one must always be mindful, look you see, of knowing that when looking back on something and recalling how wonderful it was whether you care to admit it or not you're doing so with rose tinted glasses on. that said, the level of tint is variable, with every now and then it being that you are right to remember the way things once were, even if they will never be again, was better.
the two such instances which show off this the most, to be sure, are hotels and airline travel. to start with the latter, for the former is the main thrust of this post, how sad it is that airline travel, or if you like going on a commercial aeroplane, has come to be one of the most miserable, despairing, depressing and horrible experiences of your life. where once going on a flight was all prestige, class and an unmistakable sense of glamour, now it's a way in which you pay to be treated with humiliation and contempt. one cannot even say you are herded onto these planes like cattle any more, for the work of animal rights activists means that cattle generally tend to get treated a lot better than people on a plane.
a similar thing with hotels, really. except in Mumbai, it would seem. and now is as good a point as any to break up the text with an image.
yes, the above is what the title of this post suggests they are - some matches off of Mumbai. in retrospect i probably should have called this the massive matches of Mumbai, for they are huge. but i did not. so we move on.
so anyway, once staying in a big name, brand proud and well known hotel that forms part of a chain of hotels was the pinnacle of absolute pleasure. everything was focused on what could be done for you, with every wish or proclivity (within reason) being provided and attended to. now, no. staying in a hotel is all focused on what you cannot do, what you are not allowed to do, what you should not do.
in days gone by hotels and airlines made you feel as though it was their privilege to have your patronage, and showed that with kindness, attentiveness and making you feel like you and your money was of value. now they just hold you in utter, utter contempt, and you really rather get the idea that they believe that people should be just giving them money and not bothering to use the service at all. the, if you will, Sony model for how to treat clients and customers.
isn't that nice? see, that's what i am talking about. what a lovely, lovely touch that is off of the InterContinental Hotel in Mumbai to have an inspirational message on the box of matches which they have given you. you're all excluded from my above complaints, hotel in Mumbai - you still clearly value the slightest touches which give the greatest sense of perfection to your guests.
if you went into a hotel in any so-called First World country - here, the USA, some areas of mainland Europe and so on - and asked for matches at best you'd get a horrified look. at works, and at the most likely, you would be requested to vacate the hotel at once, and when you did you'd find some "anti-terror" police waiting for you, wanting to rendition you to waterboard you in order to find out what massive menacing and harmful plans you had that involved matches.
depressing is the only way i can think of to describe how we have let the world become this way. due to ineffective and ill-prepared leadership, particularly in the "west" but in fairness around the globe, we now live in a perpetual state of fear. things which are simple are no longer tolerated, and perfectly normal things - like a request for some matches - are responded to with fear, suspicion, scorn, contempt and horror.
allowing extreme, out of proportion reactions to be accepted as valid - especially on things like that Twitter - has seen many feel marginalised, bad and prejudiced against when there is no good reason for them to be. it is little wonder, when so many normal things are portrayed as "wrong" or bad, that people react with extreme ways. a reflection of this is seen in things like election results, i suppose.
but anyway, focus on the positive, to be sure. it is splendid, and most reassuring, to see that there are places in the world where normality and common sense prevail. bravo you, InterContinental in Mumbai, for seeing it as a pleasure and delight to happily give one of your guests a box of matches if that is what they have asked of you.
provenance of my smart boxes of matches off of Mumbai? Spiros. certain parties there had a rather delicate matter which required only the best for resolution on, and so they naturally consulted with the greatest legal mind of this generation. as the parties, who wish to remain anonymous, happened to be exceptionally wealthy, they were able to afford the fee which the services of Spiros naturally command, and so off he went.
will it ever be that hotels and air travel will be pleasurable once again? i doubt it. the generation now has no idea that once before it was all rather wonderful. hotel chains and airline companies accept that people are stupid, and will pay for the services no matter how bad they are if they can be convinced that it is really what they want. they are, they do.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!