Oh no. Hot on the heels of Amrita’s most excellent rant on her visit to the “Gateway of India” themed event at New York’s ABC Carpet & Home, and the subsequent deployment on the same thread of the neologism “Ho-rientalists,” here comes, via the SAJA mailing list, a new development that brings it all together more beautifully than one could have dreamed for. It turns out that if you visit the ABC show, which runs til March 14, you can enter to win one of “Six Unique Travel Experiences” being offered by the Taj Hotels group in conjunction with a desi-owned New York travel agency called Our Personal Guest, and known as Tattva Tours.
Tattva? The term the brochure uses to translate this rather complex mystical concept is essence — as in, the essence of India. The press release explains:
Each 10-day tour explores a distinctive cultural perspective of India; some tours also offer a choice of Northern or Southern India itineraries. They are designed to bring out the essence of an Indian experience and are named after the elements that, according to Eastern philosophy, form the basis of all existence.
For details may I direct you to the tour brochure, which is a marvel of — shit, every single last damn clichÃ© you could possibly round up about the mysterious, mystical, spiritual, romantic, esoteric, and not least, luxurious Orient, all set against glowing ochres and purples and yellows and labeled in the requisite faux-Devanagari script. It offers conceptual summaries of the six tours, which include Agni (“The delicacies by Indian fire – It’s not what you taste, it’s what you spice your memory with”), Vaayu (“A flight of fancy with Indian royalty – It’s not how you fly, it’s how high you soar”), Bhoomi (“The earthy splendour of Indian crafts – It’s not what you touch, it’s how it caresses you within”), Aakash, Jal, and Kham.
If we start quoting the descriptive copy for each of these tours we’ll never get out of here, so let me just offer one editorial gem:
Vaayu – Wind
Knowing no bounds, the royalty of India knew no limits when it came to revelry and celebrations. Without India’s royalty, pink would not have become the navy blue of India.
Now hold on a second. This might sound like gibberish to you, but then again, chances are you just aren’t sophisticated enough to understand it. After all, Our Personal Guest is aimed at a very specific type of client, the OPG Traveler:
The OPG traveler wants the best, and knows how to get it. Typically, our clients are well read, highly mobile and sophisticated in their tastes. The OPG client often believe they know best. They have their own inner time clocks, own sense of what specifically interest them and are willing to read learn and be challenged. They have reviewed the available products in the market and concluded that none of them are suited to their needs.
Testimonial of satisfied clients follows. For instance:
This is just to reiterate how very pleased Lord Moore and I were with our amazing two week swing through India. Your careful arrangements were flawless. Every car was waiting exactly where it should have been, every reservation honored.
As befits his Lordship, contact with the natives is limited to only the most civilized among them:
All Tattva Tours include the expertise of an eminent local host; local greeting rituals; a traditional first night welcome dinner at the hotel, a private dinner with a local family; and a signature spa treatment to encourage relaxation upon arrival.
I wonder what Taj Hotels and Our Personal Guest will do if the winner of the draw turns out beneath the appropriate station. Come to think of it, that gives me an idea. Maybe those of us in New York should all stop by ABC Carpet & Home on Broadway and enter the contest. I could use a vacation myself and what could be more restoring to my body and soul than this chance to reconnect with my glorious ancestral heritage.