Art, Perhaps

The lobby at the ITC Windsor Manor, Bangalore

The lobby at the ITC Windsor Manor, Bangalore

Lit by lamps overhead, the crushed ice in the pot sparkle, and they let off a light vapor when you unloose yourself upon them. Down below, white cotton puffed-up mats soak up and conceal accumulated spills, and keep the marble floor dry beneath your feet. The room is bathed in amber light and the fragrance of freshener. If you look up there’s news on the TV monitor, and when I was there the other day, the Man With the Golden Hair who is running for President of The Greatest Nation on Earth was on it.

In such eager manner the restroom at the Windsor Manor Hotel does its bit to return value for money.

At its door the restroom goes three yards further. On the wall right of the door, on my last visit there, I noticed something I hadn’t seen in previous visits: A framed obituary page pulled from the Economist magazine (newspaper, as the Economist’s folks call it), featuring the American feminist Phyllis Schlafly. Left of the door, the other wall sported two frames, one with a piece from Shakespeare’s Richard II, and the other with an excerpt from Teddy Roosevelt’s Sorbonne speech, The Man in the Arena: “Dare Greatly!”

The obituary page in the Economist is my favorite column in any magazine, and who doesn’t love Shakespeare, even if most are shy to say it? As regards Roosevelt’s speech, I haven’t known it before, and I’d have liked to read it, but the spot behind a hotel’s toilet door isn’t a safe place to lose yourself in reading. At any rate, why were these frames hanging there?

“Art, perhaps,” I said to myself, stepping out the door.