Yesterday,when the fourth Brazil,Russia,India,China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit was flagged off at Taj Palace in Delhi,the idea of India was everywhere. It seeped through flowers,food and ambience,traditional courtesies of hospitality,and numerous subtle yet unmistakable cultural nuances.
Attended by Dilma Vana Rousseff,President of Brazil; Dmitry Medvedev,President of the Russian Federation; Hu Jintao,President of the Peoples Republic of China; Jacob Zuma,President of South Africa and Dr Manmohan Singh,Prime Minister of India,BRICS stands for a unique grouping of countries with shared opportunities and common challenges. It was first
formalised on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2006.
The Taj staff not only wore specially designed uniforms,but had gone through vigorous voice and accent training to understand the diction of the delegates. Opulent carpets were laid out at the banquets to complement the ornamental chairs for the five heads of state. The lounge for
informal discussions had been done up like an inviting library with the finest coffee table books on subjects that mirror India both historical and modern. To represent the world-famous lifestyle products of participating nations,coffee from Brazil,tea from China,fresh fruit from South Africa and berries from Russia had been specially brought in. But
Indian food was the crowning glory. Besides specialty desserts from different countries sesame Phyllo Pouch,Berry Kissel to name a couple,the larger menu and its aesthetic design was of India,by India. Lunch tables had been named after local flowers like Mogra,Parijat,Kaner,Jarul,Gulab,Chandni and others. If there were small delights like Kahva and masala chai,there was a feast that included ambi paneer pasanda,dahi aur neje ki tikki,galawati kebabs,zafrani subz biryani and Goan fish curry among dozens of other delicacies. The Indian mithai selection was as rich as the thought behind it. Everything was served in thalis,giving the guests a tasty mouthful of India.