Monday, Dec 04, 2023
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Meet Nelson ‘Bobby’ Gordon, The Practical Man Beyond ‘Nostalgia Nonsense’

Meet Nelson ‘Bobby’ Gordon, The Practical Man Beyond ‘Nostalgia Nonsense’

Unlike many in McCluskieganj, Nelson ‘Bobby’ Gordon says he would not carry the ‘nostalgia nonsense’ forever. For him, the future would not be a set of stories from the past.

(Top) A young Gordon with his parents (Bottom) A recent photo of Gordon who runs a guest house and a hostel
(Top) A young Gordon with his parents (Bottom) A recent photo of Gordon who runs a guest house and a hostel

Bobby Gordon came up the hard way. His father Noel used to repair old radios after he retired from his construction job. 

Gordon is perhaps the only Anglo-Indian in this place of nostalgia to have a good enough present. He insists on his Scottish roots and says he has a son who will carry the Anglo-Indian legacy further. 

His living room is a testimony to his wealth. A practical man, Gordon says he wasn’t going to carry the ‘nostalgia nonsense’ forever. For him, the future wasn’t going to be a set of stories from the past. A man with mediocre taste whose house resembles modern architecture with some traces of the past for effect, Gordon now runs a guesthouse and a hostel. 

He married an Adivasi girl who could look after his enterprises unlike an Anglo-Indian who, he says, would “only apply lipstick and host parties”. That’s how legacy works here but not for Gordon. His grandfather purchased this property in 1942. 

His great grandfather William Perth Gordon came to India from Scotland and was employed with the British Army in Barrackpore and married an Indian woman. His grandfather William Paul Gordon married an Anglo-Indian woman called Nancy. They had a son called Noel Gordon who married a Bengali woman in Ranchi. 

Then, it was Bobby’s turn and he did what few others had done. A local girl would be a good match for him, he thought. He has some of the old letters and photos which he proudly displays to anyone who asks. Like others, he has stories too like that of Harry Mendies who ran a bus service called Ganga-Jamuna and one would never know when the bus would reach Ranchi. “I never thought of leaving this place. Maybe there is a lot in nothingness too.”

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