open air restaurant because of its lily ponds. On that Xmas eve a musician was playing the saxophone and it was Rabindra Sangeet..... Purano Shei Diner Kotha. I wondered how many guests understood it. I, however, found it amazingly soothing and enchanting.
On the New Year's  Day, I had lunch at the Hyatt poolside. Though Hyatt is famous for its Italian restaurant and cuisine but I give equal marks to Gucchi - their Indian joint. The Hyatt poolside is especially good for the non-vegetarians as they specialize in seafood barbeque on weekends evening . For my Indian tooth, The Taj Bengal poolside is the last  choice. I intend to try it out soon.
In the last week of December I went for dinner to a place that I visit at least once every year. The sound of water flowing down into the pool is indeed most relaxing music for the soul. It makes it possible for one to take a break from the city's noisy humdrum by retreating to a spot that is located at the very heart of the city itself.
It is my observation that among the city’s five star hotels, as of now, the quality of service, especially the cutlery and crockery presentation, is the best out here. I'd also give 100 per cent to the quality of service. This place has its own old-world charm and the experience I had there was indeed one of the best dinner experiences in Kolkata in recent times.
Well, if you haven't guessed it yet, I was at The Oberoi Grand poolside that evening
ess bee

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