Special events in which normal hotel guests can participate, or at least admire, make any luxury hotel stay an extra special memory. That was the case on the gal’s last evening in India, which had on the calendar dinner in Le Cirque Signature at The Leela Mumbai, followed by a couple of hours’ sleep and thence to the airport for the ghastly-hour 2.30 am flight to London. But what a surprise. On arrival there was festive dancing going on outside the hotel. Yes, a full-scale wedding was in progress, and there were nearly 600 people taking part, and throwing all they had into it. Hotel guests were mesmerised. They smiled and snapped and moved to the music.
It was, it turned out, an auspicious day for weddings, but when I started to research what determines an ‘auspicious day’ I gave up. It does seem that Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Scorpio, Capricorn and Aquarius are lucky months, and Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are lucky days, but then I read that weekdays are not important. What is amazing is that if you look at some sites you see messages like this, from Nivi Sha at Bonsecours College for Women: ‘I am R. Usha, Thanjavur DOB 26.12.91 (09.15pm). I am going to marry R. Sudhakar, Vandavasi, DOB 17.12.80 (11.30 pm) on 19.10.2015. Will this date be good for us?’ It obviously takes several decades of sooth-saying to understand all this.
I am quite sure that the wedding that day, at The Leela Mumbai, will lead to a fabulously happy marriage. Nemin Vohra, son of Vivendra Vohra, was marrying Parmi Bheda (who never appeared at this early stage). After days of parties, following set tradition, last night was a big event with alcohol. Tonight, the wedding itself, with ceremony for 600 invited guests, was dry. Tomorrow would be another party, for 2,400 lucky locals…. today, everyone had dressed magnificently, with a turban-tying specialist for the men’s headgear and presumably all the best hairdressers in town for the women’s coiffures.
The groom’s side of the family had a baarat, a dance for all, involving more and more whirling. I had to leave, to go back inside the luxury The Leela hotel for dinner, to try a fabulous T-bone cooked Florentine-style by Le Cirque Signature’s new chef, a Maccioni stalwart, Valentina Amati, from Bologna – with it, we had Masi Amarone 1990. By the time I left for the airport, Nemin and Parmi would be married and everyone would be enjoying a meat-free buffet, Italian, Mexican and Indian street-food, with bottles of water.