Dressed-up chairs

In any function at a ‘star’ hotel, these are the norm. Plain rusted iron chairs are made to look ‘premium’ with a dress stitched specially for them. Usually white, with a small padding for the back and the seat, they are slipped over the chairs in a matter of minutes. Premium chairs are hard to maintain in the Indian atmosphere of heat, dust and careless guests who drop curry. After the function is over, they go back into a stack and their dowdy selves.

It’s another one of India’s ‘jugaad‘ approaches to solving logistic, image and maintenance issues with a halfway solution that works. No trying to change guest behavior. Paying for laundry washes is much cheaper than paying for upholstery to be replaced. At the cheap hotels where there is no need to provide ‘pretend luxury’, the plastic chairs have taken over completely. They are light, easy to transport and can bear the collective weight of ample posteriors for several functions.

As a nation, we don’t look for the perfect solution. There is always an imperfect one that saves money and maintains face – two important factors that have to be kept in mind.