06 December, 2020

Class Apart

Interesting spin-offs, dull story

Class Apart
THERE are some strange books which are interesting in an unintended way: not because of their basic attributes—form, content, ideas—but in spite of them. Former ITC vice-chairman Santanu (Montu) Ray's book of reminiscences is that sort of book. Frankly, I can't imagine how anyone could be remotely interested in this remorseless listing of every tour Ray made, every task he performed in his 34-year career.

There are a few amusing incidents—a brand called Horizon failed because it came to be pronounced by the average customer as Harijan; or how the ITC hotels came to be named: while on board Air-India's Emperor Ashoka 747, Ray decided, on an impulse, to name all the hotels after Indian dynasties. But the rest is arid non sequitur territory: had breakfast, went on market visit, report appreciated by superiors.

He finds the fact that an obscure ITC executive's wife used to carry all her jewellery around with her in a cloth bundle interesting enough to report, but hasn't even noticed that he was with Satyajit Ray on a sea voyage back from London...



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