Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 21st August 2014, 13:13   #1
BHPian
 
Piyadassi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: NCR Delhi
Posts: 52
Thanked: 63 Times
Default Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

“..and suddenly the chandelier started swaying.” He paused for breath and then continued as soon as he could.

“The windows were all closed and it was pitch dark outside. The darkness had enveloped everything outside and the gentle movement of mists inside the corridor had made the setting quite romantic. The only problem shaabji was the chandelier. It swayed quite violently, as if propelled by some force unknown. Except for it all was calm and still. It was close to midnight and I was alone.”

Name:  Savoy 03.JPG
Views: 11558
Size:  121.9 KB Name:  Savoy 01.JPG
Views: 12174
Size:  186.2 KB

I chuckled and thought to myself, “What an ideal location to shoot a suspense tele-film!”

“I was passing this room to fetch for Director Shaab a glass of water and was transfixed to the spot almost exactly where you now stand shaabji.”

I look around. It is afternoon of the next day. The room appeared as if it were inside of an oyster—a tiny paradise, painted all white with wooden colonnades and wooden floor bereft of any furniture—a mute witness to the fox-trots, fun and gaiety of a bygone era. A huge ballroom with a lone piano in one comer stands to its adjacent.

Another door opens to a corridor that leads down the wooden stairs to the kitchen and the cellar. On its outer wall a row of glass paned windows open to the outside from which occasional clouds waft in. It is drizzling and the pitter-patter sound of raindrops falling on the corrugated tin roof is pleasant to the ears. It is slanted for snow to slope down and supported by wooden beams, again painted white. The chandelier hung from it. It lay still.

“But weren't you afraid?” I ask Arjun with feigned seriousness. “No shaabji!” Pat came the reply.

Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie-savoy-05.jpg

I was amused the way he pronounced shaabji. He had come with us all the way from Delhi to Mussourie where we were shooting a suspense tele-film. All crewmembers and the cast were staying at Hotel Savoy, which was also the main location for the film.

According to the story, the husband who is a serial killer buys this property from his wife’s money and they come here to stay. The husband plots to kill his wife but by the twists and turns of the event is himself killed. It was an eerie resemblance.

Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie-savoy-06.jpg

The story of this hotel could as well have been the story of Mussourie—over 150 years old. Ever since the establishment of the Raj in India, the English had always cursed, fretted and fumed over its dust and the heat. After the Gurkha War of 1815 vast hill tracts fell into their hands. Captain Kennedy started the first settlement in Shimla. Captain Young pioneered Mussourie, so called after Mansur shrub that grows in abundance and is staple cattle feed. Shimla became the summer capital of the country and Mussourie became its pleasure capital.

Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie-savoy-09.jpg

It was in this scenario that one Mr. Lincoln acquired the estate of Mr. Maddock’s Mussourie School with the intention of constructing a large luxury hotel. The hotel was opened to the public in the summer of 1902. It was named after the Savoy in London. As Ruskin Bond quotes one resident of the hotel, “The Savoy Hotel has sprung, phoenix-like from the ashes of the Mussourie School. The estate was (and still is) the largest, acreage-wise, hill station hotel in India.”

Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie-savoy-08.jpg

And what a character to have in this cute historic place! The babble from this chatterbox was compelling. Simply watching him speak was a sheer delight. He was a spot boy, an all-purpose fellow, in his late teens, full of raw energy and with a very earthy sense of timing. He was never around when you shouted for him but would mysteriously appear, almost instantly, with glasses of water or tea for the Director or the Producer, when the work was done. In the midst of frenzied activity of shooting, he could still find time for his naps and yet manage to remain in the good books of the bosses.

It was some time before the next shot was to commence. I had nothing to do. So here I was whiling away my time. He reminded me of hawkers on railway stations and bus stands cajoling passenger to buy their ‘time-pass chiniyabadam’ (Groundnut). He wasn’t a chiniyabadam but he could as well be. He was a real time pass. He rattled on.

“I was taken aback for a while, then thumped my feet and said, hey you ghost, keep moving pal! And suddenly it was quiet all around. The chandelier stopped swaying as if it were waiting for my command.”

His face looked intent. He could not be lying.

Moments later he broke the silence and added with an air of confidence. “You see shaabji such incidents are very common back-home in Nepal.”

I almost chuckled to myself as if ghosts on hills have a similar pattern all through.

And then it struck me.

Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie-savoy-04.jpg

I ran as fast as I could. Past the ballroom, the smoking room and the billiards room. The twin wooden stairs in the hallway, common in the mansions of Bollywood films, creaked with a flurry of activities. I heard someone call my name. I ignored the voice. Shot passed the main entrance, its wooden Victorian facade partially enveloped in the mist. It was wet outside. A vast open space in the backdrop of majestic lower Himalayas spread in front of me. It had two lawn tennis grass courts with spectators’ gallery on one side, a perfect picture postcard look. It reminded me of Victorian England with all its pomp and show. But my mind was elsewhere.

The gravel filled pathway made it difficult for me to run. I ploughed through. It was flanked by two neat rows of double storied rooms. Mine was on the upper floor. As I negotiated the turn my shoes clattered against the wooden floor. Frantically I searched for the keys.

Name:  Savoy 02.JPG
Views: 11201
Size:  84.8 KB Name:  Savoy 07.JPG
Views: 11200
Size:  175.8 KB

The room as usual was damp. The furnishings and the furniture were old and creaked under my weight. (In fact the hotel is a bit too much steeped in history, so much so that the room where I stayed could hardly be bolted from inside). I look around. And there it lay. In the far corner of the wide spring soggy bed.

It was a booklet on the history of Hotel Savoy by Ruskin Bond. I frenetically turn the pages. ‘The clientele it had catered to is virtual who’s who of its time - Her Highness the Princess of Wales (later Queen Mary), Motilal and Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, His Holiness Dalai Lama, Haile Selassie (the Emperor of Ethiopia), His majesty the King of Nepal, His Majesty the Crown Prince of Laos, Pearl S. Buck (the Nobel Prize Winning Author) and many others.’

But this was not what I was looking for. I go a little backwards. ‘When Jawaharlal came to Mussourie (and stayed in Hotel Savoy) in 1920, he had not yet entered politics. But as a result of an incident here he was soon to find himself in the thick of freedom struggle.’

No! Not even this! I almost cried to myself. My head was reeling with excitement. I found it difficult to read.

And then there it was. A paragraph above. I quote.

‘It is said that the halls and the corridors of the historic Savoy Hotel are haunted by the ghost of Lady Garnet Orme, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances many years ago. (But she is said to be harmless). Apparently strychnine had been placed in her medicine bottle. But how it got there, no one could tell. Agatha Christie used the circumstances of the crime in her first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920).

Name:  Savoy Styles.jpg
Views: 10946
Size:  9.0 KB

The case was quite a sensation in its time as it involved crystal gazing and table-rapping séances. The victim having been the practitioner of occult.’

‘A famous mind reader claimed to have found the murderer but nothing could be proved. And Rudyard Kipling wrote to his friend Conan Doyle, urging him to use the case as a new adventure for Sherlock Holmes; but Holmes never did make the trip to India. The case remained unsolved. In fact, it came to a dead-end when Lady Garnet Orme’s doctor was also found dead (of strychnine poisoning) a few months later. But not at the Savoy!’

That night as I slept I fervently wished the ghost to pay me a visit. Very early next morning when it was still dark all around, and dense clouds covered the mountains and the vales, I woke up to a gentle knocking. As I opened the door a strong waft of mist swept past me.

“Chai shaabji!”



I had visited Savoy long time ago. It was in a much run down condition. Now it has been taken over by ITC’s Fortune.
Piyadassi is offline   (37) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st August 2014, 15:16   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ghaziabad
Posts: 1,007
Thanked: 760 Times
Default re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

1 Post - 3 Thanks, so far! Good start to your journey on the forum. Quite the story-teller you are too, so hoping to see some brilliant write-ups from you in the future. Cheers.
roy_libran is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st August 2014, 15:32   #3
Senior - BHPian
 
Maverick5490's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Thane
Posts: 1,254
Thanked: 610 Times
Default re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Excellent narrative skills, the pictures help a lot in visualizing, look forward to more!
Maverick5490 is online now   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st August 2014, 16:01   #4
Senior - BHPian
 
mallumowgli's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Palakkad/Coimbatore
Posts: 1,101
Thanked: 704 Times
Default re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

I was simply racing through the lines at the end - gripping. And the let the story unfold...
mallumowgli is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st August 2014, 16:18   #5
BHPian
 
iceman7's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 705
Thanked: 256 Times
Default re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

You have a way with the pictures you take, and the words you write. Those pictures create such an haunting effect.

Welcome aboard!

PS - look at the sheer coincidence. This is Post # 666 for me!!

Last edited by iceman7 : 21st August 2014 at 16:20.
iceman7 is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd August 2014, 11:26   #6
BHPian
 
Piyadassi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: NCR Delhi
Posts: 52
Thanked: 63 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
1 Post - 3 Thanks, so far! Good start to your journey on the forum. Quite the story-teller you are too, so hoping to see some brilliant write-ups from you in the future. Cheers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick5490 View Post
Excellent narrative skills, the pictures help a lot in visualizing, look forward to more!
Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
I was simply racing through the lines at the end - gripping. And the let the story unfold...
Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman7 View Post
You have a way with the pictures you take, and the words you write. Those pictures create such an haunting effect.

Welcome aboard!

PS - look at the sheer coincidence. This is Post # 666 for me!!

Thanks. All of you. For your encouraging words. I feel humbled.

@iceman - Not just 666 but it was also 111 likes when I had first seen your comment.
Piyadassi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 22nd August 2014, 13:07   #7
Senior - BHPian
 
sammyboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Gurgaon/Doon
Posts: 1,738
Thanked: 338 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Wonderful log Piyadassi. Being from Doon and having very fond memories of this hotel, i really enjoyed reading your narrative. This used to be my granddad's favorite hotel in Mussoorie and we used to go there quite often. The first visit i can recall was probably in the early 80s and i still have the pictures locked up in my memory somewhere, which you unlocked Thank you.
It always did have a ghostly feel to it, not in the bad sense but like it has a lot of stories it could share with you.
The gravel filled path always made it tough to run on, and the climb to the hotel in the fiats/ambassadors took skill to manage.

Last edited by sammyboy : 22nd August 2014 at 13:10.
sammyboy is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd August 2014, 21:27   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
joybhowmik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 1,313
Thanked: 1,905 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piyadassi View Post
“..and suddenly the chandelier started swaying.”
Piyadassi....
Your lines set my pulse racing - more than LTD ever could!
Quite an adventure in words- if I may say so
Until I read your account , I would never have believed that Mussoorie of all places would play out its eerie silences and wreak havoc on one's imagination.
I thank you for choosing to elaborate these emotions through these photographs.
Much better than Stephen King!
joybhowmik is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 25th August 2014, 11:22   #9
BHPian
 
Wanderers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Delhi-NCR
Posts: 480
Thanked: 607 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Hi Piyadassi,

Thanks for the thriller as good (or bad) as a forbidden fast drive down the expressway.
I visited Mussoorie in May this year and last moment opted for another Hotel due to some can't miss the discount (Huge one) factor.

Well the Mussoorie has many stories and so would have other places too, I am sure people would like to add all such stories from around the places in India.

Worth a separate thread, I would say.
Wanderers is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 25th August 2014, 13:34   #10
Senior - BHPian
 
motomaverick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,838
Thanked: 864 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Really good story telling, are you a script writer? Any ways so is the Ghost story really true or just a story of legends.
motomaverick is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 25th August 2014, 14:30   #11
BHPian
 
dionysus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: delhi
Posts: 56
Thanked: 17 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Piyadassi, pretty dramatic story telling there Enjoyed the expression quiet a bit.
Being born and bought up in Mussoorie, Savoy is a part of my childhood...it had/has the biggest parking offering much needed space to stretch our legs. We were frequent visitors there and played our early morning game of tennis. My experiences with the other side were not quiet as profound as expressed here though
dionysus is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 27th August 2014, 19:19   #12
BHPian
 
YanTra Makto's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: India
Posts: 136
Thanked: 378 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

wonderful narration waiting for more. You sent me googling for Savoy. And eager to know about your tele-film too
YanTra Makto is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 30th August 2014, 12:36   #13
BHPian
 
Piyadassi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: NCR Delhi
Posts: 52
Thanked: 63 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Quote:
Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Your lines set my pulse racing - more than LTD ever could!
Thanks. You are very generous. By the way what is LTD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderers View Post
I visited Mussoorie in May this year and last moment opted for another Hotel due to some can't miss the discount (Huge one) factor.
Thanks. Surely Savoy deserves a stay. When I was there around 15 years ago it was in bad shape and hardly had any visitor. Under Fortune Group it has, as online searches reveal, become very costly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by motomaverick View Post
Really good story telling, are you a script writer? Any ways so is the Ghost story really true or just a story of legends.
Thanks. Yes I do earn my living out of writing and once a while also do scripts. The murder had indeed taken place and Agatha Christie had used it as the central element for her first novel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dionysus View Post
Piyadassi, pretty dramatic story telling there Enjoyed the expression quiet a bit.
Being born and bought up in Mussoorie, Savoy is a part of my childhood...it had/has the biggest parking offering much needed space to stretch our legs. We were frequent visitors there and played our early morning game of tennis. My experiences with the other side were not quiet as profound as expressed here though
Thanks. Even if you don't see the ghost but many claim to have. Maybe you can imagine that she is watching you and it will give your stay a new perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YanTra Makto View Post
wonderful narration waiting for more. You sent me googling for Savoy. And eager to know about your tele-film too
Thanks. This experience is quite old. It harks back to the time when digital photography was in the realms of the future. When R Basu was at the helm of Star TV and all the programmes commissioned by him, including this tele-film were not telecast by his successor. I was lowly Asst Director but it gave me an opportunity to meet Atul Agnihotri and the great Irfan (of Lunchbox).
Piyadassi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st August 2014, 09:47   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
gd1418's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Gurgaon
Posts: 3,578
Thanked: 655 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Without taking a breath, I read this thread and then suddenly came to a dead-end. It was so gripping and I almost felt my hairs tingling.

At my age, the heart can't take this suspense, so please get on with the narration asap..
gd1418 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 31st August 2014, 13:20   #15
Team-BHP Support
 
Rudra Sen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 10,404
Thanked: 4,092 Times
Default Re: Ghost in Hotel Savoy & Agatha Christie - Mussoorie

Beautiful read! Pictures are loaded with moods. You can surely consider a short film on this. Think about it.
Rudra Sen is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Noida to Mussoorie : Route Queries simply_sunny001 Route / Travel Queries 37 25th May 2017 08:45
Toyota Fortuner Run: Roads to Mussoorie & Beyond Wanderers Travelogues 10 9th June 2014 19:11
Please help in identifying decent resorts/hotel around Mussoorie TSEA Route / Travel Queries 1 11th April 2010 04:59
Leisure plus adventure trip to Rishikesh-Mussoorie. faithless_1984 Travelogues 33 6th August 2009 10:07
Christie's Car Auction ritik123 The International Automotive Scene 16 18th September 2006 18:45


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 13:58.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks