Thursday, June 11, 2009

Interviewing a Bunch of Anglo-Indians in Wembley

Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wembley, London

Neither the continuing Tube strike nor the horrendous traffic jams that engulfed the city of London today stopped me from getting to Wembley to do the two interviews I had scheduled--one for the morning, the other for the afternoon. Though it took me all of two hours, get there I did and I discovered, to my surprise, that it was not just the one lady (Dorothy) present at the first venue, but a whole lot of people that she had rounded up for me to interview. Of course, I was as pleased as Punch that I suddenly had so many subjects...but I have to say that people were indulging in a number of separate cross conversations that made it impossible for me to catch everything they were saying and I am afraid that much of the really good bits of information that were given me, might have been lost because half the time I could not hear what one person was saying while another two were talking between themselves.

When this was over, I was picked up by my next respondent, Oscar, who then drove me to his place. Interviewing him was a piece of cake because he was a single individual and there was peace and quiet while he was talking (but for the lovely chirping of the birds in his garden) and I was able to hear and take down every word. This is the sort of interview that is most helpful to me and I have little doubt that transcribing it will be just as easy.

In both homes, I met with very hospitable people who offered me substantial snacks and in the latter case, a full lunch with fish curry and rice, dal and salad and delicious prawn balchow! There was red wine for starters and for dessert, a big box of chocolates. Oscar's partner Elaine, an Englishwoman was just lovely and in the many years that she has spent with her Oscar, she is now considered "an honorary Anglo-Indian!" I truly enjoyed meeting the lot of them and digesting all the experiences they recounted to me and the information they shared with me.

Then, it was back on the bus for another excruciating ride back to the city. Considering that I did about six interviews today, however, it was completely worth my while and I am glad for the
goldmine of information that they shared with me.

Dinner at Home with Paul and Loulou:
I stopped en route at Sainsbury's to pick up mixed greens and a pear to make a salad. In the morning, I had pulled out from the freezer my Penne with Peppers and Prawns with the intention of sharing it with Paul and Loulou who had suggested we all get together for supper.

Back home at Denmark House, I found the kitchen counter all laid out with the lovely summer time supper that Loulou had organized--foccaccia, salad with tomato and mozarella cheese, parma ham and hummus. With my penne and my pear and blue cheese salad with balsamic vinaigrette, we had ourselves a lovely meal washed down with the crisp and very fruity white wine that is actually made on the vineyard that Paul and Loulou own in Tuscany, Italy.

We had such a great evening together as we shared our meal and sipped our wine and talked about a vast number of things. Dinner was sandwiched between the viewing of a film on their architect friend Francis Machin who passed away prematurely but left a body of unique architectural and terracotta sculptural works behind him in Europe and in England. He is the architect of this building in which I currently live and it was deeply moving to gain an insight into his professional mind and his personal life through this very well made film in which so many of his close friends and associates reminisce about their lives with him.

After we cleared up and stacked the dishwasher, it was time to say goodnight. I will be leaving the house early tomorrow morning to get to the Bermondsey Antiques Market (now called the Caledonian Market) and so decided to set my alarm and try to get to bed early. I will catch up on my blog over the weekend.

No comments: