The Cadillac Hotel in Ahmedabad is much more of a rusty old Ford than a Cadillac. But when i arrived in my bare-bones room, one man immediately came into the room, sprinkled some sort of whitish liquid on the mirror and wiped it off with an old newspaper page. He was followed by the ubiquitous floor cleaner. A young man who pours some water on the floor from a metal pitcher and then using his foot, swishes a rag around on the floor. Everything in the spartan room was very old and very used. But it suited me.
When I asked the manager for a recommendation for a good 'veg' restaurant, he directed me across the street to the Kailipa.
As I approached the entrance, two young Muslim women were also entering.
"This must be a good place if you're coming here," I said.
"Please join us," one of them said as we entered the dimly lit but cool restaurant at the same time.
My two new companions are Ramana and Shabana. Shabana is Ramana's aunt. Romana is in Ahmedabad to take her KET English exams. She has just married an Indian man employed and living in the UK and is in the process of doing whatever she can to get a visa to join him.
"Your English is very good," I tell her. "You will certainly do very well in your exam. I know because I'm an English teacher in Turkey and I"ve given many KET exams."
"Thank you," she smiles a big beautiful smile. "I hope so. Yesterday I did the speaking part. Today, I must do writing. I teach English to children, so I hope I will do OK."
We order our breakfast and chat. They tell me about the places they've visited: Chicago, England and Zambiye.
"We have relatives in many places in the world," they tell me. "We are very lucky to travel to many different places."
When the bill comes, Shabana, the aunt, immediately takes it. I try to pay for my part, but she refuses.
"It will bring me good luck," smiles Ramana.