Everyone at Fortune Inn Valley View on the fifth of February was fortunate indeed, as the evening sky painted with streaks of bright lights and the beats playing in the background promised exciting things in store.
The 32nd Annual Awards Celebration of the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, WGSHA, started off with a warm welcome and the customary annual report, after which the awards for the academic year were presented. The Chief Guest – Ms Benita Sharma, Area Manager of the golden quadrilateral of ITC Hotels (special connection to WGSHA), inspired the audience with her remarkable story of humble beginnings, perseverance and a smidgen of luck, leading finally to success. Sarina Menezes, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at The Club, Mumbai, was crowned the best alumnus of the year. The Heads of various institutions under MAHE were also present.
Soon after began the cultural programme, which was loosely based on the popular tale set in Wonderland. This time though, it was ‘Alia’ who went down the rabbit hole, not Alice, and as the Mad Hatter hurried her along, the night grew curiouser and curiouser – blinding lights and a smoky dais, pop songs in several languages and Bharathnatyam, girls in glittering costumes gliding along and schoolboys dancing with frenzied energy. Alia and the audience were enthralled by the energetic performance. Towards the end of her journey in Wonderland, Alia crosses paths with the beautiful White Queen (played by the Principal of WGSHA). The storyline was thoroughly entertaining.
One of the major attractions in the Annual Celebrations year after year, is the delicious food, prepared by WGSHA students themselves, under the guidance of the faculty. A great deal of meticulous planning is carried out before D-day. A peek into the kitchens featured students bustling around, completely in sync with each other, each immersed in their specific jobs. The clanging of cutlery and sizzle of papads being fried was punctuated by laughter – it was easy to see that they bonded over the adrenaline rush of cooking well, and cooking fast.
This year’s culinary theme was Royal Cuisines of India, an attempt to recreate the dishes that were relished in palaces of Maharajas hundreds of years ago. Five food counters – North, South, East, West and Central – housed delicacies that reflected the spices and culture of the respective region. The menu was intricate and wonderfully vast, a ravenous gastronomes dream. There was a wide variety of mouthwatering curries, rice items, salads, and even pickles. The dozen or more delectable desserts were quite the cherries on the cake, if you would pardon the pun.
So with plates in hand, strolling around, bands performing in the background, the guests enjoyed a truly scrumptious dinner. And then they parted (with grins vaguely reminiscent of the Cheshire cat), sated of a night of plenty, both culinary and otherwise.
Written by – Niharika Dixith