This man, Sakhai Prasad, was my model for the character of Ramesh in my novel Sister India. Like Ramesh, Sakhai was an innkeeper; he was the cook and manager of the two bedroom guest flat where I spent my three months in Varanasi (or Benares).
I think he's the only real-life model I ever used for a fictional character. I needed that kind of help, though, to write from an Indian's point-of-view. He and I were locked up in curfew in the flat for the two weeks that Varanasi was shut down by riots during my visit. He spoke little English and I spoke only a few words of Hindi. Still I felt we'd had full conversations.
You writers among us, do your characters come to you or do you base them on particular people or combinations of people?
(Welcome, BTW, to Judy and to Jewon An in South Korea. One of my stepsons is teaching English now at a university in South Korea, so I feel a special connection there.)