Today, Atithi Devo Bhava (The guest is equivalent to God), a code of conduct in the Indian society, acquired a new meaning. Wagh Bakri Tea, the Ahmedabad headquartered, brew giant, redefined it.
I was invited to the opening of their new Tea lounge in Juhu at 11 am. Punctual by nature, I landed up at 11 am sharp, as I never like to keep any one waiting and abhor the same too. There was no one at the gate and a guard rudely accosted me asking me where I was heading. Upon mentioning media, he just nodded. I made my way into the lounge. No one there too, to guide or welcome us. A gentleman was seated at the table talking to a lady, I introduced myself. They were apparently from the company, but nonchalant, immersed in themselves.
Tired of standing for a long time, I took a seat. There was no sign of the young ladies from the PR agency and at Wagh Bakhri of course, no one knew what was happening. I kept observing, bloggers, media persons coming in, feeling unwelcome, as the company personnel continued to look confused. No tea was offered. So what if we had braved the Friday morning showers and made our way to the Juhu venue? Nothing till “Sir” comes, was being murmured in hushed tones.
Half an hour elapsed, but there was no sign of anything starting. Meanwhile, eunuchs came, demanded money, the Wagh Bakri person replied, “nothing can be given till the Seth arrives and the inauguration is done.” Where then was the Seth aka Parag Desai, CEO Wagh Bakri, for whom, we were all supposedly waiting. Of course nothing was communicated to us, lesser mortals about His Highness’ arrival and the consequent delay.
Balloons were being put, the floor being swept, fans switched off. So what if we guests were sweating it out? We were inconsequential. We mattered the least to Wagh Bakri. The preparations of the event were well underway after the invitees were there. Huh?
Minutes later we were unceremoniously shunted to the lobby of a small hotel next door and made to huddle up in the stinky lobby. If the company staff and others could be inside, on the other side of the red ribbon, why couldn’t we? Why were we invited in the first instance, if it was meant to be a company/ internal affair. Inaugurate it, settle down and then invite media some other day. You can’t have the best of both worlds and that too when you have no idea about hospitality ?
I was at the end of my tether. Called the PR lady who had just arrived. I stood out in the sun waiting. She tried to cajole me assuring me, saying it would start soon. His Highness had not yet arrived, after all, so how could it begin. 10 minutes, 15 minutes, were what we were being told repeatedly. Till 12 noon, nothing happened. Of course my patience wore off and I left, with a promise never to return again. Thank you, but no thank you, this is not Indian hospitality and if this is what Wagh Bakri stands for, I’d rather have nothing to do with their ilk future. Not my cup of tea, this!