Sossegado

We took a family vacation to Goa during the last Diwali weekend and were booked to stay in a premier property belonging to one of the major multinational chains.
Even though we go to Goa for a family vacation at least once every three years or so and what happened during this trip is probably the norm each time, I presume I found it difficult initially, simply because it is my perspective and not Goa’s that seems to have changed.
Over the last few years, my expectations from hotels and restaurants have risen considerably. Spiffy, quick, polite, courteous, on-the-dot, willing to make amends immediately…these are things that we can get used to so easily that we start expecting the same level of service everywhere…
Including Goa…
Which was probably a huge mistake!
When we reached the hotel, the staff was as friendly and courteous as expected and remained so throughout the stay. But by the evening of the first day, I was angry and upset because of their level of service delivery.
To start. On the first day, during dinner, the wine bottle came pretty much after half the meal was over. On the 2nd day, during breakfast, the tea and coffee came when we had almost finished. In the evening, the 2nd round of naans did not come for at least 15 minutes, by which time the rest of the food had become cold. The next day for breakfast, the toasts came after the omelet had already been eaten and later during dinner, they were unable to locate the half-drunk wine bottle that I had kept back in the hotel’s wine cellar.
And then. The hotel, for internal transportation, had provided buggies, which were quite a boon for my in-laws, especially since our rooms were quite a distance away from the restaurants and the swimming pool. Once in a while, a buggy would actually come the moment we called for it, but the majority of times, the wait was at least 15-20 minutes and sometimes the buggy would just not land up, usually because of some logistical screw-up. Invariably therefore, planned schedules would just go completely haywire.
So is this one more rant that perhaps has become a regular feature in this column these days? Well, on the first day, I was almost ready at night to offload all my angst on the hotel manager. Luckily, I was too tired and went to sleep. On the second day, when the toasts came after the omelet, I said, “screw it!” On the third day, I could care less whether the naans came late, or that they couldn’t locate the wine bottle.
In reality, by the middle of the 2nd day, I had stopped bothering about any kind of schedule…once you don’t really have to get back to something or need to be on time or in time for everything, it doesn’t matter if the buggy is late, or the food order is inverted or if the waiter just takes too long.
When in Romans, do as Romans do.
If Goans are laid-back, the hotel chain cannot change the basic attitude of the staff and make it behave like the staff in Mumbai. And though everyone was always nice and courteous and smiling, they were all just marching to a different beat. And, what I had to learn was to march on their beat and not mine, and to leave my multi-tasking, anal-obsessed, time-controlled life behind.
In effect, I had to learn the concept of “sossegado”.
Which of course, only lasted till I landed back in Mumbai…but so what!

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