TODAY -

Virtue of Vigilance

N. Arunkumar *



I recently came across a case of a father and his daughter who were thrown out of a hotel at midnight in Guwahati. The hotel in question is situated at a place called Kalapahar on VIP road. The name of the hotel is ditto. The father had gone to visit his daughter, staying in a hostel and pursuing a professional course. However, due to some strange quirks of fate, then names of the father – daughter duo were mismatched. She was a good looking girl and the hotel staff began to suspect foul play and began to play tricks on them.

First they barged into their room at midnight and used nasty language to address the daughter and asked for her identity again. Naturally the father got angry at the tone of language used by the guards of the hotel and objected in strong terms. However, they continued to harass them and took recourse to policing policies that exist almost in all states across the country.

Yet, their motives were far from honest or dignified. The hotel is situated at a busy suburb of the city, though it is a bit too far off from the centre of the city itself. The amenities provided are okay, although the services offered by them are far from satisfactory. It is not a professionally managed establishment by the looks of it. The hotel also takes its name from the road on which it is located, namely VIP. Travellers from Manipur beware, it is not a safe place if you are with your sisters, wife or daughters and alone.

If you are a big group of family and friends then perhaps you may risk a stay here. Though, I wouldn’t suggest it. It is better to be closer to the city centre in areas like Pan Bazaar, Paltan Bazaar etc. You will be safer at these places due to the fact that these areas are under constant surveillance due to their strategic locations near the all important Guwahati railway station.

Now, Guwahati is a fast growing city. It is taking on a hue of the metropolitan cities in India. The business establishments are running smoothly and there is lot of commercial activity leading to overall prosperity among the people. Tourism also contributes substantially to the economy of the local people and there seems to be a sort of contentment on their faces. When you see people smiling on the streets and walking around gaily, you know that there is a sense of peace in their midst.

Shops and establishments are open till late in the night and there is a night life vibrantly moving the city now. It is a far cry from our own Imphal today. Obviously we are living in a state of constant fear of tragedy that could come visiting on us without prior indications. We are living from day to day, and thank God if we are able to live a day’s life without complications of unimaginable proportions. Guwahati is really happening, in contrast.

The point I wish to raise here is the question of safety of visitors to other states even from within the Northeast. The situation for my friend could have gotten out of control as the father – daughter duo could have been separated, leading to horrifying consequences. Such experiences can happen in hotels with dubious reputations across the country. In the case of this particular hotel on VIP road in Guwahati, one must exercise great caution or better still completely avoid it altogether. This hotel is huge from the inside and has plenty of rooms to suit various budgets. All kinds of shady people are seen to be loitering around this place.

My friend, who was in the centre of this indignity called me up, as I also, happened to be in Guwahati at this time coincidentally.When I rushed to him, he looked upset and out of sorts. I consoled him and decided to change the hotel to a much safer place, nearer to the Railway station in Guwahati, right away. The area around the Railway station is a hub of activity throughout the day and night, with trains coming in and going out constantly from the city.

It is a busy thoroughfare for travellers to the Northeast, rightly nicknamed as the ‘Gateway to the Seven Sisters’. There are many hotels here, and you can choose from a number of these to suit your pockets. However, it is not necessary that they will give you top notch service, as these are mainly meant as temporary halts for passengers to move on, often almost as soon as they check in.

Yet, one must be extremely careful here too, as the staffs of the hotels are not so much dependable at some of the more seedy looking hotels. And, if you have a young daughter, sister or even wife with you, you need to be all the more cautious. Anything can happen, and I mean anything you can think of. The probabilities are too numerous to even conjecture.

As I had written in an earlier observation of mine, the libido factor is very volatile in the country at the moment. The chance of getting into a messy situation is always lurking in the corners everywhere in the country at this point of time. But, at all costs, avoid the hotel on VIP road, as this is one place where the staff are also seen ogling at young ladies who stay in their hotel. I gave them a dressing down of my own, though it is wise to be cautious when you are out of town and that too among strangers. The VIP hotel is a big no, for the moment.

Of course, it does not mean that there are no hotels in Guwahati that have credibility. There are some very good establishments too, for people who can afford the costs of getting good services. Many hotels are professionally managed and maintain certain excellent standards of hospitality. These are expensive and some are not so. It will be advisable to find out details from friends and relatives who have had to live in hotels there, before you undertake a trip, which might require you to stay over for a night or even two.

Better get the proper references to good places, and that will be a wise thing in the end. It is better to be prepared rather than get caught unawares in a sorry situation. Yet, I am not admonishing the city itself for my friend’s horrible experience. It might have been just a one – off incident, but it happened. It can happen again.

So, be careful when you leave home with your female relatives in tow. God be with all those who travel away from home on various errands. Being vigilant is always a virtue with its own fruits.




* N. Arunkumar is a frequent contributor to e-pao.net . The sender of this article can be contacted at hareedesiree(at)hotmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted on September 02 2011 .


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