Through relatives and family get-togethers, we are connected with the great Indian diaspora. This weekend, our particular branch of this network – cousins, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents, siblings and toddler – met up again in a middle-class suburb in northern England, to lunch together in a wake for a lady recently departed.
Long resident in the UK and the US, these are not the sort of people serving at your local Indian take-away down in Station Road. Among the party were doctors, businessmen, a research chemist, somebody in the City, IT people, a UN official and some retired folk still able to get about. Those too elderly to be with us included a former, very senior member of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). The conversation was wide-ranging, civilised and light of touch.
I ask what they made of the election victory of the BJP. Heads shaken, lips pursed, grim smiles. One bursts out, “It is as if Ukip won the election here.” Then they change the subject and are soon laughing again. Thoughts of an Indian tea party movement slide away. into the warm afternoon.