After over 2 years of perhaps a little blood, sweat for sure and hidden tears - Siddharth and his cousins have finally opened their haveli hotel. At the risk of sounding soppy, which I will take readily, I have so much admiration for this dedicated trio who spend hours on the road, driving like robots along the 6 hour path to Ramgarh from Delhi; working painlessly with
government officials,painters, plumbers, furniture manufacturers, legal advisers and umpteen others to make sure no stone is left unturned on this project. I've seen the three of them (Siddharth, his cousin brother, Sanjay, and Sanjay's wife, Ruchi) work overtime to get this haveli up and running.
I have to admit, I thought they were crazy when I visited there two years ago. The town was quaint, as it still is, but one look at the haveli and I had to bite my tongue from crying out
loud, "Are you crazy?!" Siddharth has always been passionate about running his own place and his cousins had the vision and
determination to see something I clearly could not fathom at that point in time - 50 odd years of dust layering the floors, a crunch under my step sent me reeling with horror - a mouse skeleton - and there wasn't just one! Mildew choking the paintings on the walls, doors and windows broken and creaking on their hinges, creepy dark nooks and corners, wasp infested rooms - how on earth could they visualize a charming hotel!
Two years later and many subsequent trips back, I've seen the rot being peeled away and the magic of the haveli gradually shine through. On one trip I remember being amazed at finally seeing the floor; another one saw the bathroom walls coming up in each room - a huge project in
itself to install plumbing in the building; gradually I could run my fingers across the silken sea-shelled walls, which always
remain cool; multi hued rays slanted through the new coloured panes of glass; the dusty doors and windows glowed a rich mahogany; I could finally sit on the terrace and imagine clusters of candle lit tables set for dinner, overlooking the town; and of course the paintings - a touch up of blue bringing to life an image of Krishna, a bit of Surf and water revealing the swing on which a sari clad lady is suspended, the entry archway light up with the pretty Ganesha light - it's taken me two years to completely see this magical place come alive and it's been totally worth the wait. Congratulations to the three who felt that magic even before it was visible to me :)