A Hotel Door (Pelling, Sikkim, India)
I was reading The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai on the trip to Sikkim. A paragraph where she is talking about Biju, an illegal immegrant in US working in a restaurant, caught my attention.
The sound of their fight had traveled up the flight of steps and struck a clunky note, and they might upset the balance, perfectly first-world on top, perfectly thrid world twenty-two steps below. Mix it up in a heap and then who would patronize his restaurant, hm? With its coquilles Saint-Jacques a la vapeur for $27.50 and the blanquette de veau for $ 23, …What were they thinking? Do restaurants in Paris have cellars full of Mexicans, desis, and Pakis?No they do not, what are you thinking?They have cellars full of Algerians, Senegalese, Moroccans …
The major part of the book is also set up in a region close to Sikkim, Kalimpong (West Bengal) and has Mount Khang-Chen-Dzon Ga (Kanchanjunga) as the backdrop.
While I know very little about people mentioned in the book, I saw young kids working in hotels in Pelling and Gangtok (and this is quite common at smaller hotels across India). What haunts me most is that some of them had an absolutely miserable exprssions on their faces.
PS. I completed the book in Sikkim itself, and though it is well written it ends on such a miserable note for almost all the characters that it was a little too much for me to bear. I remember saying to Sesha vehmently after completing the book “I hate situations which do not offer any hope to the characters.” I really do.