Chapter 6

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“I left my village and travelled to Delhi by train from Phagwara Railway Station. From Delhi I then took a flight to London Heathrow. My journey across was very pleasant and when I arrived I was asked by the customs at Heathrow airport to assist them whilst they checked the other passengers luggage as someone had noted that I could speak good English. I was asked to interpret for the staff as they were unable to communicate with Asian passengers because they did not speak the language. I had to ask all Asian passengers whether they had bought cigarettes or any similar goods with them from abroad. I was the last person out. My father had come to collect me and it was a very emotional reunion as I had not seen him in more than 10 years.

“When I arrived in Gravesend I moved into a room that my father was renting at the time in a house located on 18 Cobham Street. There were 6 people living in this house at the time, and the owner of the house was an Indian man. My father at the time worked for the Gravesham Borough Council as a road sweeper and he held this job till he died”.
Tarsem Singh Sandher

“I was 24 years old when I came to England. I came to the UK in February 1963. My uncle Tarsem Singh Sandher was already living in Gravesend when I first came. He had sent me a permit and through this I received a voucher enabling my entry to England. I travelled to Delhi by train and from Delhi I took a flight. My uncle came to receive me from the airport. We then travelled by train from London to Gravesend. “

“When I first to England my main intentions were to earn money so I would be able to return all the money I borrowed from people. I would send money to people in India through a postal order so that I could clear my debt. I had borrowed 4000 rupees from people in India before I came to the UK.“
Piara Singh Sandhu

“I travelled to England by air and the flight stopped in a few places including

Russia before reaching London. When I arrived at the airport my elder brother came to receive me. We did not have any other family living outside India back then. So the only 2 people I knew were my brother and my nephew.”

My brother had already arranged for my admission when I arrived into Gravesend and I joined the school in February 1965. When I started school there were not many Indian students studying at this school at the time. When I first arrived I was not very fluent in English I could read the language but not understand very much of it. There were no special classes in place for students who had newly arrived from India; we were put straight into the normal classes will all other students. I only studied at this school until September 1965.“
Mohinder Singh Sandher