The sanctuary earmarked for this rare bird needs to be protected at any cost
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The curtains advertise ‘Khat Mit Jeera’, the light fittings shine discreetly through plastic mugs (of the bum wash variety). On the other wall, an optician’s chart is the friendly light source. The bathrooms are even more remarkable. One has enough shubh labh tiles and gaudy goddesses to keep acres of Lajpat Nagar feeling well decorated.
Three of the 26 rooms at Delhi’s Hotel Broadway have been redesigned by French designer Catherine Levy to mark the hotel’s 50th anniversary this year. ‘To an Indian guest it may bring in nostalgic memories of old everyday items which one does not really see that much anymore’, reads the brochure.
But plastic mugs weren’t around in the 1950s, neither were too many rickshaws, or much else of the bric-a-brac in these rooms. To get a glimpse of the Broadway of the brave new mid-fifties, one pauses in the reception, where they’ve hung up their first tariff card. ‘One of the latest and most modern Hotels in New Delhi, situate at the junction of Old and New Delhi’, proud of being among the first in Delhi to have a bed and breakfast system, single rooms for Rs 15, doubles 25. The tariffs are now a hundred times that, of course. They were proud of the air-conditioning; the telegram was ‘Luxury’. The rooms were ‘modern’. And Broadway was literally on a broad way, looking out across the wide (and quiet) expanse of Asaf Ali Road to the red brick spire of Irwin Hospital and to New Delhi. A city looking confidently to the future, freshly endowed with a Master Plan.
Now noisy traffic assails the rooms in front and the coveted view is at the back, overlooking Old Delhi rooftops and out to the spires of Jama Masjid.
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