Have you ever eaten off plates made of pure lead?

Oh-kay,

I spent yesterday at one of the fanciest 5-star hotels in Mumbai – Taj Lands End. Attending the Content Marketing Summit & Awards, hosted by the World Marketing Congress, a super busy event that’s a great place to meet with the top professionals in marketing.

Last week, I was at the Digital Leadership Summit organised by Social Beat. At the St.Regis, Mumbai, super swank. Loves these places.

Last month it was TechSparks 2018 at the Taj Yeshwantpur in Bengaluru.

And this is not me showing off. I’m actually talking about something completely different here.

You’ll see why I am mentioning all these grand old daddies of luxury living. Not name-dropping.

Because, these luxury hospitality brands clearly fail – astoundingly – at both luxury & hospitality in one very important regard that interferes with one of the loves of my life: Food.

In fact, the experience I went through yesterday makes me want to reinvent the term ‘arm exercises’. It’s a one between me and my friend I shall refer to here as Mundu Cracko.

Arm exercises refer to the ultra-best form of workout one gets from lifting beer mugs filled to the brim (heavier the better) right up from the table level to one’s lip and holding it there while consuming the much-needed refreshment, while making sure to give it as many reps as one can humanly make in the course of one session.

Unlike all other kinds, this workout mixes dopamine with spirit, thereby creating a whole new level of motivation. It’s muscle isolation, it’s endurance, it’s mood uplifting, it’s socially engaging because you’d probably do this with your buddies, and the healthy competition to keep going adds to the magic.

It’s a sorry state of affairs then that this beautiful connotation must be vacated for a more staid & serious, a more literal one that has neither its original flair nor the spirit. In fact, it falls flat like non-aerated beer. Did I hear your enthusiasm just fizzle out?

Well, I’m a teetotaler and yet I know we can empathise with the lack of carbonation, which we know contributes wholly to the beer’s mouthfeel and its refreshing-ness.

You can imagine my feelings when I see that my but one indulgence – food – is now condemned to become an arm exercise in the least pleasurable way possible!

I’m talking about how these hi-fi places I’ve named above in a list that is by absolutely no means exhaustive, make it difficult for a nourishment-seeker to seek precisely what they need: nourishment. And, it’s not a gender equal world out there either. I’ll explain:

I’m actually talking about how heavy the plates are that they use in these event buffets dinners and lunches. By the time I’ve scooped in some salad and collected some chapaati and moved on to daal, and subzi… I’m already a spent force.

I’m handling a towel that was once a comforter somewhere, a spoon that is a miniature version of a mason’s or a gardener’s spade, and a fork that is only slightly lighter than a garden rake. Thank God for small mercies.

Because, by the time I begin eating, it has turned into an exercise in negative calories – I’m spending way more calories than I am consuming while holding myself erect, walking around carrying the huge ceramic receptacle in which my nourishing morsels lay, embraced by the mason’s weapons.

The food itself becomes bland, unimportant, secondary, not germane to the issue. It’s only the challenge that counts. Can I continue to ingest, and chew, and swallow when I am busy demonstrating the term ‘Herculean effort’? And for how long? In fact, it becomes a conversation starter with quite a few participants: “Here we are again… huh, huh :-) … yes, this is heavy… dunno what’ll happen if I add that shallot – will I buckle under? Haha”

I even joked with a fellow male participant that the practice of feeding people at such galas seemed rather skewed towards favouring men, who have a denser muscle tone than us ladies. Turns out he wasn’t too thrilled about it himself – saying he’d probably last 1 chapaati more or two but in the end, had to give up his right to nourishment.

So well, I really wonder if you’ve wondered this too: Why do swanky places host stand-up buffets and then give us these plates made of pure lead to eat in? 

Any hospitality folks out here who can help me out?

What do you guys really want us to do? Not eat?

Anyway, I doubt if you’re gonna get me to do a few more push-ups every day, stretch the zer0 workout I’m on. I’m pretty sure I actually lost 400gms of weight yesterday even though I ladled my way through some pretty hefty paalak corn and paneer-something & something-veg-biryani.

Compliments to the chef. None to the hotel industry.

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