Meet Danny Carroll, a British national who has lived and worked in India for over 20 years. Educated at the London School of Economics, Danny works in Venture Capital with Orios Venture Partners in Mumbai and is also the Brand Ambassador for Gurkha Cigars.
When I was first offered the opportunity to come to India on business, I refused the job as I did not eat Indian food! That was at the beginning of 1996 and I was supposed to come on a six-month posting, and I am still here. My neighbours in London were from Delhi. So I spent time with them. They asked me two questions. Where was I staying? And I was in 5-star hotels. So they advised food would not be an issue. Did I have a return ticket? And I did. So they advised, ‘go out and give it a try and if you don’t like it, just come back!’ Needless to say, I didn’t go back.
Then & Now
Before I came to India, I did not want to come. Now I live in India, I do not want to leave!
Favourite Indian food?
That is a tough question. If I had to pick a region, it would be food from Kerala. I love the coconut that they use in their curries, and the subtle flavours. Dosa, sambar and idli are also favourites.
The craziest festival I have been a part of is probably the Holi festival – the festival of colours in March. In the spirit of trying everything once, tasting the bhang lassi was an experience that I have decided never to repeat. Literally knocked me off my feet for about 36 hours! Getting covered in different coloured paints was also fun at that time but creates some issues. I have white hair and found that it took me weeks to get the pink paint off it, so I walked around with pink hair for weeks!
About work in India
Being a cigar aficionado myself, I was delighted to be selected as the Brand Ambassador for Gurkha Cigars in India and last year Sofitel Mumbai BKC had launched a Cigar Lounge in association with Gurkha Cigars. It has been a privilege to bring an urbane lounge for enthusiasts in the city.
The property offers all the essential luxury elements expected from a five-star hotel for both domestic and international travellers. I had recently experienced the 5-Senses Weekend Staycation package with my wife at the property, which was introduced on the occasion of the hotel completing five years. The offer helps guests indulge all their five senses including taste, smell, touch, hearing and sight through a collection of luxurious services and facilities, including a luxury car pick-up and drop anywhere within Mumbai, a rejuvenation spa treatment for a couple, a special makeover for my wife at their SJP Salon and a delicious spread of breakfast, buffet dinner along with sinful chocolates, macarons and other exquisite in-room amenities.
I have travelled and lived in many places in India. One of my most memorable experiences was working and living in the coal mining area of Bihar in a place called Dhanbad. It felt like going back hundreds of years in human development and progress. And working two kilometres underground, and a further two kilometres away from the bottom of the lift shaft in over 130 degrees humidity really was an experience that left an impression on me!
Two places that I am yet to visit and very keen to go to are Varanasi (during the Kumbh Mela) and Puducherry, which I, shamefully, still have not been to.
I am taking home…
I never plan to leave India so this is a theoretical question for me. But if I were to leave, I would have to take my maid Maggie with me. She cooks the best Indian food you will ever get the privilege of tasting, and looks after me like I am royalty.
The food, the weather, the women, the chaos, the energy, the people, the spirituality and Sofitel!