Far away from the dust, the incessant noise of the horns, the misery and the indi- gence in which it is inevitable to come across in the great Indian cities, there are ideal worlds, fictitious Eden in which lost atmospheres can be heard.
The Durbaans are the guardians of these worlds, luxury hotels that emerge as ha- vens of peace in the middle of the great Indian metropolises, provoking in foreign visitors the expectation of what awaits them: they are not simply entering in a vor- tex of revolving doors, but their experience in India is about to begin. With their regal bearing, the majestic turban and the shining livery, regardless of how much the sun is burning the sky of hot summer days, or of how cold the wind blows in the winter nights, the Durbaans must, at all times, evoke greatness and the opulence of the great Indian kingdoms. These fairy-tale caretakers have the task of opening car doors and welcoming guests with folded hands and the traditional “Namaste” greeting, but they are not required to entertain customers except to answer specific requests. The monthly salary of the Durbaans is between 8,000 and 12,000 Rupees, the equivalent of approximately one hundred euros, their work is a solitary, it takes place exclusively on foot and it requires certain physical canons, such as towering height, at least six-foot, and thick mustache that they scrupulously treat. A few meters from total indigence, luxurious cars with darkened glass return from gala dinners and official meetings, examined by a bomb detector before having the go-ahead for safety.
This image is the symbol of the chaotic and unregulated growth that the India of the boom has had in recent years, unbridled luxury on the one hand, acceptance of poverty and misery on the other. Guardians of a reality in which they can’t access and of which they will never be able to take part except behind the fiction of a mask, the Durbaans are one of the sym- bols of this social contradiction, representing the model of an anachronistic India, that splendid India of the Maharaja that exists only in Bollywood films screenplays or in the sumptuous hall of a five-star hotel.