March 2015 \ Diaspora News \ GUJARATIS IN US MOTEL INDUSTRY
Flavour of Gujarat in US South

Guests in US South motels greeted with ‘Kem Cho’ or ‘Kya Haal Hai?’ as at least 80 per cent motels in the area are run by Indians.

By Vikas Datta

Reading an extract of the forthcoming book, he said he was in Tuscaloosa in Alabama in October, where he met an old woman to whom he noted he was a stranger and she replied “There ain’t any strangers here” and guided him to the place where he wanted to go. “I returned several times in the next year... the south has me in a comforting embrace or a frenzied, unrelenting grip,” he read out from his work.

Mr Theroux also revealed he first visited Jaipur in 1968, while on way to taking a job in Singapore, and then in 1973 and quipped that looking at the audience and its general age, most of them would have not been around then.

Ms Brigid Keenan, who kicked off the discussion, noted she was not a fit person to participate in such a panel since she hated travel and was scared of air travel but had no option since she was married to a diplomat and had to give “glamourous dinner parties” in various countries where the only vegetables were potatoes and cabbages. She said she was born in India and lived here till she was eight and returned here as an adult and read from her books “Diplomatic Baggage: The Adventures of a Trailing Spouse” her various droll adventures including fathoming Indian newspapers and their misuse of words like mishap “which in Britain would mean upsetting a teacup at a vicarage tea party” but in India was used to describe horrific accidents. “We learnt pulses rise did not mean romantic feelings increasing but that lentils would cost more,” she said.

Mr Sam Miller, author of the definitive guide to the Indian capital “Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity”, read out from his subsequent “A Strange Kind of Paradise: India Through Foreign Eyes” about his earlier visits to the JLF, while William Dalrymple, who had introduced the session and spoke about the genre of travel writing which is older that novels noted it was now decreased but the quality is now consistent, read out from “From the Holy Mountain: A Journey in the Shadow of Byzantium” about the vanishing Christian communities of the Middle East about an Orthodox priest he met in Sinai who virulently cursed all other Christian denominations and Freemasons. “He said all US presidents had been Freemasons except John F. Kennedy (Catholic) and look what happened to him!”