Last week, I hosted a Premier Whisky Tasting at the poolside, of JW Marriott, Bengaluru, aptly called – “Whisky Under the Stars”. Great whiskies, curated cuisine & a grand tasting, were showcased. To top it all, the highlight was that this “Tasting” was only for Women, co-hosted by by Parul Thakur, the General Manager of the Hotel. This was also the first time that I met Parul, a vivacious & motivated leader and a fine hotelier. She successfully commands over a large luxury hotel and is the only Lady General Manager in Bengaluru.
To her credit, she hosted this FIRST Women`s Whisky Tasting in Bengaluru, to her credit she tasted Whisky for the first time & to her credit, hosted a highly distinctive evening. In all these “Credits”, my biggest “take“ was that she drank & appreciated Whisky and possibly enjoyed the same, even though Margarita`s & Wine, are her preferred pour.
It was interesting to come across a GM, who would host a bold initiative, as this “Tasting” and manage it so smoothly, ensuring that 30 ladies in the city enjoy a Premium Whisky Trail & spend a Saturday evening soaking in the spirit.
I decided to learn more about her “spiritual” interests & sneak a peek, into her personality.
Parul Thakur, 39, started her hospitality career with Hilton, New Delhi. After a short stint at Hilton, she joined the Marriott Hotels in 1998, as the first employee of Marriott in India, starting off at Goa Marriott Resort. During this journey spanning 16 years, she has held different positions in Revenue Management and Sales at various properties within the Marriott Group. Later on, she moved on to Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel and Marriott Executive Apartments, Mumbai as Director of Sales and was later promoted as the Director of Marketing. Parul headed the Sales and Marketing function for Marriott, India, and then moved into Operations as Director of Operations. Her previous assignment was with Courtyard by Marriott, Ahmedabad, as the General Manager for the Courtyard Brand before she joined JW Marriott Bengaluru in 2013 to head the hotel. Parul is a Bachelors in Commerce, from Delhi University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Sales and Marketing.
Opening Quote – “I truly unwind with my kids by either playing games, watching movies together or having a competitive round of bowling. My priority is my kids at this stage.”
1.) If family Comes First, what comes Second & Third… (not work !! )
I would have to say that work does come second, that comes from the fact that I am very passionate about it and don’t see it as a job as much as an extension of my personality.
Third would be my enthusiasm and love for travel – with family. Balancing work and family is extremely important for me. So any free time is spent or planned around my daughters. I enjoy exploring new places, cultures and experiences. We make sure to getaway every now and then – it rejuvenates me and we spend quality time together.
2.) Choice of Music
I enjoy rock and roll, country music and pop rock, sometimes I also listen to jazz , but it mostly depends on my state of mind and I am open to most genres.
3.) Passions … and compassion
I am very passionate about almost everything that I do, whether it is my job or my relationship with my family. Respect, Passion and humility are three very elementary words in my dictionary.
I feel extremely compassionate for the have nots.
4.) What motivates you …!
My father motivates me to a great extent, he has taught me to go after my dreams. I hold him responsible for where I am today. I am also motivated to have a sense of accomplishment every day – I make sure that whatever be the task at hand, I give it my best shot; I can be quite a perfectionist that way! Going after a goal set and achieving it gives me a high.
- ) Preferred Beverage – Wine
6.) All Time Favorite Drink…. Classic Margarita
7.) Favorite “Spirits’ Corner – Too many ‘corners’ to choose from – there are plenty that I have come across both in India and internationally that I have spent many good times at!
8.) Best Bar (for you) – There are so many good ones in the city that it is hard for me to have a favorite. Depending on the occasion and the company, my loyalties shift every now and then.
9.) Views on food….do you enjoy Food or is it sustenance
I am more of a healthy and conscious eater, I would not call myself a foodie. However, there are some select dishes of my choice that I truly enjoy. I also have an open mind to try out new cuisines.
10.) Best few Meals in Life
I remember while I was growing up, Saturday would be my favorite day of the week, given that my mother would dish out a hearty home-cooked meal for all of us. It used to be a simple balanced Indian meal, but the memories we built as a family, during those moments are what I look back fondly on till this day.
- ) All-time favorite Dish – Sushi any day, it’s an absolute favorite
- )Favorite Cuisine and what would you pair it with – I am a fan of Thai food – while it is enjoyable with a glass of dry white wine, it works just as well without it!
- ) Whisky….What do you think of it..!
I would say I’m too much of a whisky novice to really have an opinion on it! However, I have been through a few whisky tastings and I must say that it has piqued by curiosity to try more of it in the future.
14.) What would you enjoy on a Friday Evening at a Bar, Saturday Evening at an informal Dinner or Sunday Evening at Home
- On Friday at a bar – a classic Margarita
- On Saturday at an informal dinner – Glass of a nice white
- On Sunday evening at home – Shandy
15.) What’s your Biggest “High” in Life !!
I am extremely passionate about my work, and I always go by Confucius’s quote: Choose a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life. My biggest high in live I have to admit is the feeling of being empowered. Between being the perfectionist at work to the idealistic wife and the obsessive mother of my kids is what gives me a sense of purpose and relief.
16.) Views on Women & Whisky
It is interesting that you ask me this question. We recently held a women’s whisky appreciation. Dispelling the myth that whisky is a man’s drink, it was indeed extremely liberating to have hosted this evening with a gathering of the most esteemed women in the city. The lovely, rich amber beverage that whisky is, I don’t see why it should not be a woman’s drink.
17.) Finest ‘Drinking” Moment –
On a recent trip to Bangkok with family and friends, every evening we would sit around the pool and chat. It was the perfect cocktail of conversation and company that I will always cherish.