Saturday, February 05, 2022

Happy Basant


I was looking for a bright yellow photo to post on social media for Basant Panchami. Among my saved photos, I found this one. I am in a hotel room, on a research trip to Sirohi in 2019, for my book 'Bread, Cement, Cactus: A Memoir of Belonging and Dislocation'.

In most small hotels in central and western India and many parts of the north too, especially in district headquarter towns, small-ish hotels are the only option available to travellers. These tend to be usually business travellers rather than tourists or researchers. In such places, if you want tea or breakfast, you have to call the reception (if the room phone works) and ask for one of the employees to go to a local dhaba and fetch something to eat. The only option is poha (unless you want samosa or jalebi first thing in the morning, which I don't). You see my feet in the photo because I was sitting on the bed and eating. There was no table to eat at.

Here's to research, to travel, and to poha (although the featured poha in this photo was a sad little dish; I prefer it with lots of peanuts, potatoes, and even shredded chicken in mine).

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