Lakota Palace, Jamnagar — Photo courtesy: Camaal Mustafa Sikan — Wikimedia Commons
Strangely, the most undesirable part of India because of the dust and heat hanging over the state, holds the best memories.
We bused from Rajkot to Jamnagar, not far from the Gulf of Kachchh in Gujarat where we intended to visited distant relatives of my father-in-law’s, fifteen kilometres away.
The village was pronounced Jee-whupar, but for the life of me, I can’t find it on any map. I’m guessing it’s been swallowed up by Jamnagar; a city with dusty roads that I was anxious to leave.
Taking a bus to our relatives, we arrived at a scene that I’d imagined in every small village. A huge tree spread its shade over a sandy circular road that surrounded the tall giant in the centre of the village, while underneath, sat a few unemployed men smoking beedies.
We asked where our relatives lived, and before they directed us one hundred metres down a dirt road, one of the men asked the usual questions: Where are you from? Where are you going? With a plea to get them into Australia even though we’d never met them before.