Yesterday,when the fourth edition of the Brazil,Russia,India,China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit was flagged off at Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi,the idea of India was everywhere. It seeped in through flowers,food,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 Manmohan Singh,the Prime Minister of India,BRICS stands for a unique grouping of countries with shared opportunities and common challenges,which was formalised in New York in September 2006.
The Taj staff wore specially designed uniforms,and had gone through vigorous voice and accent training to understand the diction of different delegates.
Opulent carpets were laid out at the banquets to complement the ornamental chairs for the heads of state. The lounge for informal discussions was 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 and Berry Kissel to name a couple,the larger menu and its aesthetic design was of India,by India. Lunch tables were named after local flowers such as mogra,parijat,kaner,jarul,gulab,chandni and others. 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.