Thursday, 8 April 2010

Single Lady's Corridor

Bless India and its love of purple prose. When Jason first started his job at a financial news organisation, he was firmly told by his superiors, "News only. Facts. Quarterly results. Announcements. No Shakespeare quotes." A few days in to the job, he realised why.

Then last year, when I did a stint as a sub for a publishing slash events company, one lovely events manager would write these exultant paeans to the grape, in what were meant to be simple press releases about a wine trade show. "I love playing around with language, it's my passion," she confessed to me, making it extremely difficult to slash and burn her prose.

I was reminded of her last week when I received this press release in my inbox from Delhi's most refined, glamorous and possibly its most famous hotel:
"The bygone era of sixteenth century spelled unforgettable names like Queen Elizabeth, acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor. Celebrating the same strength and passion to explore the unknown of today’s women, Hotel X has introduced ELIZA”, a special program for single lady traveller. The lady guest under the program gets enrolled for the uniquely designed privileges coupled with the unmatched Hotel X experience, the moment she checks in. 
Hotel X has taken this value added initiative for our esteemed single lady travellers to provide a distinct “stay experience” associated withcomfort, convenience and care, prioritizing their safety. 
The lady guests are allocated rooms in a “Single Lady Corridor” equipped with CCTV cameras and are provided with special In-room check-in facility. Single Lady Corridor consists of twelve rooms on the third floor for Single Lady Travelers and each room has a separate room door camera installed as an additional security feature. To make their stay with Hotel X exemplary, The rooms are provided with Manicure set, Women’s magazine and special flower arrangements. 
Only lady staff assistance for round the clock room service and all telephone calls go through a screening process before being connected to the roomSpecial Linen provides the seamless elegant touch to a perfect stay experience… only at Hotel X. 
Beginning from room amenities to bathroom accessories, the rooms have everything one can imagine and provides an unmatched opulence and memorable experience only at Hotel X."
I love how business travellers are equated here to, say, Sir Walter Raleigh, rather than the Clooney-bedding Vera Farmaggias of today. I think the reason for this antiquated language can be traced back to school textbooks; they're positively Victorian. But it's great, too, in many ways. It's a reminder that language can be floridly beautiful, even when used for something so pedestrian as a press release. Or, say, Reliance's end of financial year statement. 


Beautiful Things - Cathy said...

Love it! I'm going to demand a room on the 'single lady's corridor' whenever I check into a hotel & if they don't have one, I'm going to demand to know why not in a very loud voice.

Anonymous said...

ha ha, I was picturing the guy from Little Britain being "a laaady" in the single ladies corridor of that hotel. what a hoot!