Peter Collins: James Cameron and the Tabora Hotel

James Cameron, image courtesy of Peter Collins

If there was a golden age of journalism, then surely James Cameron represented Great Britain. You could throw in the Commonwealth countries and its former colonies for good measure, for he would have invariably visited them all, drank in their bars, met their dignitaries and moved amongst their people.

Born in 1911, Mark James Walter Cameron learnt the rudiments of his trade in the offices of Scottish newspapers before heading south to London’s Daily Express and eventually a life on the road as a foreign correspondent and a role which would define not only Cameron the man but the standard for journalists to follow the world over.

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Saudamini Deo: My Heart Doesn’t Want

Rajasthan in four cities

1909 Imperial Gazetteer of India map of Rajputana. Source: Wikipedia

 

1-JODHPUR

My great-grandfather, a feudal landowner in West Bengal, had a troubled marriage with my great-grandmother, who finally left him in 1927 and came to live with her mother in Jaisalmer. Her mother, my great-great-grandmother was one of the few female doctors in the country at the time and was employed with the royal family of Jaisalmer. My grandfather grew up in the royal household but left home one unsettled morning. He left just a note: my heart doesn’t want.

He wanted to be a classical musician. Failure meant that my mother and uncle grew up in dire poverty in the dirty back alleys of the blue city. No one knows what happened to my great-grandfather or the house or the land. I have never seen a photograph, only an image narrated to me by a distant relative: a man on horseback with leather boots and the eyes of a snake.

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