Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Desert Storm, Write Circle and bad dining experience

With Padma Shri Shakir Ali, Jyoti Bharti Goswami, Pt Rajendra Gangani, dance guru Shashi Sankhla and danseuse Manjari Kiran Mahajani
28 July, 2014, Jaipur: The IFUNA meeting that was scheduled for yesterday morning in Delhi got cancelled at the last minute and I had to call off my trip to the capital and decided to be in Jaipur.
I attended the Desert Storm event organized by Rajasthan Forum at ITC Rajputana yesterday afternoon. This time the guest was kathak guru Pt Rajendra Gangani who was in conversation with Manjari Kiran Mahajani, herself a kathak danseuse. Pt Gangani shared experiences from his illustrious life – his childhood, his struggles and the highs and lows of his career.
With Pandit Rajendra Gangani
On Saturday evening, I attended another edition of the Write Circle after a long gap since I was on overseas trips for many weeks and also the summers in Jaipur isn't a good time for doing events.
This time the Write Circle guest author was Indrajit Hazra. Indrajit has written four books and the last one, Grand Delusions: A Short Biography of Kolkata was well received by the critics. His earlier work, The Bioscope Man, was also based on early 20th century cultural setting in Calcutta. 
With author Indrajit Hazra
His other two books include The Burnt Forehead of Max Saul and The Garden of Earthly Delights. All his works have been translated into French.
On Saturday night, I went to the Jai Mahal Palace hotel for dinner. Jai Mahal Palace is another property of the Taj Group of hotels apart from Taj Rambag Palace, Ramgarh Lodge and SMS Convention in the Pink City area. Jai Mahal is a lush green with a sprawling lawn which draw many to this hotel.
But it was quite a bad experience having a meal there. It is hard to believe that a Taj Palace property can be so short on the service front. The food was good but the quality of service was worse than bad and stuck out like a sore thumb.
The table for nine people was duly booked well in advance, some three days earlier. We started dinner at 9:30 pm and by 11 the service staff started disappearing. By the time we finished our dinner it was 12:30 am and there was only one person there to attend on us and the guests had to call him again and again or to wait to see his face. We were seated on an open area, which the hotel claims to be a 24-hour dining zone.
The service staff, in fact, were even reluctant to give us the menu for the dessert and wished to take orders without it.
The guests had to ask for the menu four times and got it only after we were frustrated enough to ask the staff if he had any problem if we had a look at the dessert menu.
We had more in store. A number of lights were turned off around midnight and it was quite a strain to see and choose food properly. After another series of requests, bordering on pleading, we got few candles to light up the place. And all this happened on the table where eminent persons from the city were seated.
Being a well-wisher of Taj, my humble advise to them is that if they cannot operate it for 24 hours they should close it or run it as per stipulated hours.
There are always apologies from the hotels when such instances are brought to their notice but that would hardly undo the sordid experience and bad taste the clients carry with them and tell others.
ess bee

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