In February we had our Indian holiday and indeed there weren’t many, if any, restaurants outside of the international hotels we stayed in. The grinding poverty was everywhere: real ‘on the streets and living under corrugated tin roof’ poverty, the likes of which we had never seen before.
When we got to Bombay, from our room in the 5-star Oberoi Hotel, we could see a family with very young children living under a tarpaulin hung from the perimeter fence of the hotel. The kids were playing amongst the traffic (cars, tuk-tuks, elephants, camels, cattle, donkeys, bikes – chaos); it was amazing.
My wife had seen a photographic montage of a place called ‘The Cages’ in Bombay; this was the red light district – she wanted to have a look. We hired a cab and it took us 45 minutes to travel the 5 miles, and then another 30 minutes to go up the Victorian street where the windows were mostly missing, revealing the sex workers and their clients in active negotiation (amongst other things).
My wife had had enough and wanted to return to the hotel; I wondered if this was the very place where Nina had had his one and six pence worth!
INSIGHT 107:- After our Indian holiday, I resolved to never complain ever again; we did indeed live in paradise in the UK, particularly in East Sussex. Whatever had happened to me in business, or in life, was nothing in comparison to what 100s of millions of people were having to live their lives like, in India or similar ‘Third World’ countries – we were indeed blessed. I said at the time, and I still believe today, that any moaning minnie living in the UK – who for whatever reason is feeling hard done by – should be put on a plane to India for a free holiday, to see what real poverty looks like.