News & Reviews

THE DOOR OPENS TO THE INDOORS Author:Amit Dutt   Posted On:2018-05-16


The weather gods looked down with distinct benevolence; what portended to be another sweltering evening was air-brushed aside by a brief spell of gusty winds followed by a light shower that brought the mercury down several relieving notches. Yes, one refers to the cool breeze that swept the Courtyard@DI on Friday

May 11th evening – a welcome start to the inauguration of the new-look INDOORS@DI.

The imposing  gate that welcomes a member to the club, with an identical, though smaller, twin that opens out to the courtyard and hall, gives one an idea of what to expect beyond: the new-look Indoors@DI. The gable that masks the span roof behind, stands atop a window-lined wall that complements the balustrades hemming the upper floor. Towering at more than 20 feet, the distant reaches of the hall narrows in perspective. French windows, running the length of the eastern wall, open out to an air-conditioned verandah, bearing a general resemblance to an arcade.

A striking feature of this commodious hall, indeed a distinctive characteristic, is the moulding that runs the inner perimeter of the wall at lintel height. On it are inscribed the names of the 2,801 members on the current rolls of the club. The parquet floor facilitates waltzing to the strains of Blue Danube as much as it does to a blurry slide to return a lobbed shuttlecock. A bibliophile’s retreat, the cozy library Books@DI has edged out what was earlier the dining room which, in turn, has climbed a floor to become Dining@DI. The ambience crafted to whet the appetite of the epicure, the room is catered to by several renowned kitchens -- Sanjha Chulha, Go Lebanese and Deeya Bati among them, apart from our own Maxim's and China Town. The colourful Family@DI sitting above the verandah offers teenagers a cool place to hang out.

The building has been appropriately dedicated to the four youngsters whose tender lives were untimely extinguished recently. And equally fittingly, the hall was inaugurated by their kin, whose was a palpable blend of grief and happiness. They were gratified that their lost loved ones have been immortalized on the plaque on the outer wall.

The project, by no reckoning a mean one, has been undertaken at a cost of Rs 5 crore. Commendations are due to the officials who have toiled these last months in setting up the building in this new avatar. The architects who have been overseeing its design and implementation, merit no less mention. Squeaky clean in their dealings, the officials have been overly particular that each penny spent be accounted for. Indeed, an engineering audit has been instituted to set at rest any doubts that might even remotely creep in.

Honorary secretary Derek O’Brien dwelt at length on the subject. “The funds had been accumulating over the last 10 years under the DI’s development fund. Not a single member was taxed, and there were no sponsors”, he said. He gave a systematic review of the nature of the corpus, the interest that had accrued over the period and its present status. On a more sombre note, the secretary sounded a word of warning that at the scale at which the staff salaries had burgeoned -- estimable from the fact that none on the payroll had opted for the golden, and liberal, handshake that had been proffered – the club might have to shut down.

Inauguration over, Shayne Hyrapiet took over and enthralled the members – packed in a manner not dissimilar to canned sardines. It was thereafter left to Blue Mist to cater to the twinkle toes, who whisked and sashayed away with gay abandon. The dinner, free for the first 600, catered to the discerning and gourmand alike. The firni brought the curtains down on a sweet note.

Amit Ukil adds: Preceding the speeches, the dancing and the dinner was a rendition of The LGBT Quest, a dance sequence by our members and their children on how the expression of love has grown bolder over time. From the black-and-white “prudery” of yesteryears to the millennial era where posting selfies has become a mode of expressing affection, and right up to the dawn of the rainbow, where same side lovers now come out of the closet, the performance was entertaining.

President Jayajit Biswas thanked the older members present for their long association with the Club and witnessing the opening of the new facilities. “This milestone in DI’s history was not built in a day. It took several months of conceptualising, planning, adjustments and implementation to reach what we see and experience now. Derek deserves mention, for he was involved at all stages - the inscription of 2,801 members’ names on the panel was his brainchild. Right from the Council to all the staff members, all had their roles in the successful completion of these facilities, which are now available for you, the member, to utilise and enjoy.”