Pink, as Diana Vreeland once said, is “the navy blue of India”. Me, I want a completely pink Christmas, a tree with pink garlands, pink punch on the table, a pink holiday…
But let me explain. “Oh Madam, do please just leave your laundry anywhere and we’ll take care of it.” I am at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai (Bombay), ensconced in the Elephanta Suite, overlooking the Gateway of India, and this is my butler, Vistaspa, speaking: “Just leave it anywhere.”
It is a sentence to warm the heart of any luxury lover, as do the words of Abeno, my number two butler, who adds cheerily, “Can I unpack for you, Madam?” Yes yes yes, as Molly Bloom might have said, oh do unpack, repack. All I want this year, then, is everything pink for Christmas, maybe a butler or two and a lifetime as a JAR, that’s a Jewish American Rani, of course. And as any little Jarette knows, pink is the colour of pleasure.
Once upon a time I was a JAP, or at least a JAP manqué, a Jewish American Princess who, by definition, as I’m sure you know, makes reservations for dinner. After my trip to India, I have become a JAR, a woman willing to devote herself to JARdom, to hew to the course, to wear it with a profession of purity as a Jain might vow never to eat so much as a bug. The difference between a JAP and JAR is while a JAP may experience a twinge of guilt or even anxiety about the presence of servants, a JAR never does. It didn’t take me long, I admit, to learn to love it – my butlers, my driver, the wonderful Farroq, who always has bottles of cold water and cool face wipes ready. Not to mention the pink elephants, but I’ll get to them.
In itself, the Taj is one of the great hotel palaces; one of those fantasy destinations that surpasses expectations – especially when, as you fly in, squads of people meet you at the plane, escort you to the hotel and then practically carry you around on a sedan chair. Never are you permitted to wander down the wrong corridor on your own. Your butler is waiting outside your room to take you down to the pool, or the salon (best pedicures on earth; pink polish for Christmas) or to one of the exquisite restaurants – Wasabi, for instance, where the deep pink plush toro is the best this side of Honolulu.
In the lobby and the rooms are flowers, heaps of (pink or colour co-ordinated) flowers which are changed every day. Luxury is fresh flowers every day. Luxury is crisp laundry in your room, tiny pinky purple orchids tucked into the tissue that enfolds your undies. Luxury is your feet never touching the ground. Then there is a cruise in the harbour while the hot pink sun sets and bearers bring you ice-cold pink champagne. In keeping with all this, I will swear to try never again to fly commercial; überluxe is, of course, the Taj jet to take you to Jaipur so you can stop off to see the Taj Mahal. On the first day of Christmas, I’d really like the plane. I have experienced life in the luxe lane and nothing will ever be the same; greed makes the heart beat faster and all I want for Christmas is, well, more, and preferably, since we’re talking India here, in pink. I want more time in Jaipur where remnants of the old walls, once an intense oleander pink, still stand, and where a 1956 Harley Earl Cadillac convertible picks me up at the airport to convey me to the Rambagh Palace hotel.
Here I am garlanded with roses and pink rose petals are strewn around my marble bathtub every day. I want to sit on the veranda of my suite where Maharanis once slept and watch the peacocks strut across the lawn in the blush of dawn. Before dinner, I want to sip pink Cosmopolitans in the Polo Bar with its sporting décor. By that time, the elephants on the lawn for a wedding procession will look pink, too. For my pink Christmas as a JAR in pink Jaipur, I want to shop at Hot Pink, the city’s chicest shop where I spot a shawl that is rose raw silk on one side and sugared almond pink pashmina on the other. I want to deck myself (and the halls) in pink baubles from Gem Palace. I mean, if you’ve got the glitter, who needs a pear tree or a hen or those calling birds? And so this year, as I practise my new- found religion as a committed JAR, I crawl into my pink silk pyjamas, and wait for Santahi who will, no doubt, arrive in a pink turban bearing goodies.
As I think Merry Christmas to all, I fall asleep feeling, well, in the pink. !