Sunday, April 8, 2018

Cabbana, the Savior

The group on a tour of Punjab and Himachal Pradhesh, after a hearty breakfast at the Velvet Clarke Exotica , Chandigarh was speeding through the Chandigarh- Amritsar highway, with the tough looking but graceful with the wheel driver gunning the AC bus, desperately searching with his tongue for the last crumbs of the delicious pastry devoured in the morning.  The team was happily passing through 'the smart city, Ludhiana' as the huge name board suggested and were toying with what to do with the time when the 100 odd KMs were covered in the next few hours , on reaching Amritsar ! Though few passengers who grabbed the Daily at the hotel lounge and those who managed to stay awake despite the speed of the bus,  hovered over the headlines of a nationwide bandh, little did they realize about the impending roadblocks until they crossed Phagwara, a still sleeping town. As the vehicle climbed the long over bridge it suddenly started losing speed on seeing vehicles coming in the opposite direction , but in the same lane and within meters, the driver decided to reverse the bus and take a detour , as there were some problems reported due to bandh, on the road ahead. But even the alternate routes were promptly plugged and soon all roads out of Phagwara, were reported to be closed due to the nation wide bandh and our bus was stranded mid way, not knowing where to go. When the driver attempted to drive further we were warned that the locals in that area are aggressive and not to venture into anything that could provoke them as the damage to the property and also people could become imminent. This was proved right when we were looking to proceed and were sternly warned and when the driver took some time to make the turn, the cold look of some young Turks before the roadblock sent a chill down our spines. If only the looks could kill.....!!!

We hurriedly obeyed the majority command and started knocking at some of the major hotels in the area looking for a place to stay until the evening  but most of them had employed heavy security people looking like boxers and when our bus slowed down to make a request , we were sternly waved away , not even allowing us to explain our predicament. The bus made  a slow move to a nearby petrol bunk, which though was closed had its washroom open for the senior citizens, who had by now had a full bladder matching the fear that has filled their hearts.

With every major hotel closing their doors on us and not willing to accommodate, we were at our wits end to find solutions for a safe shelter, lunch and a resting place to escape the heat that has started prevailing through Punjab.  A passing good Samaritan on a motor cycle did try to divert us through another road, but we learnt that the bandh organizers have blocked that too, tightening the noose around the hapless travelers through the rich state.  When the bus driver made a mild attempt to escape the scene under the guise of looking for better place by going on foot, the alert tour organizer and a few in the touring party stopped him and on our prompt he slowly wheeled the vehicle looking for a safer haven, when we saw the grand looking Cabbana Resort and Spa ( http://hotelcabbana.com/ ).

The Majestic Cabbana
(Thanks to the Hotel Website for the nice photo)
Awed by its grandeur, overawed by the prevailing atmosphere, few of us chose to carefully trod to the front desk, where a smiling Front office Manager patiently listened to our predicament and immediately assured us of a shelter , without bating an eyelid. Unable to believe it, we explained that we are a party of 33 proceeding to Amritsar as part of a Punjab and Himachal tour, when we were hit by the sudden bandh call and that we are concerned about the safety and shelter of the team , mostly consisting of senior citizens. Still smiling, the official summoned the F & B Manager, who ushered the group into their spacious air conditioned hall and the welcome tea served really warmed the cockles of our hearts and it took sometime for us to believe that amongst hotels that prevent entry with some burly boxers , there are also people like Cabbana , who opened up their hearts for the hapless elders to enter.

Settled team

With calmed nerves, the grey matter to the fore for some healthy discussion
The entourage not only settled into vantage points in the hall with a nice cool atmosphere, but also set out to explore the beautiful ambiance and were surprised to know that many popular cricketers including M S Dhoni had dined there and their souvenirs acknowledging their delectable food triggered their appetite and after an elaborate photo session capturing the lush greens into their mobiles to munch the scenario later along with their loved ones in the safe confines back home .

Lush green backdrop invited photo session
                        Certified quality !

Friends catching up !
The lunch served was a delight and the group also indulged in a siesta , blissfully ignorant of the situation brewing outside. But the hotel officials assured us that we could stay there until complete safety is assured and when they had some news of the bandh drawing to a close they took pains to personally verify with the plying of some large trucks in both directions, and only then they allowed us to leave, with some almost in tears.

This brought a stark reality in front of everyone that though the business is emerging as a dog-eating-dog scenario, there are some soft hearted people too, who care for the welfare of the people in distress even though we had difficulty in understanding their language and vice versa, with the much hated language of the people who left us 71 years back helping us to bridge the communication.

Only when we later came to know that Punjab was one of the places where the bandh was observed in all severity and that  there were some violence too involving loss of property and damage to moving vehicles , did the magnitude of the support offered by the Cabbana Resort and Spa, Phagwara and also the smart and quick decisions of the front desk officials, descended on the team.

With Ms Kripa of Front Desk and Mr Kamal, F & B Manager
Hats of to the hospitality and timely help rendered and the team with Sree Janaki Tours, Chennai bow their heads to the staff and more importantly to M/s Kripa and Kamal along with their support staff. With such warm hearts around, we realize that not all is lost, despite growing business competition and that Indian hospitality Industry still holds a lot of promise !

When you are near Phagwara, it is worth visiting Cabbana, where not only they serve food hot but also add spice with their warm hospitality.  Thank you, Cabbana !!


                                                   Kapaleeswaran and Shreekalah, Chennai, India  

25 comments:

  1. "Super .."- Ramesh Visvanathan

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  2. "Absolutely awesome..Ur language & the perfect writing awww..lot to learn..Superb writing...it was more like a rewind button when I read.. Hats off to your wonderful writing skills & the awesome language" Sripriya Ramesh

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  3. "As usual, you rock KV. Superbly written. What a flow ! Simply Outstanding. Enjoyed reading the write up . Hats off to you."- Venkatesh Jagadeesan

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  4. "Superb sir"- Ms Agnes Lazar

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  5. "Very interesting to know your experience of Punjab and HP."- Muralidharan

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  6. "A vivid description. Worth preserving as an anecdote for posterity... Nice writeup."- Mr Venkataraman and Mrs Neela Venkataraman

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  7. "What an adventure? U seem to be bitten by the travelling bug. ๐Ÿ‘" - Doris Cunningham

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  8. "Excellent minute by minute narration of the incident. You have covered the hospitality aspect of Gabbana so very well and if you decide to send this blog link to cabbana staff and management team you will get a wonderful reception next time whenever you go there!!! Jokes apart the blog is really nice and the pictures you have taken from their web site is really nice. Very nice blog post. Thanks for sharing. Keep in touch."- Murali Srinivasan

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  9. "Wow what a predicament"- Ms Manjula Anandamurthy

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  10. "Blogpost is superb - ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘awesome. Malathi"

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  11. "Super Kabali. Hats off to Cabbana"- Panchatcharam Radhakrishnan

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  12. "super nice"- Dharmaraj Surya

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  13. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ - Uday Reddy

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  14. "Must have been a real experience. Thank God you were able to go through the rest of the tour successfully"- Aruna Balachandra

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  15. "Very beautiful writing, kapali.. Keep posting Bro. Not only the tour , but your views on things happening around you. Hats off."- Manivannan Shanmugam

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  16. "Glad you guys r safe! Good travel blog "- Gayatri Natarajan

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  17. "Nice write-up...๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป.waiting for more and more articles from you Sir"- Akiladevi Kumaran

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  18. "Wonderful write up! Hats off to the Cabbana guys for making you feel so comfortable in such trying times ! You should post this review on their FB page so more people can read it. :) "- Muralidhar Shreedhaaran

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  19. "Very well written. Was able to 'see' what happened there."- Venkataraman Rajendran

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  20. "Humanity is still around. We don't have to despair. That's the impression I am getting after reading your post, Kapali.
    By the way,you are writing like a professional journalist or story teller, be it in English or Tamil. Keep it up. My best wishes" - Venkatachari, S

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  21. "GOOD ONE KAPALI - the hospitality in Punjab has always been good but for the political situation you unfortunately faced. i have always enjoyed being around in Punjab." - Bharatkumar B

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  22. "Your blog post made very interesting reading. It shudders to think that one could get caught unawares during a bandh in one of the innermost cities of a northern state. The narration was very lively and photographs of the cabana hotel are astonishing."- R.S.Ramachandran

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  23. Very well portrayed sir :) I always admire your writings and learn a lot from them. Wish i could experience Cabbana's hospitality sometime when i cross them. The title of the post was too catchy and never thought it would be the name of a hotel !!

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  24. Thank you all for the kind words and feedback, which I value much. Through such frank responses, I hope to improve my writing. Good Day !

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